Mon. 30th Aug., 2010

No. 8 Fifth Session Eighth ParliamentMonday 30th August, 2010Prayers Obituaries Congratulatory Remarks Confirmation of the Minutes Statements by Ministers Reports from Select Committee PetitionsQuestions for Oral Answers Motion Orders of the Day AdjournmentSAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) ADVANCE COPY OFFICIAL REPORT CONTENTS Monday 30th August 20101THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES OFFICIAL REPORTPROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE EIGHTH MEETING, FIFTH SESSION OF THE EIGHTH PARLIAMENT OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES CONSTITUTED AS SET OUT IN SCHEDULE 2 TO THE SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES ORDER, 1979.THIRTEENTH SITTING 30TH AUGUST 2010HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYThe Honourable House of Assembly met at 10:10 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber, Court House, Kingstown.PRAYERS MR. SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR Honourable Hendrick Alexander Present MEMBERS OF CABINETPrime Minister, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning, National Security, Grenadines and Legal Affairs Dr. the Honourable Ralph GonsalvesAttorney General Honourable Judith Jones-MorganMinister of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Gender Affairs, Non-Governmental Organisations, Local Government, Persons with Disabilities, Youths and SportsHonourable Michael BrowneMinister of Education Honourable Girlyn MiguelMember for Central Windward2Member for West St. George Member for MarriaquaMinister of Rural Transformation, Information, Postal Service and Ecclesiastical Affairs Honourable Selmon WaltersMinister of Urban Development, Culture, Labour and Electoral Matters Rene BaptisteMinister of Transport and Works Honourable Clayton BurginMinister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Honourable Montgomery DanielMinister of Telecommunications, Science Technology and Industry Honourable Dr. Jerrol ThompsonMinister of Tourism Honourable Glen Beache Honourable Conrad SayersMinister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Physical Planning Lands and Surveys Honourable Saboto CaesarHonourable Julian FrancisMinister of State in the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Gender Affairs, Non-Governmental Organisations Relations, Persons with Disabilities, Youth and Sports Honourable Cecil MckieParliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Honourable Michelle FifeMember for South Central WindwardMember for West Kingstown Member for East St. GeorgeMember for North WindwardMember for North Leeward Member for South WindwardMember for Central Kingstown/ Deputy SpeakerGovernment Senator Government Senator3Government SenatorHonourable Arnhim EustaceDr. the Honourable Godwin Friday Terrance Ollivierre Honourable Major St. Claire Leacock Honourable Daniel CummingsDeputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Honourable Louis StrakerMinister of Health and the Environment Dr. Douglas SlaterABSENTLeader of the Opposition Member for East KingstownMember for Northern Grenadines Member for Southern Grenadines Opposition Senator Opposition SenatorMember for Central Leeward Member for South LeewardOTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE4ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY MONDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2010PRAYERSThe Honourable Speaker Hendrick Alexander read the prayers of the House.OBITUARIES HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for East St George.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to express sincere condolences to the bereaved family of the late Mrs. Sybil Marshall nee Dougan of Ratho Mill, who passed away late Saturday night in the wee hours of Sunday morning after going into the hospital on Saturday. Now, Sybil Marshall, Mr. Speaker, if there is a stalwart for the ULP she was one. She has been a member of the Labour Party and you know from the Dougan family that was a prominent family with the Labour Party and she continued over the years though wheel chair bound for many years to promote the interest of the Unity Labour Party. She has served this country well and she was once postmistress at the Calliaqua Post Office for many years. She always used her telephone to do her campaign work for me in East St George and for the Unity Labour Party. She would be sorely missed by her family and friends within the constituency and the rest of St Vincent and the Grenadines; may her soul rest in peace. Much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for West Kingstown.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay brief tribute to two individuals whom I have known since I was a very young person. The first one being Mr. Eldon Percival Hadaway, lately of Edinboro, ‘Buck White’; ‘Buck White’ was a barber and I first knew him when we used to go upstairs to where the Labour Party Office was located that was next to the former chambers of the deceased Robert Milton Cato our Prime Minister, first Prime Minister. He was a barber up there, then afterwards knowing him at Edinboro where he continuously was building first a home and then it appeared to be a guest house, then it was a bar and a place for get together.He can give a joke with a very serious face and when he called you, you thought he was going to scold you more than he was just being jovial. At the end of the sentence you realise it was just a joke and you breathe a sigh of relief. He used to sit on the wall and play his guitar and sometimes we would gather there by him because he was a lifelong member of the Labour Party and a staunch supporter and member of the Unity Labour Party.page5image221525He was an Anglican Communicant, as well as a good paying member of the Preston Unity Mechanics. His family, his