Charlestown, Nevis (June 28, 2007)
When the Nevis Island Assembly meets in Charlestown on July 09, 2007, as part of its 1st anniversary week of activities, a number of Bills will be down to receive their first and second readings. Legal Advisor in the Nevis Island Administration the Hon. Patrice Nisbett, announced that the Administration had adopted a new consultative process which would allow the public time to contribute to important pieces of legislation before they become law.
Mr. Nisbett made the disclosure during a press briefing at the Nevis Island Administration’s Conference Room in Charlestown on Thursday June 28, 2007. He said the public would be given time after the first reading of a Bill to make recommendations they considered to be relevant before they received the second and third readings.
“Before we pass certain important bits of legislation we want as a part of the consultative process, that we do the first reading and we allow sometime for the general public to access to the area of legislation so that they could look at it to make whatever recommendations they would consider would be relevant and if it is something that an amendment can facilitate then the government will make the necessary amendment. It is just a part of the process.“We [NIA] believe that we operate at a time when the citizens must be a part of the democratic process and so we will institute this policy whereby we would do the First Reading of some Bills and we would allow sometime to pass to allow the general public to have some type of input in the legislative process,” he said.
He pointed to three major pieces of legislation to be read at the Sitting. The existing Tourism and Amenities Ordinance would be amended to deal with criminal activity on the island’s beaches. The proposed amendment would give security officers of the Nevis Air and Sea Port Authority who work on the beach the authority to arrest and prosecute the offenders for the various offences that would be outlined in the legislation.
There will be the first and second reading of the Nevis Cultural Foundation Ordinance, a bill which will be moved by the Minister with responsibility for Culture the Hon. Hensley Daniel.
According to Mr. Nisbett, the ordinance would deal with the instutionalisation of the cultural festival known as Culturama and the existing Cultural Secretariat. It would set up a cultural foundation which would govern culture and other aspects of the various art forms on Nevis.
Small business will also be in the spotlight at the Parliamentary sitting, an area Mr. Nisbett noted had received much attention since the new Administration took up office one year ago.
“Since this government took office, we have had to grant a number of concessions to a number of small and thriving businesses in Nevis. What we [NIA] want to do through this bit of legislation is to put in place the necessary legal framework to deal with small and micro businesses in Nevis. There will be definitions for what would be a small, what would be a micro business and what sort of incentives the government will make available to these small businesses.
“Also in that bit of legislation, the ordinance will give some teeth to what we call the Small Business Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) in Nevis. We will put in place the legal framework to give it the necessary legal power that SEDU would be required to function as a unit of the government to carry out the necessary mandate that the government wants it to carry out,” he said.
The Sitting of Parliament would be the fourth session since the Nevis Reformation Party ““ led Administration took up office one year ago.