Three Cabinet Ministers have offered a laundry list of changes to the laws governing their portfolios when Government begins law reform.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan said: “I agree with the proposals in this Bill because we can no longer wait 20 to 30 years to update legislation. Those of us who are Ministers find ourselves on a day-to-day basis taken up with the work of the ministry, and so not a lot of attention is paid to ensuring that the legislation is keeping pace with the development of society.”
The St Peter MP said he was particularly pleased that the country’s laws would be readily available online where they can be easily accessed.
“So if a situation arises in a workplace, a manager can easily go online and see what course of action he or she should take. Previously this was not always easy, especially on weekends when offices were closed or if the files were at another location.”
Another first-time MP, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sandra Husbands said she only became fully aware of the fact that “every decision you make as a Minister has to have legislation passed to give it life” when she assumed office in May this year.
With that, she lamented that so many Barbadians were now intent on flouting laws, even simple ones like crossing the road when the traffic signals dictated otherwise.
“While we might review our laws and keep them up to date, we must inculcate them in everyone, so they understand their significance,” said Husbands.
The St James South MP expressed the hope that “as we do the law review, we will engage people in a way that they can understand their rights and responsibilities, and once we regulate our behaviour according to the law, this will bring peace and prosperity to our nation”.
St Philip South MP and Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir spoke about two areas under his portfolio that he believed needed additional work. “One is the issue of praedial larceny. One of the things I find embarrassing about the recently revised law is that rather than empower farmers, it put them on the other side of the law where they could get into trouble if they could not show proof of ownership of their produce.” He also called for a review of the functions of the Pesticides Control Board, saying that “We have to look at our pesticides law, as I feel the organic approach is better for small island developing states than the ‘lazy’ route of using chemicals in our farming.”