daughters and all the others I knew, his brother ‘Killa’ I still know him; he sits behind me at church on Sunday mornings with his dear wife. He is well known to all of us. The neighbours around there also know him; some people did not even know his name was Eldon Percival because since they opened their eyes they heard everyone calling him ‘Buck White’. To his family, his relatives and friends we do extend our condolences and I feel assured that the sort of personality that he was with his great love for music and such a calm individual; that he will rest with the light eternal in his heart with his Saviour.And the second person is Luxie Quashie otherwise baptised as Charles Quashie. I knew him through my cousin Bernard Baptiste, they used to meet at Devil Street and Luxie was a member of Hunveds and Saints: those two football clubs and he also played for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He may appeared to have been short and stocky until you stood up next to him then you realise he was not that short it was just the bow legs; and he was swift on the field of play. I believe that other persons will speak more eloquently in relation to his skills as a footballer.He was responsible for planting all those beautiful trees you see in the grounds of the Churchyard cemetery of St George’s Cathedral, so anytime you pass there you would remember Luxie Quashie, he took really great care. He was a devoted member of his church and he always made sure that he gives his service especially during the time ... I vividly remember him working with ‘Biscuit MacIntosh, Oneil MacIntosh of blessed memory as well. And he has given great service and I think he went to the Ministry of Agriculture around 1973 or thereabout to work.To his children and his brothers and sisters we want you to know that we appreciate his service that he did both on the field of play and in the field of agriculture. He has left a great legacy behind and I am sure he will not be forgotten by most Vincentians may the Lord have mercy on his soul.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for West St George.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I too would like to pay tribute in my capacity as Minister of Sports to Charles Augustus Luxie Quashie who was a national footballer. Luxie died just under two weeks ago and had he lived he would have been celebrating his birthday today, so I will have to also wish him happy birthday. Cause of death I understand is cancer: colon cancer and he was buried last Wednesday. He is a product of what we know as Devil Street, Long Lane, Lower Middle Street and having grown up myself in Bottom Town which is adjacent to Devil Street; I knew him well and I frequented the Park, Victoria Park to see him and others play football as the Honourable Member for West Kingstown said for Hundred Football Club where my brothers-in-law played and Saints Football Club and he was described as a robust no nonsense, fearless fullback or defender. And I can attest to that having seen him make many tackles in his role of defender.He did in fact represent the country nationally and there are many, many tales about his role in the defence and as the Honourable Member for West Kingstown indicated, you could be deceived by his stocky appearance but he was indeed extremely agile for his size. He has been described as a man who was tough outside but very soft inside and again there are many testimonies that would confirm that fact. He was a very jovial easy going person, always puts you at ease; I do not know if it is as a result of trying to compensate for his imposing size.6He was a cultural man and he played carnival extensively with Samo and Bridge boys. The younger persons would need to do some research where that is concerned.As an agriculturist as was indicated, he joined the Ministry of Agriculture in 1973 at the still tender age of twenty and he has been described as an outstanding Livestock Officer. I am told he would travel the length and breadth of the country; to identify pedigree animals and persuade his colleagues at the Ministry of Agriculture to purchase such animals; to provide stud services in order to improve and enhance the livestock in St Vincent and the Grenadines. I am also told he contributed to the ‘Food Fly Campaign’ allowing St Vincent to gain Food Fly free status in the 1980’s. I am also informed that he worked with eight Ministers of Agriculture; thirteen Permanent Secretaries and eight Chief Agriculture Officers and all of them spoke highly of Luxie. He is considered to be an exemplary professional going way beyond the call of duty and those persons who know him on a one and one basis will confirm that.He retired in 1998 at the age of 55 but he continued to assist and support the Ministry of Agriculture. In all of this I would say that humility was Luxie’s signature; he really was a very humble down to earth human being. His children many of them, several of them, I know some of them including Kurt who I understand on his birthday would spend an afternoon with him in a father and son celebration. I am told that he has another son Anthony Dennie and he has siblings which include Cyril Scorcher Thomas. I wish his soul rest in peace, and I end as I began by wishing him happy birthday; thank you, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator Leacock.HONOURABLE ST CLAIR LEACOCK: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I rise and also identify with the tributes expressed by Honourable Members on the other side with respect to Buck White and Luxie Quashie, it would be very difficult, Mr. Speaker, to add much more to the details provided by the Honourable Member for West St George, save and except if I can extract from the News Newspaper in a tribute paid by Duggie Joseph in which he said:-And he says,“Luxie Quashie has made a sterling contribution to this