Police Bill debate postponed because of renewed concerns
The debate of the Police Bill, 2023 that was scheduled to take place in the House of Assembly (HOA) today has been postponed because of the fresh and renewed concerns relating to the contents of the proposed legislation.
Government legislator Carvin Malone advised in an early-morning statement via the messaging application, Whatsapp, that the postponement follows an informal HOA meeting held yesterday to discuss the Bill, which seeks to repeal the existing law that governs policing in the BVI.
He said the Attorney General’s Chambers and officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were both represented at the meeting.
“All 12 members of the HOA were in attendance and voiced their concerns and the concerns of the public and from officials of the Bar Association during the meeting,” Malone stated.
“Based on the feedback, numerous suggestions for changes to the bill were voiced and widely agreed. There were concerns of provisions that are already in the Act of 2014 (the existing law) and repeated in the 2023 Bill so these were not agreed for removal. There were also concerns that, once explained, were agreed as critical to policing and hence were agreed to remain. And finally, there were concerns that all parties agreed to remove in parts and in whole,” the government legislator added.
He further said that requests were made for the agreed changes to be done and circulated to the legislators before the second and third readings of the proposed Bill are done in the HOA. (See Editor’s Note below on what are ‘readings’)
The new Police Bill was first proposed in back it 2019. But it underwent a revision because of major concerns and public backlash about certain provisions in the proposed legislation.