With the July 15 deadline for comments and recommendations on the Anti-Terrorism Bill quickly approaching, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) has said the time allotted for public review is not sufficient.
The Order Paper for the Fourth Meeting of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament under the Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution on Monday 25 June 2018 was amended to provide for only the first reading of the Bill instead of all three readings.
After this Attorney General Levi Peter invited members of the public and civil society to forward comments and recommendations regarding the Anti-Terrorism Bill to him in writing by 15 July 2018.
However, according to DFP’s leader Kent Vital, the allotted time is very concerning and a letter will be written to the Attorney General expressing this concern.
“It’s drafted already to the Attorney General on that matter and in that letter we are advising the Attorney General that it is not very reasonable to allow two weeks or so for persons to respond,” Vital said.
According to Vital in other countries, as much as three months is given between the first and second readings of the Bill.
“That’s a very important matter, that’s not a simple matter so we have written the letter …advising that the second reading be done in three months”.
Vital said his party wants to ensure that the necessary precaution is taken regarding the legislation of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
“We have a government that clearly seems to be bent on undermining democracy so we are going to stay on point, we are going to watch the situation very closely and we are going to insist that the government keeps the law,” Vital stated.
Parliament adjourned sine die, meaning without date, on 26 June 2018 and therefore it is uncertain how much time will elapse before the second and third readings of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
During the last sitting of Parliament, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition Lennox Linton said his party will submit its comments and recommendations to the Attorney General by the July 15 deadline.
Vital, who was addressing a DFP press conference on 2 July, said the letter would be delivered to the Attorney General the following day.