country’s development without being paid one red cent.I am not here speaking about his work at the Ministry of Agriculture: that was his livelihood. His contribution in the field of football is immeasurable. A former Saints, Eagles, Fernandez Stars and national footballer. Luxie did what no other footballer in his time did”.I certainly remember him in his robust style, Mr. Speaker, and I think he did have [inaudible] aim of the tank with respect to football that he was so difficult to get pass as everyone indicated. Even my mom at 88, yesterday referred to him as “That jovial troublesome fella”. Those were her words with respect to Luxie Quashie. Mr. Speaker, I want to add to those tributes the names of a few other individuals who like Luxie Quashie came from families without social wealth but made national contributions which is revered today. And I add in that regard Ashes Wind or Sharpes who did just about everything; his family remembers him as perhaps the only person7who could drive a forklift while asleep and had no record of accidents at the Port, and did everything to build himself and his family.I also add to that, Mr. Speaker, one I think it is Winston John from Sion Hill he used to be a body builder, yes! I think he would be buried tomorrow. I remember in the days people like him and Brother John ruled the roost as strong robust individuals and they too have gone beyond. But like Luxie Quashie, Mr. Speaker, Winston also represented this country at the National level in body building and fitness competitions and as young people in and around the city you would remember them for their contributions.Mr. Speaker, I add lastly one referred to as Marshie, Oswald Brazel and I just want to extract again from the papers his daughter’s tribute. She says:-“On his death bed I saw a child who still hurt for the mother he lost at a young age.On his death bed I saw a grandfather who took the time to boost his granddaughter’s confidence by telling her how beautiful she sang, and how pretty she was. He also told her she had the best mother in the world and she could not draw on her hands.On his death bed I saw a friend who knew he had friends, he forever asked for them, he wanted Kutta and his dear friend Errol Williams to know I had come to visit him.On his death bed I saw someone who did not receive a lot of love in his overall life but received so much love from his sister who fed him, sang for him, teased him, held him and prayed for him”.Mr. Speaker, I have said in this parliament before that it is always difficult for us to determine who we should include or should not include in our tributes, but I long for the day when you or the Speaker, Mr. Speaker, would have the resources at your disposal through maybe a research officer that we really and truly can do a collection of these tributes and assist some way down the road in properly writing the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines, by these as I said before: people in the country without social wealth who have been able to make it to national recognition. Much obliged, Mr. Speaker. [Applause]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, North Central.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to pay my respects to two persons who died recently. The first, police officer Kingsley John, who died in an incident with another police officer, Rohan Mc Dowall who has since been charged with an offence connected to homicide. The outpouring of sympathy for Kingsley John would attest to his worth and merit in the Police Force and in his community; and as a son to his dear parents and his role as a father to his young child. Mr. Speaker, I have known Kingsley John’s parents for quite a long time and I also knew Kingsley. I visited the John’s family on the day before the funeral; I was unable to attend the funeral because of other prior commitments of state and my wife who would normally represent me in a personal capacity as distinct from my official was out of state8but my Ministry was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Pompey and certainly by the Commissioner of Police and several police officers. And the Parliamentary Representative for North Windward Montgomery Daniel represented the Government and the Party which I have the honour to lead.Mr. Speaker, I cannot describe the pain and anguish the parents have suffered. It is an only son, he is in his prime, he was a splendid example to the young men in the community, in the SSU and in the Police Force. Like his parents, he was a devout Christian. In fact, when I went to see them on the Friday I had returned from Mount St Benedict the day before from a day of prayer and I had received several of these bracelets with the Christ and Saints on them, and I took the one I had on and gave it to Mrs. John and she accepted it.Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to the Honourable Attorney General and I have given certain instructions. Rohan Mc Dowall is presumed innocent as all persons who are tried with any criminal offences; but there is a civil side of the matter and I have instructed the Honourable Attorney General to examine the matter from a civil standpoint with a view to making arrangements for compensation to those who are dependents of Kingsley John, without in anyway prejudicing the criminal matter.The mother is an elderly woman and who has difficulty with her sight and she has been dependent on Kingsley, he has a young child: the bread winner is gone. There are practical matters to be dealt with and I had so advised Mr. John when I went to see him and I had further advised him that if he were minded to have a Counsel of his own that is perfectly in order, and that he should give that consideration.Mr. Speaker, this is a most painful matter for me, I also know the Mc Dowall family. I know Rohan, the one who has been charged, I know the