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Public consultation on controversial Police Act postponed

Public consultation on controversial Police Act postponed

The government postponed its planned consultations with the public on the controversial Police Act of 2019 that was scheduled to be hosted last evening May 10.

The consultations were slated to take place on the Government’s Public Eye program and was scheduled to be aired live on the Government’s Facebook page, ZBVI 780 AM radio and CBN Channel 101 on Flow TV.

It remains unclear what was the reason for the postponement.

The next dates advertised for public consultations on the Act are May 25 at the Althea Scatliffe Primary School, May 26 at the Catholic Community Centre in Virgin Gorda, and May 27 at Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke.

Previously, Premier Andrew Fahie promised to make another attempt at passing the controversial Police Act which drew intense public criticism and failed to pass in the House of Assembly last year.

However, he said this time, he will be sure to hold public consultations to hear the public’s view on the piece of legislation.

Among the changes that drew public outcry was a proposal to give police officers immunity while acting under a warrant.

“The Police Act is going to be brought back to the House of Assembly and I assure the public that after the first reading there will be extensive public consultation so that you the people can tell us what is your input on this legislation,” Premier Fahie said.

The proposed Police Act

The new Police Act was being touted as one which would help with crime-fighting in the territory.

It seeks to replace the current three-decade-old Police Act (Cap 165).

Last year, Opposition legislator Julian Fraser expressed several concerns, stating that there were too many ambiguities that will need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

Such examples include clauses 22 and 185 of the Act. The first states that police officers are not personally liable for acts done under a warrant, while the latter clause provides immunity for police officers acting under the authority of a warrant.


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