Attorney General Dale Marshall. (GP)

Amendments are coming to this island’s health service regulations.

This disclosure came from Attorney General Dale Marshall, as he addressed a recent post-Cabinet press conference with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, on disaster matters, at Government Headquarters.

Mr. Marshall said this was necessary as Government was seeking to get Barbadians to clean up their environment, and properly dispose garbage, in an effort to mitigate flooding during heavy rainfall.

He told the media: “So a small ministerial committee, made up of the Minister of Health, Minister of Public Works, Minister of the Environment and myself, will be looking at the health service regulations over the next week or two, to see how we can make the appropriate amendments to ensure that Barbadians once again are encouraged to take care of the open spaces.

“But if they do not, then we want to make sure that the Government is able to move in, deal with those things and ensure that the home owner or the real estate will pay the price….  We are not interested in making anybody a criminal, but we do have to motivate people towards the kind of conduct that staves off disaster and challenges for a government…”

Prime Minister Mottley had earlier said that she had asked the Attorney General to “move with dispatch” to put a framework for ticketing in place.  “We want all of the alleys, canals, water courses, and the residences cleaned,” she stated, and any possible missiles removed.

The Attorney General added that Government had to call in individuals to clear drains and gutters on the approach of tropical storm Dorian. This, he stressed, should not have had to be done, since cleaning should be a normal, regular occurrence.

“It has come to that point.  We are going to simply have to put new legislative measures in place.  We will be imposing a set of civil fines to try to encourage Barbadians to engage in the appropriate kind of conduct.  The Prime Minister calls it ticketing offences, very much like an offence of parking in the wrong place.  It doesn’t get ramped up to a criminal procedure at that point; you have an opportunity to pay the fine and make amends.

“That is the approach we want to use in this instance, and also you will see that approach rolled out across many other areas of our law.  We still have a few more months to go before we are out of this hurricane season, but we are hoping to get this new legislative platform in place within fairly short order,” he said.

Mr. Marshall also disclosed that Government would be reviewing the Catastrophe Fund legislation.  The Catastrophe Fund, he suggested, remains a viable tool to help individuals get back on their feet after a disaster.

“The last administration had made a move to abolish the fund; we resisted it at that point.  We think that it was absolutely the wise decision when we implemented it,” he stated. 

He disclosed that the fund had over $30 million, but noted that money would not go very far if the country was affected by a severe disaster.

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