family from Diamond, Diamond is an area which I roamed as a boy and I tell you the truth as Minister of National Security it has been one of my more difficult moments over the last ten years; because it has been intermixed with all kinds of personal emotions. I pray that Kingsley John is in the bosom of Abraham and in the house of the Lord forever.Mr. Speaker, a good friend of mine and a very strong supporter of the Unity Labour Party from Park Hill, Neil Castello a businessman and shopkeeper passed away recently. He was a very good community man, good father, spouse, a decent and good human being. The Castello family is well known in the Park Hill Community; and it is a family which is very disciplined. There are many of them, those who are known more would be like Ms. Castello who used to work at ... until recently, at the Port Authority, Neff Castello who is the Principal of South Rivers Primary School and so on. They come from a hardworking family with a farming background but the young generations are good professionals in one way or the other; and Neil who straddles both the older generation and the younger and is really of my generation went into business and did a fine job. Unfortunately, I would be overseas when Neil’s funeral will take place and I so indicated to the family. But as always of course, I will be represented and his very dear friend Sir Vincent Beache has cut short his visit overseas to return for his funeral. I am really sorry about the passing of Neil, he has had a good life; may his soul rest in peace.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Ok.9CONGRATULATORY REMARKS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister for Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to congratulate the Institute of Professional Development, formally Professional Secretarial Institute. This Institute was established in January of 1992 by Camille Crichton. This year’s CXC Examination Results are as follows:-   In English (A) they got 100% passes [Applause]   In Math 75%.   Office Administration 100%.   Principles of Business 100%.   Principles of Accounts 100%. Those who did Typing and Word Processing, they are still awaiting results. Mr. Speaker, I must hasten to add that these young women fall in the following categories:-   Some of them are former Secondary School dropouts   Some of them are unwed teenage mothers.   Some are behaviourally challenged young adults.   Many would have been unsuccessful secondary school students. To date, the records have showed that over 300 persons have graduated from IPD with a number of past students furthering their studies at the University of the West Indies and other universities. And most recently, one of IPD’s past students is attending St George’s University in Grenada pursuing medicine; congratulations once again. [Applause] Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members I turn now to the CSEC students 2010. I would like to preface my remarks, Mr. Speaker, by quoting from Vidiadhar Niapaul in his book: ‘A Bend in the River’, and I quote:- “The world is what it is; men who are nothing who allow themselves to become nothing have no place in it”. I want to address the students, Mr. Speaker. My dear students it is indeed true that the world is what it is, what is also true is that the world and the future are for those who choose to own it. Those who choose to dedicate their time and talents to hard work and conscientious study are ensuring thereby that they will have a place in the world. However, those who do not study and engage with their school work will be nothing and will have no place in the world. That is also a choice but is the poorest of choices and must be avoided at all cost if we are to develop our beautiful country and its citizens. The Ministry of Education heartily congratulates those students who through hard work and dedication were able to reap success in the recently concluded CXC, CSEC Examinations. Congratulations are due to you, your parents, your teachers, your community and all of those persons who in their own way assisted you on your way page10image2287210to success. Those students who did not perform as well as expected are encouraged to redouble their efforts and apply themselves diligently to the task of preparing for either the January or June 2011 exams. Success is within the reach of all students; we at the Ministry of Education firmly believe this and are working assiduously to ensure that each student everywhere achieves success.We recognise that success often comes through endless hardship. In fact, many of the high flyers in this year’s examinations have experienced many challenges. I think it is safe to say that their success is all the more meaningful having come after such trials. There is a lesson to be learnt here, persistence in the face of adversity and stoicism when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges will build character and ensure that you do not become nothing in this world. You must ensure that you have a place in this world. At this point, Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the students, administration and staff of the schools which recorded pass rates above 50%. Those schools not in this category must conduct a self-assessment study and evaluation to arrive at solutions to the problems hampering success.Singled out for special mention are the three schools which entered students for the CSEC for the first time this year:-   The Buccament Bay Secondary School.   The George Stephen’s Senior Secondary.   