A PROMINENT BUSINESSMAN and former senator has called for further review of the Preservation of Antiquities and Relics Bill, saying it could lead to “oppressive use of power by the state”.
The bill, which was passed in the House of Assembly in an amended form last week after being taken to Parliament for the second time in five years, confers far-reaching powers, including entering and searching private properties as well as compulsory acquisition of any historical relic.
“Can you imagine this piece of legislation in the hands of a tyrant?” queried Andrew Bynoe, who expressed concern that it left too much room for arbitrary seizure of private assets.
While making it clear he was not opposed to the legislation in its entirety, Bynoe, who has a particular interest in the matter as an art collector, expressed concern that it was not very different from what was first introduced under a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.
“In 2006 the Senate, without debate, sent the bill back to the House of Assembly for review . . . what concerned me then is the same thing that concerns me now; that is, that the bill gives the power to the director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society to seize private property deemed to be relics or antiquities,” Bynoe wrote in a letter to the DAILY NATION.
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