The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Sen. The Hon. Ryan Pinder, outlined the Government’s legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament. Speaking at the weekly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, Sen. Pinder boasted of the Government achieving all it set out to do in it’s initial parliamentary agenda but added that the public can expect a similary aggressive legislative agenda when Parliament reopens.
The top priority will be fiscal reform with the debate of Fiscal Responsibility, Procurement and Finance Management. The Attorney General said of the bills, “those are anticipated to be available for public consultation by the end of this month.” He also said of the Public Procurement Bill, “initially we looked to amend certain aspects of that that we found troublesome. Once we were looking at it in more depth, we figured a full rewrite of that legislation was necessary in order to provide more transparency but ease of administration and ability to govern effectively on that bill.”
Concerning the Fiscal Responsibility and Public Finance Management Act he said, “we look to combine those pieces of legislation to be able to properly administer the public reporting that is required but also inline with preparation of the budget and the fiscal years of the country. Right now they’re separated in legislation, they’re separated in procedure, they’re separated in time frames and that has posed certain difficulties.”
The Attorney General also spoke to the Government’s agenda concerning health care stating that, “we certainly, you would know, have tabled the Nurse and Midwives Bill already and thats posed for debate. That’s supposed to expand the scope of nurses, the scope of midwives, provide for training, registration, regulation and to provide a modern framework for nurses and midwives in the country. We’ve seen instances over the last year where we do have a shortage of nurses in the country for a variety of reasons. We’ve had to tap into some of our regional neighbours to help supplement that shortage but we want to bring the framework into a cutting edge, modern day facility where we can properly address the health care concerns and particularly with respect to nurses and midwives.”
The Attorney General foreshadowed that the Mental Health Bill, that was tabled in the last session of Parliament, will receive public consultation. Senator Pinder also said that a bill will be brought to enhance National Insurance. He said, “it will bring the National Health Scheme more inline what what we are doing.” He further stated that, “consultations with the industry have already been underway on that and that bill is almost ready to go to the public domain and to be tabled in Parliament.”
On the controversial cannabis legislation with specific concentration on medical marijuana, Senator Pinder said that he has provided initial comments on the bill and that it has been sent to international consultants for review. Pertaining to the Nationality or Citizenship bill there is not expected to be any new referendum on the matter. He said that “we are about governing for the right thing. We will do it and do what is correct.” The next session of Parliament is expected to begin in mid September.