Minister of Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey is setting the record straight that the current administration had nothing to do with the draft Elderly Persons Bill 2022.
During a press conference on Thursday, attorney-at-law Corey Beckles and his legal assistant Anthony Hinds presented the media with the bill they authored and handed to the ministry.
The document outlined stringent penalties for people convicted of elderly abuse such as a $25 000 fine or imprisonment of up to 10 years.
However, during a walkthrough of his St Michael South constituency on Saturday, Humphrey said that while he encouraged any act to help protect the rights of elderly people in Barbados, it was important for the public to understand that that piece of legislation was not of Government.
He said it was necessary to bring clarity to the matter as a lot of stakeholders were not involved in the creation of the document and he wanted to diminish any confusion of Government being involved.
“I just want to make it clear that that’s not the Government’s legislation. While I have no objection to anybody being involved in this process, because it is the intention of the Government to work with everyone in this process, it would not be fair to the elderly population for me to say that that legislation is actually the Government’s legislation,” he said.
“I had not seen the legislation in September and I would have liked to see it. If anyone is serious about delivering legislation the process … is that legislation comes through the concerning ministry, which is a Cabinet parliamentary console. And the reason that is so is to make sure that the legislation does not have flaws and to avoid flaws as much as possible. Regrettably, that was not the case in this process. We have not seen the legislation.”
Humphrey said that the largest elderly representative body in Barbados – the Barbados Association of Retired Persons – had not been consulted when the draft was created, adding that the document also had “no regard for the Chief Parliamentary Counsel’s Office, which is the only office that can draft legislation”.
This is why he said the document “would be obviously an issue for us”.
However, the minister said he was willing to work with the authors of the document.
“I want to welcome any opportunity to work with anyone, including the drafters [of the bill] … in the interest of the older people of this country,” he said. (SZB)