A fired up Senator Monique Taitt took the Government to task for continually allowing “rushed and incomplete” legislation to be drafted and sent to the Upper House.
The Senator was speaking during the debate on the Queen Elizabeth (Amendment) Bill, 2019. She appealed to Government to do better and to “stop insulting Senators with bad legislation…”
“You cannot be drafting like we are a banana republic. The way that we are getting this type of legislation with lack of clarity suggests that we do not know what we are doing. That is not right. If you are going to draft like that bring someone from CPC [Chief Parliamentary Counsel’s office] and put them to sit here so that when we have queries they can be questioned on the spot. This is nonsense. This should never come to us like this,” an irate Taitt said.
Taitt, an attorney-at-law, said the practice of sending incomplete legislation to the Senate must stop.
“This Senate has highly qualified persons who are reviewing this legislation for real. The submissions in here are not from people who are not reading. Never mind we are paid $1 479 a month. The point is we are reading, we are doing research, we are paying attention…”
The independent Senator said it was disrespectful as Senate colleagues could be heard voicing support.
“Stop disrespecting us by sending this type of legislation up here. Stop it. Stop it with this nonsense and drafting. Finish your clauses. Do not send me a bill with incomplete information. Do your legislation properly… Rush, rush, rush it is time to stop. I cannot come in this place and approve badly-drafted legislation, legislation that is incomplete.”
Taitt pointed out a number of loopholes, ambiguities and conflicts in the draft bill while raising a number of questions.
“Who is the executive chairman’s boss? Who is going to appraise the person? Who is going to discipline the person? Who is going to determine if the person is entitled to incremental increases? I remain confused. What is the protection if anything happens? Does the Employee Rights Act (ERA) apply to that person?
“I am saying anytime the Minister of Health changes or the Government changes the executive chairman is going to cost Government unfair dismissal damages. Who is going to implement the progressive discipline? The damages under the ERA are higher than the Severance Act.
Making references to specific clauses, Taitt, highlighted areas in the Bill to strengthen her position.
“Let’s not make this political or partisan as Senator Grant would say. I love when politicians say this because everything is political and partisan… The focus has been wrong therefore examining the Bill has fallen along the wayside. The Bill has flaws. So whatever the intention is and however qualified the designate is if you don’t fix the bill you are going to have confusion and problems…, Senator Taitt said.