A Call for Public Education on ICT Bills

Trade Union representative in the Senate, Rae Roberts tells the Government that it must engage the people in consultation the same way it pursued their votes to win the February 19, 2013 General Elections.

Senator  Rae Roberts - “some people have never heard about this bill”

Senator Rae Roberts – “some people have never heard about this bill”

In his presentation during the debate on several Electronic Bills last week Tuesday, Sen. Roberts said he was deeply concerned that the overwhelming majority of the population were not aware of what’s in the proposed legislation already approved by the House of Representatives.

He told the sitting that while the Workers’ Movement strongly supports the Electronic Filing Bill 2013; the Electronic Transaction Bill 2013; the Transfer of Funds Crime Bills 2013, the Electronic Evidence 2013, the people must be educated so they can have an appreciation of the value and the consequences.

He said, ” In our hands is a Bill that endeavours to make a significant cultural shift in the lives of all Grenadians and the vast majority don’t know what is in this Bill – some people have never heard about this bill”.

Sen. Roberts told the Government Senators that their boast of the Prime Minister’s leadership of ICT in the region will have greater impact and weight if 80/90% of the population is knowledgeable about the technology and are using it to the maximum; therefore, they must not keep the people in ignorance.

Making a special plea for the youth, Sen.Roberts said, it was a shame that the Government talks so much about greater involvement of youth in the democratic process but that is not reflected in consultation with respect to the Electronic Bills.

”Young People – the future of the nation – the same young people our Prime Minister speaks off with a passion”, said Sen. Roberts. ”They are the ones who use the technology more than anyone else. We parents are often times struggling to keep pace” he added.

Meanwhile, Government has again failed to provide answers to any of the five questions asked by Sen. Roberts during the session.

The questions were presented at the previous sitting of the Senate in June, about a month ago.

Sen. Roberts wants the Administration of Dr. Keith Mitchell which made a clean sweep of the 15 seats in the Feb 19, 2013 General Elections, to inform the nation ”what are the emoluments being paid to Ministers of Government, parliamentary secretaries; including allowances for constituencies.

A question re the employment of Senior Advisor to Government, Dr. Patrick Antoine requires the terms and condition for his employment, including his emoluments, and allowances.

Also being asked of the Government is to provide a list of all new workers, including advisers and consultants who were given contracts of employment commencing February to May 31, 2013 as well as their emoluments and allowances.

Other questions posed to the Government and await answers are, ”How many overseas trips were made by Government Ministers, Advisers, and Consultant between February and May 31, 2013 and whether or not they were sponsored by International Organisations?

Speaking on the adjournment of the Senate, Sen. Roberts said, he hopes the Leader of Government Business will not take another month to provide the answers.

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