KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Unity Labour Party government will this year pass legislation to govern the broadcasting industry here, Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne said in the Throne Speech yesterday.
The speech is written by the Prime Minister and delivered by the Governor General, the country’s ceremonial head of state.
The broadcast laws are among several pieces of legislation to be brought to Parliament this year.
“Mr. Speaker, the broadcasting industry is a highly profitable industry and a powerful means of effecting cultural change,” Sir Frederick said.
“A draft Bill setting out a systematic approach to ensure the regulation and supervision of the industry will be introduced in the House this year without in any way limiting or infringing the constitutional protection on freedom of expression,” he added.
Sir Frederick said that to strengthen law and order in the government’s good governance platform and to continue to be tough on crime and the causes of crime, new Police, Prisons and Road Trafficking Bills would be drafted.
Section 4 of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act will be amended to enhance the functions of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
A draft bill for the integration of the Magistracy will be reviewed, as well as legislation to support speedier trials in the Magistracy and the High Court, thereby ensuring that there is a veritable permanent criminal division of the High Court, he told legislators.
Legislation to give effect to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Magistrates Agreement 2011, signed in May, will also be tabled for enactment.
Further bills speaking to data protection, electronic crimes, electronic evidence, electronic funds transfer, electronic transactions, and electronic filing will be tabled this year.
The laws will ensure that supporting infrastructure is in place for the implementation of the OECS Electronic Government for Regional Integration Project (EGRIP) Legislation.
The government also plans to complete the process of adopting the first four pieces of completed harmonised Model Family Legislation.
The Care and Adoption Act and the Status of Children Act have already been passed and the Domestic Violence Bill and the Child Justice Bill are scheduled to be introduced in the first half of this year.
The Modern Legal Professional Bill will be enacted to regulate, monitor and foster development of the legal profession.
The government will also table legislation crafted to strengthen agricultural development in several areas. These include a review of the Cocoa Cess Act, Capter 51, which provides payment of two cents on every pound of cocoa beans exported.
The Cooperatives Societies Legislation will make new provision regarding the registration, supervision, governance, operation and management of cooperatives while the Companies Act, Cap 143 and International Business Companies (Amendment and Consolidation) Act, Cap 149 will be further amended.
And to ensure that this country is up-to-date in regional and international Treaty participation, relevant drafts of Accession and Instruments of Ratification will be prepared.
The government will this year also undertake reform of relevant electoral laws to strengthen democracy as well as table a to finalise the procurement and contract administration procedures of government.
There will also be Amendment to the Financial Administration Act to bolster transparency and good governance in the public service.
There will also this year be more development work of the social policy manual prepared in March 2011 to address issues related to the Children Against Poverty, teen mothers, male marginalisation and male under-achievement.