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Paul: Hold-up in law drafting

Carlos Atwell

Paul: Hold-up in law drafting

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THE LENGTH OF TIME it takes for legislation to be drafted is a major stumbling block to the advancement of the agricultural sector in Barbados.
During the launch of the Agricultural Health and Food Control Programme yesterday at Accra Beach Hotel and Resort, Rockley, Christ Church, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, queried why the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC) was sometimes so “lackadaisical”.
“The people who matter in drafting legislation need to get up and do what they are supposed to. I don’t see a sense of urgency, we need the legislators to wake up!” he said.
The programme is expected to take place over four years and coordinator Dr Beverley Wood said it was hoped legislation would be drafted for it by the end of next year, something in which Paul did not agree.
“I think the initiative is an excellent idea and the fact we are going to involve the stakeholders is key but . . . I think it can be done within a shorter time frame. As a matter of concern I really think that those persons responsible for drafting legislation need to give this some priority; we cannot continue to fool ourselves and say we are pushing the productive sectors in Barbados when we continue to treat aspects of legislation with the kind of lackadaisical approach of the past,” he said.
Paul said it was necessary to give the kind of legislative backing for the exportation of Barbadian products in a reasonable time frame but he was not convinced this was going to be the case.
“What I am hearing from the office of the CPC does not say this to me and I really think we need to put greater urgency in enacting the type of legislation to facilitate the penetration by local producers of foreign markets,” he said.
Paul was not alone in his thoughts as he was supported by other members of the private sector. 
The comments were sparked when a member of the CPC office spoke during the panel discussion saying they were willing to work on drafting the appropriate legislation but were often left out of the planning process.
In response, Wood said there were provisions to involve the CPC office in the programme.
“We have spoken to the CPC and have asked lawyers to draft a white paper as there are so many pieces of legislation to be drafted. We want a CPC officer assigned to work with us or if not, we are prepared to hire someone to work on the project,” she said.