Gov't to update several pieces of legislation in 2020/21

Gov't to update several pieces of legislation in 2020/21

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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THE Government says work will begin on a number of critical pieces of legislation during the new parliamentary year.

They include the legal frameworks for national security, the education sector, investment, tourism, and the disabled community.

In the 2020/21 throne speech, marking the start of the new parliamentary year, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen said the Government will be building on advancements in the legal framework for national security in the coming year, with the tabling of critical laws.

This includes the Law Enforcement (Protection of Integrity) Act, aimed at preventing and detecting corruption among law enforcement personnel, and updating the Corrections Act to make it more aligned to current trends in modern technological advances and increases in penalties.

Amendments to the Aliens Act and Immigration Restriction Commonwealth Citizenship Act is also coming, to improve management of current trends in immigration breaches and border security control mechanisms.

At the same time, the legislative agenda for the education sector will focus on the Jamaica Teaching Council Bill, which seeks to establish the Jamaica Teaching Council, and a system of licensing teachers to improve the status of the profession. Additionally, the Higher Education Bill is also to be tabled.

Also, changes to the Education Act and its regulations are expected to facilitate modernisation of the legal and regulatory framework governing public education.

“The Government will continue to focus on infrastructural development to provide adequate school places for children at all levels and advance the process of eliminating the shift system in seven schools,” the governor general told Parliament.

Implementation of the seven years of secondary education, which includes the mainstreaming of the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), is also to continue, while the Government advances plans for the development of new high schools focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Legislation will be pursued for investment and trade, with amendments to the Jamaica Promotions Act. The new provisions will implement a regulatory regime for the film and motion picture industry and bolster the local creative industries.

Sir Patrick said amendments are also on the agenda for the Trade Marks Act, as well as the Companies Act, which is to be tweaked to strengthen the disclosure of information relating to the beneficial owners of companies.

Changes to the Agro Investment Corporation Act will guide investment in the local agriculture sector and management of the agro-parks and agro-economic zones.

In the labour and social security sector, the Government says it intends to bring the 2014 Disabilities Act into effect in the coming year, and that a Disabilities Rights Tribunal is to be set up to begin hearings.

The legislation is aimed at promoting individual dignity and autonomy of persons with disabilities, and ensuring their full and effective participation and inclusion in the society.

Laws pertaining to tourism, which are also to go before the legislature for amendments in 2020/21, include the Bath of St Thomas the Apostle Act, and the Milk River Bath Act, both of which will be public-private partnerships. The Tourist Board Act is also slated for updating.

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