Construction Contractors throughout Grenada will now have to grapple with new rules and guidelines as government moves to provide greater protection to homeowners.
The Engineers’ Registration Bill, 2014 which seeks to provide for the registration, practice, and discipline of engineers was passed with no amendments during a recent sitting of the Senate.
Private sector representative in the Upper House, Senator Christopher De Allie welcomed the legislation and congratulated the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell for finalising the document which has been in the making for more than 40 years.
“I am a qualified engineer for more than 25 years now practicing in Grenada and we have been discussing this many years before I became qualified and practicing here,” Sen. De Allie said.
He described the occasion as “a historic day in the engineering community”, since this brings the profession in line with the rest of the region and the world in how they carry out their trade in a professional manner.
The manager of a local paint producing company noted that over the years the country has witnessed a number of substandard buildings being erected due to the absence of legislation in place to ensure not only proper guidelines are adhered to but to provide an avenue of recourse for aggrieved customers.
“For the average man on the street, what this means is safety and protection of your greatest investment…”, Sen. De Allie remarked.
According to the private sector executive, for most people their home is their biggest investment in life and there were instances in the past where houses were constructed and within a matter of months the building collapses with no recourse for the aggrieved party and no sight of the builder or contractor to come to their rescue.
“When you look at the plans, when you look at the engineering it was substandard,” De Allie said, adding that this new legislation provides recourse, justice and safety to life and for greater discipline of engineers in providing service.
De Allie told the Senate that his only concern regarding the Bill after its passage is to ensure that it is implemented as soon as possible.
The Bill provides for the establishment of a five-member Board of Directors to serve for a two-year period with eligibility for re-appointment.
The Board would comprise of five registered engineers appointed by the Minister of Communications and Works, Gregory Bowen upon consultation with the Executive Committee of the Grenada Institute of Professional Engineers; and two other persons who the minister may deem necessary for the proper functioning of the Board.
Minister Bowen have the authority to appoint the Chairman of the Board and the names of all members of the Board will be published in the Government Gazette.
The Bill requires all engineers with at least four years experience in practice to be legally registered.
However, a person who acquires registration under false or fraudulent representation written or oral, faces a fine not exceeding $5,000.00 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both for first time offenders; for each subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding four years or both; and to lose his license to practice as a registered engineer.
Trade Union Representative in the Senate, Raymond Roberts voiced support for the new Bill but expressed some concerns with the structure of the Board of Directors and believes that a wider number of persons should be included.
“You can’t have engineers supervising themselves,” he said, adding that there is room for civil society to participate.
Sen. Roberts suggested that failure to make this adjustment to the Bill leaves the opportunity open for corruption.
The Bill was presented by Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Information, Sen. Winston Garraway, and was passed with no amendments.