Red flags have been raised surrounding the Government’s proposed Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2019.
They have come from the People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PDP), which has questioned the incorporation of two companies – one of which was established almost a year ago.
Speaking during a press conference at the Opposition’s Chambers at Parliament this afternoon, PDP’s spokesperson on Health, Wellness and the Environment Paul Gibson queried why the Government had not made the incorporation of the Cannabis Licensing Authority or the privately-owned BIM-Medical Cannabis Ltd, public knowledge.
He said while the authority was incorporated on July 26, 2019, BIM-Medical Cannabis Ltd had been incorporated on September 19, 2018.
Gibson also produced the Certificate of Incorporation for both entities.
He said the Bill was now before the Joint Select Committee and was now the subject of public discussion.
“Please note that this Bill has neither been fully ventilated in Parliament nor passed by either the Honorable Senate of the Honorable House of Assembly…We would wish to ascertain whether these actions to establish these entities before the passage of the Bill is legal. If it is thought to be legal, is it ethical? And if ethical, is this action transparent,” Gibson asked.
“It is unfortunate that in his introduction of the Bill to the Lower House on Friday, August 30, 2019, the Minister made no mention of or reference to any of this.”
Gibson contended that the incorporations were a case of Government “putting the cart before the horse”.
“You didn’t have an opportunity to speak to doctors about the Bill. You didn’t have an opportunity to speak to pharmacists or the lawyers about the Bill, but you had time to go and incorporate a company and we can’t tell you who are the shareholders, but we know who the directors of the company are,” Gibson contended.
“The legislation has not gone before the Parliament to be approved, it has not gone to the Senate to be approved, but yet the actual Barbados Cannabis Licensing Authority Inc has been established.”
Gibson said he was especially concerned at the extreme haste in which the Mia Mottley-led administration was bringing the Bill.
“The PDP is saying there is no rush for this Bill, it needs to be done properly. It is going to be very transformative…and we are calling on the drafters of the Bill to slow down and get it right,” he said.
Furthermore, Gibson also raised concerns surrounding a company and several names attached to the two entities.
“We would wish also to be told as to the involvement of George Walton Payne & Co., Winston Best of Apple Hall, St Philip and William Armstrong of Ruby Plantation, St Philip; all of whose names appear in the certification documents relative to the Cannabis Authority. It is to be noted that the documents list the registered office address as Government headquarters, Bay Street.
“Similarly, we would wish to be advised as to the involvement of Basil Hunte, Damian Cohall and Sebastien Hunte; all of whom are listed as Directors of BIM-Medical Cannabis Ltd,” Gibson noted.