Proposed law for convicts to farm regulated goods made more favourable
The Government has revised a proposed law cutting the period before which convicts may apply for licences to farm so-called regulated goods like cocoa and coffee.
The law establishing the Jamaica Commodities Regulatory Authority had provided that the body could reject the applications of people who were convicted up to five years earlier.
However, last week, the senate reduced the period to three years.
It was among the 73 amendments to the legislation announced by Leader of Government Business in the Senate Kamina Johnson.
However, convicted applicants may be denied a licence to cultivate regulated foods if they had been found guilty of crimes involving fraud or dishonesty or any offence under the Dangerous Drugs Act attracting imprisonment of no more than five years.
Leader of Opposition Business Mark Golding had raised concerns about the possibility of rejecting people now convicted for ganja offences, when previously this would not have impacted their freedom to cultivate the specified foods since the sectors weren't so regulated
The Government has left the option to the judge to decide whether to impose a fine and/or prison sentence for people breaching the proposed Commodities Regulatory Authority Act.
The law, described by Opposition Member K.D. Knight as unfriendly, seeks to bring to international standards, the trade regulation of coffee, cocoa, coconut and spice, including nutmeg, turmeric, pimento and ginger.
The bill will now go back to the House of Representatives for approval.