Senate getting the job done

Published: Sunday | December 22, 2013 Comments 0
Floyd Morris
Floyd Morris

IMF dictates force legislators to pass numerous bills, more to come in 2014

The Senate passed a total of 40 bills during 2013, nearly double the average number approved each year over the previous four years.

This has been hailed as a significant achievement by Minister of Justice Mark Golding, who had long argued that the Parliament needs to be more productive.

Golding noted that in addition to the legislation passed, the Anti-gang Bill is before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, while the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill was tabled last Friday.

Over the period 2009 to 2012, the average number of bills passed was just under 22 per calendar year.

"Apart from the fact that the 2013 legislative performance approximately doubles the average over the preceding four years, what is also significant is the substantive nature of many of the bills that have been passed this year," said Golding.

"The leader of government business has expressed the aspiration that this should be the best Senate ever. Well, given that the principal function of the Senate is as a legislative chamber, one could confidently argue that our performance in 2013 has met that lofty benchmark," stated Golding.

He was supported by Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Tom Tavares-Finson, who expressed gratitude to all members of the civil service who participated in what he described as a "remarkable achievement".

BILLS PASSED THIS YEAR

Among the bills passed by the Senate this year were the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act; Committal Proceedings Act; Defamation Act; Tax Administration Jamaica Act; Charities Act; Security Interests in Personal Property Act; Securities (Amendment) Act; and the Fiscal Incentives (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.

"Each of these is a groundbreaking piece of legislation in its own right," said Golding, as he noted that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill is the largest piece of legislation to be brought to Parliament since the Companies Act in 2004.

He noted that a quarter of the bills were structural benchmarks under the International Monetary Fund programme.

According to Golding, a number of important bills will be before the Senate in 2014. These include the Disabilities Bill; Occupational Safety and Health Bill; a new Road Traffic Bill; the Integrity Commission Bill to establish a single anti-corruption agency; and the DNA Bill.

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