Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Ministries fail to submit legislative programmes to Cabinet Office

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM

More than half of government ministries have failed to meet their obligations to submit their respective legislative programmes for the year, to the Cabinet Office.

This revelation was made by Senior Policy and Programme Officer in the Cabinet Office Mary Elizabeth Seaton.

"Legislative programmes are normally submitted between January and February so that we can have everything ready for the start of the new legislative year. To date, we have only received the legislative programmes for eight ministries," she said while speaking at a legislative drafting forum put on by the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.

The legislative programme of a ministry is an outline of all the policy documents and draft legislation that it intends to submit for Cabinet approval and, subsequently, parliamentary approval. Ministries are required to notify the Cabinet Office of the legislative programmes they wish to pursue on an annual basis.

"The deadline for submission of legislative programmes has expired. The deadline passed about three weeks ago," she told the legal officers of various ministries who were in attendance at the forum.

According to Seaton, the failure of ministries to submit their respective legislative programmes could hamper the work of the Legislative Committee of Cabinet and also limit the number of laws that the Parliament passes by the end of the legislative year. This is of particular concern given the ambitious legislative agenda that has been outlined by the Holness administration.

Seaton urged legal officers at the forum to ensure that their drafts are submitted at least one week before the Legislative Committee meets.

"We need to receive your documents before Legislative Committee meets, not during the meeting where we are just seeing a copy of the document. That does not help us in ensuring that we pass good laws," she said.