Legislation on global health threats passed
Legislation designed to introduce a more flexible and responsive approach to global communicable disease was passed by MPs in the House of Assembly yesterday.
The Quarantine Amendment Act 2017 and Quarantine (Maritime and Air) Regulations 2017 enjoyed support from Parliamentarians on both sides of the floor.
“The Amendment Act and regulations will provide the guidance for enforcement of the security structure and ensure our ports and airports create the first line of defence from global public health threats,” Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said.
“As a whole they will modernise and strengthen our response to international public health threats.”
Ms Wilson told the House that the new regulations would introduce a flexible and updated method of preventing, controlling and responding to a public health threat that ensures the safety and rights of all involved.
She added: “The new regulations will streamline the procedures required at both the airport and ports, provide the key structure to the security, ensure the roles of health officers are outlined and the rights and responsibilities of travellers are enshrined in law.
“They will allow health officers to stop the disembarking of passengers and crew from a ship or aircraft as did the 1946 Regulations.
“However, in the new regulations health officers will only have this ability where a public health threat has been reported on board, a death was reported or the conveyance is coming from an affected country.”
Meanwhile the Real Estate Brokers’ Licensing Act 2017 was also passed yesterday.
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, told MPs that the legislation would modernise the operation and supervision of the real estate industry and bring the island into compliance with standards set up by the Financial Action Task Force.
Opposition MPs including Jeanne Atherden, Grant Gibbons and Trevor Moniz raised concerns that the legislation could adversely impact lawyers who practice in real estate.
Mr Moniz said: “I express the Bar’s concerns that these new requirements would apply to members of the Bar who in their normal course of practice engage in the practice of real estate law.
“Will a lawyer engaged in the normal course of practice be caught by this Act?”
Mr Roban acknowledged the concerns as well as the need to pass the legislation before the end of this month.
“I am mindful of the concerns,” he said.
“The undertaking has been to sit down with the Bar once this Bill is passed and immediately begin to present an amendment to this clause so the practitioners’ normal course of business can see relief.”
Four further Acts updating and making minor changes to the existing legislation were also passed yesterday.
These included the Companies Amendment (No 2) 2017; Payroll Tax Amendment (No 3) Act; USA Bermuda Tax Convention (No 3) Amendment Act 2017; and Proceeds of Crime Amendment (No 2) Act 2017.