Lower house approves bills

The Lower House of Parliament has approved a bill, which seeks to harmonise the regulations and the legislation for conducting a general election in accordance with the current legislation.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the action was taken to arrest a discrepancy, which the House was informed about by the Parliamentary Elections Office (PEO) which is currently preparing for general elections within the next few months.

In presenting the Representation of The People (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Member for the Town of St. George, Health Minister Nickolas Steele said it provides for the correct naming of the legislation and numbering of the forms used in the electoral process.

He said the amendment is needed to correct the incorrect naming and numbering, which occurred as a result of various amendments made to the Representation of the People Act of 1993 in 2011 under the then ruling Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

According to Minister Steele, the amendment would provide for the smooth flow of the regulations with the Act.

“As it stands right now, the numbers on the forms are not correct with what is written in the legislation,” Steele said, adding that the “legislation is called the Representation of the People Act Cap 286A, but on the form it refers to the Representation of the People Act 1993.

“So, this amendment provides for deleting the words ‘Representation of the People Act 1993’ where they appear and substituting the words ‘Representation of the People Act Cap 286A”, he told Parliament.

In giving full support to the amendment, Leader of Government Business, Works Minister Gregory Bowen told the House that the inconsistency with the forms was identified by the Electoral Office and brought to their attention.

Minister Bowen explained that due to the amendment done by Congress in 2011, the legislation had different numbers for the various sections and the number and wording on the forms were not changed.

“It is vital that forms be printed correctly (that) they are correctly numbered as stated in the People’s Representation Act”, the Member for St. George’s South-East declared.

The People’s Representation (Amendment) Act is one of three Bills approved by the Lower House to go before the Senate for approval.

In addition to the People’s Representation Act, amendments were also made to Section 9, 10, 14, 14A, 16 and 18 of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, to be cited as the Financial Intelligence Unit (Amendment) Bill, which makes provisions for who can be appointed as a Deputy Director, among other minor changes to certain words in the principal Act.

An amendment was also made to the Customs Act No. 9 of 2015 inserting a new subsection which seeks to guide the Minister on matters for which the regulations should cover including establishment, licensing and regulation of customs brokers and tariff clerks.

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