by Linda Straker
- Public consultation on Covid-19 Control Bill done via email and stakeholder focus group sessions
- GIS press release urges public to send their comments and feedback by 7 September 2020
- Some people have objected to format and express need for sessions with public
The public consultation on the proposed Covid-19 Control Bill is being done through concerns sent via email, and also involves sessions with stakeholder focus groups such as the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), the NGO community and the religious community.
Lisa Taylor, re-elected President of the Grenada Bar Association, confirmed that the Attorney General’s chambers met with members of the bar on more than one occasion, while members of the religious community have confirmed engaging in similar sessions. The sessions are held via the Zoom conference format.
On Tuesday, 26 August 2020, the Government Information Service (GIS) issued a press release urging members of the public to contribute to process by sending their comments and feedback to the email address [email protected]. The deadline for feedback is 7 September 2020.
Some people have objected to the format and are expressing the need for sessions with the public.
“The Government of Grenada is engaged in ongoing public consultation on the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Control Bill, 2020, with the plan to table it in parliament by early October.” The release explained the primary intention of the proposed legislation which was withdrawn from the Order Paper for the 29 July 2020 sitting of the House of Representatives.
The bill was withdrawn to allow for public consultation. Several people raised objections to the piece of legislation which some felt contains clauses that infringe on fundamental constitutional rights.
“The Bill seeks to give further powers to the appropriate state authorities to continue to contain the spread of the virus, to reduce the resourcing and administrative burden on public bodies; and to limit the impact of potential staffing shortages on the delivery of public service,” explained the release.
The primary intention of the bill is to protect people, especially now that the decision has been taken to reopen the country’s borders. It will last for one year but can be revoked earlier since it is only needed for the time that is required to respond to the Covid-19 situation.
As part of measures to contain and control the spread of Covid-19, Grenada in March declared a state of emergency and gazettes regulations as provided for in the Emergency Powers Act which continues to be in effect. If approved by parliamentarians, the Covid-10 Control Bill will revoke the State of Emergency, but allow for the regulations to continue without the fortnightly renewal.
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