The Thomas Saunders’ Secondary School. They recorded pass rates at 64%; 70% and 72% respectively [applause] among a total of 144 students. Congratulations to all of the persons involved in this success let the vision continue to grow for these students are the product of Universal Secondary Education. Students go forth and let your light shine; go forth with our blessings and find your place in this world for this is only the beginning. I will like to extend a special congratulation to those students who based on the preliminary results recorded outstanding performances: 1542 students from 25 secondary schools sat the examinations in 12,015 subject entries; the percentage pass rate of 69 represents a 3% increase over last year’s figure. Congratulations on this accomplishment. [Applause] We would now like to see steady improvements in the quality of the passes and improved performance in profiles such as comprehension, expression, application and computation. Work on enhancing your higher order thinking skills so that you will be able to critically analyse, synthesize and evaluate whatever material you are given. Students, I leave you with a few thoughts, the world is what it is; ensure that you have a place in the world; that you become something, for the future is for those who own it. The future lies before you like a field of driven snow be careful how you thread it for every step will show. Congratulations once again and may God bless us all. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Senator McKie. HONOURABLE CECIL MCKIE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to extend congratulations to a number of sporting organisations and associations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, which would have made us proud over the last weeks. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, something phenomenal has been taking place in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the field of sport as in the case of education; maybe it is a sporting revolution that is taking place. [Applause] 11Over the past two weeks, Mr. Speaker, three associations would have hosted mega activities right here in St Vincent. Indeed, St Vincent and the Grenadines - we are quickly becoming the sport hosting capital of the Caribbean.First of all, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association recently hosted the West Indies Female Cricket Competition, eight teams from throughout the region participated; and happily St Vincent and the Grenadines one of the tiniest nation we were able to come out in second position [applause]. Congratulations are therefore in order to both the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, as well as the female cricket team. While that was taking place, Mr. Speaker, St Vincent and the Grenadines also hosted the Senior Caribbean Squash Championship right here in St Vincent and that tournament was also very successfully hosted by the Squash Association and I want to extend congratulations to them as well.At the same time, Mr. Speaker, St Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association hosted the ITA Tournament for under 14 and under 18 youngsters from throughout the region and further afield. For a small country like ours to have attracted players from Italy, Russia, Germany, India, the USA, Canada and several Caribbean territories: eighteen in all I think speaks volumes of what St Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer; and I want to congratulate the Tennis Association for doing a marvellous job.I would also like to extend congratulations to the Table Tennis Association as well as the Athletic Association for successfully hosting coaching programmes at the level one and the new level two levels respectfully, for table tennis as well as athletics. And I also want to extend congratulations to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation for finally being able to move forward with their goal project; a lot I am sure we will hear from them in due course as they move forward with that project.Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be a part of a government being placed as Minister of State in the Ministry of Sports, to have provided the necessary financing to ensure that the facilities throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines are brought up to a standard so that we can host these competitions; and more so for the funding that we have put in to the development of our sportsmen and women throughout the length and breadth of this country. I am sure that as the demands increase, which they are; we will continue to provide upgraded facilities as we go forward to allow the continued development of the sportsmen and women and of the nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Congratulations once more to all of these associations. [Applause]CONFIRMATION OF THE MINUTES DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move thatthe Minutes of the Sitting of this Honourable House held on the 5th August, 2010 be confirmed.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: You have corrections? Could we ...HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: At the bottom of page No. (2): “Carnival Development Committee” should be ‘Corporation’; at the bottom of page No. (3): that should be Wednesday 25th November, 2009. We have not gotten yet to 2010. And I think there was one other, Mr. Speaker; I hope I have marked it. No! It was correct. that is it, Mr. Speaker. [Inaudible]page12image2766412HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: I second the Motion. Question put and agreedMinutes confirmed with amendmentsSTATEMENT BY MINISTERS HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister of Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, it is with great anticipation that the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College moves into the academic year. This year all systems are in place for the implementation of several of the initiatives that will see the College take its place as one of the finest tertiary educational institutions in the region. These new programmes take into consideration the educational and training needs of the country