Members of the House Of Assembly debated the Law Reform and Revision Bill on Wednesday. Leading the debate was the Minister of State for Legal Affairs and Member for Centreville, the Hon. Jomo Campbell.
In his contribution Campbell cited the age of various statute laws that have not been updated. He said, “our Matrimonial Clauses Act is more than one hundred and forty years old and forces couples into a protracted, adversarial war to proceed with a divorce. I wish to note that this act has not be significantly amended. The Adoption Of Children Act was enacted in 1954, over sixty years ago. And I note that there has been no significant amendment there either. Our Child Protection Act passed in more recent times continues to contain a legislative glitch in that unmarried fathers are determined to have no standing to petition the courts for visitation rights for their child.”
Campbell also spoke to the need for citizens to know their rights and the law. “Ignorance is no excuse when breaking the law, knowledge of the law and knowing where to find that knowledge and it being easily accessible is a privilege not only to those who practice law and related careers but to students, teachers, plumbers, electricians and the everyday citizen,” the minister said.
Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly and Member of Parliament for St. Anne’s, the Hon. Adrian White also contributed to the debate. He said of the bill, “its not too juicy, its not exciting, its not sexy. This piece of legislation is the same as the 1975 piece of legislation. We went down to a maximum of three Commissioners so that they can focus on different branches of law. We didn’t get any information on which branches those three are going to focus on.”
The Law Reform and Revision Bill updates the administration of the Law Reform Commission.