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Prison terms suggested for breach of disaster orders

Aerial shot of a section of Anegada in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl in 2010

Employers and other persons who fail to adhere to an evacuation order in the event of a disaster may be sent to prison, according to a proposed law now before the House of Assembly.

The suggested penalty is a fine not exceeding $2000, OR imprisonment not exceeding two years, OR both the fine and imprisonment.

The Director of the Department of Disaster Management will be required to conduct an assessment where there is a disaster or the threat of a disaster, and then consult the Governor prior to an evacuation order.

Employers

Meanwhile, the Director may require in writing, the service of any employee to assist with response and recovery from an emergency during a specified period.

“The employer of that person shall pay the salary and all benefits to which the employee was entitled for the period specified,” the proposed law said.

It also recommended that the period for which the service of an employee is ordered should not exceed two weeks for a particular emergency.

Any employer who disobeys the said order may be fined up to $5000, OR imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, OR both the fine and the term of imprisonment.

The various penalties for offenders are laid out in the Disaster Management Bill 2017, which recently was introduced to the House of Assembly.

The Bill seeks to provide a comprehensive mechanism for disaster management in the British Virgin Islands, and the rights and obligations of the territory under the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency. The Bill, among other things, also seeks to repeal the current legal framework related to disaster management in the British Virgin Islands.

To read the full Bill, please CLICK HERE

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