based on the Labour Market Research conducted by Trevor Hamilton and Associates in April 2010, as well as surveys carried out by the College itself.One of the most exciting set of activities is the introduction of educational programmes in the various communities across the country. And these include: the introduction of classes to prepare individuals to write examinations at the CSEC level thus making themselves eligible to matriculate into the College’s regular programmes; the introduction of technical vocational classes to equip unemployed individuals with skills useful for obtaining employment in areas of need.Mr. Speaker, apart from the outreach programmes in the Community, the College is also instituting new programmes in its divisions. For example, in the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies, formally the A Level College: Associate Degrees in five areas will be started. These areas are Business Studies, Law, Psychology, Computer Science and Information Technology. These programmes will run in the evenings from 4:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. to facilitate their targeted audience; and that is employed people who wish to upgrade their qualifications or obtained new qualifications. Over 70 applications were received thus far from individuals who are interested in the Associate Degrees that I have just mentioned.Students at the Division of Technical and Vocational Education, formally the Technical College, will also see a transformation of the programmes that they will be pursuing. All of the traditional certificate programmes have been converted to Associate Degrees; thus rather than traditional certificate courses students will now have the opportunity to earn the more prestigious Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Auto Mechanics, Building Construction, Agriculture, Hospitality and several strands of Business Studies.Offering these programmes as Associate Degrees gives greater currency to the qualification that the students will obtain. Like graduates from all of the Community Colleges in the Eastern Caribbean, holders of the SVG CC Associate Degrees from the Division of Arts, Science, General Studies and the Division of Technical and Vocational Education will be eligible to matriculate into the University of the West Indies, since these programmes confirm to the format acceptable for the University’s requirements. This is indeed a forward movepage13image2326413since the traditional certificates were not accepted for matriculation by the University of the West Indies. Along with the Associate Degrees the Division of Technical and Vocational Education will provide opportunities for its graduates to be assessed for the Caribbean vocational qualification or what we refer to as the CVQ. CVQ’s are recognized qualifications that allow recipients to be acknowledged as having marketable skills hence making them employable as skilled Caricom Nationals across the Region.The Division of Teacher Education is also making some strides in widening its programmes. From September this division will be adding an additional programme to the list of programmes that it already delivers in collaboration with the University of the West Indies; the Association Degree in Education or the teaching of Technical and Vocational Education with specializations in Home Economics and Industrial Arts. Eighteen teachers will be trained in this first cohort.This year the College is pleased to have established partnerships with other regional institutions to deliver Bachelor Degrees here in our country. Thus from September, the Division of Teacher Education will be offering a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Guidance and Counselling in partnership with the Jamaican Theological Seminary. It will also be offering a Bachelor of Education Degree in conjunction with the UWI Cave Hill Campus, with concentration in two areas: Language and Literacy Education and the Mathematics Education.It is anticipated that the Degree in Guidance and Counselling will help to prepare teachers to address some of the challenges that are rising up in schools and in the wider society. While Language, Literacy and Mathematics Education will provide those pursuing these courses of study with knowledge and skills useful for improving pedagogy in these two vital areas in our schools. Thirty-eight students have been accepted to study Guidance and Counselling; 40 for Language and Literacy Education; and 37 for Mathematics Education.In terms of its intake this year, the College is expected to welcome approximately 700 new students across the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies and the Division of Technical and Vocational Education. [Applause] It is expected that about 400 will be admitted into Arts, Sciences and General Studies and about 300 in Technical and Vocational Education.In order to ensure that all students have access to its resources the College Library like the College itself will open from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Apart from extending opening hours, the resources in the Library are being upgraded; resources to the tune of about $400,000 have been acquired. For a College in such early stages of its establishment there are many exciting and forward moving initiatives in progress and on the way. We encourage citizens and residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines to take full advantage of all of these and equip themselves to play a meaningful role in local and regional development. Mr. Speaker, I am obliged [applause].HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, it is my duty as Minister of Legal Affairs to make a statement regarding the current status of matters relating to the Boundaries Commission arising from a recent court decision. Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members would recall that an Act of parliament, No. (6) 2010, amended Section 32 (1) of the Constitution by increasing the number of constituencies from 15 to 17. As a consequence of Act No (6) of 2010 and pursuant to Section 32 (2) of the14Constitution, on May 4th, 2010 His Excellency the Governor General appointed Mr. Aldric Williams as Chairman of the Boundaries Commission and acting on the advice of the Prime Minister appointed Mr. Arthur Williams as a member of the Commission. On May 21st seventeen days later His Excellency acting on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition appointed Mr. Selwyn Jones as a member of the Commission.On July 9th the Chairman and Mr. Arthur Williams signed an order pursuant to Section 33 (4) of the Constitution in which the boundaries of six existing constituencies on the island of St Vincent were altered to create two new constituencies. One of the constituencies so altered is the constituency of East Kingstown of which the applicant before the Court, Mr. Arnhim Eustace is the present Parliamentary Representative. Mr. Arnhim Eustace is also the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Parliament. Mr. Speaker, from time to time given the narrative I may use Mr. Eustace rather than the Leader of the Opposition in the manner in which he was presented before the Court. On July 8th, the applicant Mr. Eustace before the Court filed a Constitutional Motion against the Attorney General and the Constituency Boundaries Commission hereinafter called the Commission in which several declarations and a permanent injunction was sought. The applicant also applied for an interim injunction pending the hearing of the Constitutional Motion.On July 9th the Court granted the applicant an ex parte injunction prohibiting the Respondents by themselves, their agents, servants or persons subject to their control authority or direction from publishing an order in the Official Gazette which delineates or demarcates the Boundaries for the additional two constituencies pursuant to Section 33 (6) of the Constitution. The return date was fixed for July 12th, 2010, on the 12th, July the matter was adjourned for hearing on the 27th and 28th July, 2010. Mr. Speaker, as a consequence of that hearing an interlocutory order was made on August 24th, 2010 by Her Ladyship Justice Gertel Thom. It was ordered by the learned Judge as follows:- a. That an injunction is hereby granted restraining the Commission, its servants or agents from publishing or causing the order made by the Commission and dated 9th July, 2010 which delineated and demarcated the Boundaries for the additional two constituencies until the trial of this matter. b. The Commission will pay the Applicant costs in the sum of $5,000. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, it is important that I explain the nature of the proceedings before the learned Judge. It was not a trial; it was an interim or interlocutory proceeding, therefore all that was required for the Applicant Mr. Eustace to show was that a triable issue exists which would go to trial. He had to do no more than that. Now, a triable issue is not a particularly difficult thing to prove, in fact, it is in law and in evidence a fairly simple thing to do; therefore, once Mr. Selwyn Jones said anything different in his affidavit to either the Chairman of the Commission or Mr. Arthur Williams a trial issue will arise. This is because there is not sufficient or indeed no cross-examination before the learned Judge at that time to enable her to decide who she believes or who she should not believe. So, establishing a serious issue to be tried is not a huge hurdle for an applicant to scale. It is as you would say on the street: not really a big thing.The Leader of the Opposition as applicant, Mr. Eustace raised a number of issues in his case against the Attorney General and the Boundaries Commission. At the commencement of the hearings Mr. Eustace applied15for permission to have the Attorney General removed as a Party. The learned Judge granted the order and the Attorney General played no further part in the proceedings. Shortly thereafter, the Attorneys for Mr. Eustace Ms. Nicole Sylvester and Ms. K. Bacchus Browne performed what perhaps one may call a forensic somersault and informed the High Court that they had no intention of complying with Her Ladyship’s order to remove the Attorney General. At paragraph (22) of her ruling which, Mr. Speaker, I will get a copy for this Honourable House, paragraph (22) of her ruling the learned Judge said:-“The Applicant Meaning Mr. Eustaceought not to be permitted to recant from the position that was adopted on July 27th, 2010. This is an important ruling by the Honourable Judge.Recant is a strong word.The inference is that Mr. Eustace and his Attorneys were attempting to retract from their representations to the Court, normal citizens may make their judgment on that matter”.The learned Judge however proceeded to reject a significant part of Mr. Eustace’s case which included the case that a census was required before a review of the boundaries. The Judge also disagreed with Mr. Eustace and agreed with the Commission that the Commission had in fact used the 2001 Census to determine population figures and densities. This is an important finding because Mr. Eustace sought to persuade the High Court that there was no census and that the Commission had not used the 2001 Census report. Again ordinary people may draw what inferences they may wish to be drawn from this particular ruling. The Judge however held that there was a serious issue to be tried in respect of the dominant consideration and purpose of the Commission. This means that while the Judge accepted that the majority had used the 2001 Census contrary to Mr. Eustace’s allegations, the evidence before also suggested that the majority may have, I repeat, may have used the Voters List, the Election Report of 2005: the so call election documents in deciding to alter the boundaries.The Judge ruled that these election documents were irrelevant in view of Mr. Jones’s evidence. There was a conflict on the evidence which created a serious issue to be tried in relation to the dominant consideration and purpose of the majority of the Commission. This particular ruling provides very helpful and useful information, Mr. Speaker, and there is guidance for all of us. It in essence tells the Commission, the Government and citizens of this nation what ought to be considered and not considered by the Boundaries Commission; whatever may have been our views before the ruling was delivered. The Judge also held that the Commission has the obligation to publish the order in the Gazette and that unless publication takes place the work of the Commission is incomplete. This is also a very important ruling, very important. As I understand it, this ruling means that the work of the Commission is not complete.Now, what is the way forward? Simply, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines accepts the ruling of the learned Judge Ms Gertel Thom; I have said that already on a programme last Tuesday night. The ruling has provided useful guidelines for the Government and no doubt for the Commission. It will now be up to the Commission to decide on what the next step or the way forward if any will there be. I am obliged.16REPORTS FROM SELECT COMMITTEES HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member for South Central.HONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the Select Committee that dealt with the two Church Bills: the Full in the Spirit Pentecostal Church Bill (incorporated Bill) 2010 and the Community Baptist Church Bill 2010, that Committee met on Thursday 19th August and some minor adjustments were made to the Bills as is seen here on the Report. I now have the pleasure Mr. Speaker of submitting this Report for the continuance of the incorporation of these two entities.PETITIONSHONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: By understanding Mr. Speaker, I am also bringing the Petition of the Green Hill Pentecostal Church. It is coming here for incorporation as a body, and the Petition is in order signed here by Hermon Cummings of Green Hill as Pastor Trustee, Natalie Cummings, Vice President Trustee, Princess Cummings, Thelma Sergeant, Christiana Thorne, Sylvester Edwards and Tameisha Thorne. It is the regular petition, Mr. Speaker and it will go through the process of incorporation as it passes through the House. I now present this also for incorporation.QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERSDR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: May I? Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Minister of Health is being held up in Jamaica because of hurricane but I do have the answers to his questions, I just want to make an excuse for him. And the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister is in Taiwan at the moment and will shortly be going off to Japan to a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean with the Foreign Ministry in Japan.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Question No. (1) Honourable Leader of the Opposition. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition, to ask the Honourable Minister of Health andEnvironment:-1. Could the Honourable Minister please indicate what action so far has been taken by the Ministry with reference to the Auditor’s Report on the Cuban Integrated Program?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister for Minister of Health.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, first of all the Government and the Ministry of Health and the Environment we take the Report of the Director of Audit most seriously. The Permanent Secretary has been working on a detailed response to the Report. As it is known, thepage17image20016 page17image20176 page17image2033617Permanent Secretary is the Accounting Officer for the Ministry. It is also clear from the Report that the Director of Audit made no reference whatsoever to any malfeasance on the part of any political person. Indeed it is important to note that the Director of Audit on the basis of the facts which are before her, she pointed out where there were errors in procedure and where there were breaches of the Rules and Regulations and the Laws. A number of recommendations have been made and the Ministry is of course in those cases where they are clearly wrong that those recommendations would be followed because they are largely to ensure that the functioning takes place within the Rules, Regulations and Laws. At the same time I have been advised by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health that he is preparing a detailed response to the Report.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary? He cannot ... is this a supplementary? HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Yes. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: He cannot. HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I just wanted to find out whether there is a timeframe. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay, alright. That depends on the Supplementary. HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I was simply seeking some indication of a timeframe for a response.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: In fact, when I was so advised I asked the Permanent Secretary ... he said that he expects that by the beginning of next week he will have the Report typed up and sent to me.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (2) Honourable Leader of the Opposition. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition, to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Ministerof Finance, Economic Development, