In a matter of mere hours yesterday the Senate raced through five pieces of legislation, including The Constitutional (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill on which a count was taken.
The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott, indicated that among the matters were laws which had to be passed by December 31. Along with the amendment to the Constitution there was also the Public Procurement Bill 2021; the Whistle-blower Protection Bill; the Income Tax (Country-by-Country Reporting) Bill 2021, and the Remediation Agreements (Deferred Prosecutions) Bill 2021.
Most of the legislation was passed with little debate on them during the sitting that lasted about three hours.
Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn made an early exit from the Chamber, citing his lack of preparedness after having been notified only on Friday that the procurement bill would be debated. He said the short notice gave him no time to research the matter and he would only be a spectator in the Senate while the issue was being debated.
“I can’t. I will not participate in this bill or any other. I will not be a spectator,” Franklyn said.
However, Walcott pointed out that the bill had been circulated in the House from November 2 and members were asked to come prepared to debate any bill. He encouraged Franklyn to remain.
However, after a brief exchange with President of the Senate Reginald Farley and wishing members of the Chamber a happy Christmas he left. The bill went on to be passed.
The bill amending the Constitution was also passed, but because of the required two-third majority, that was put to a count. There were 15 members voting in favour and there were no abstentions or votes against it. (AC)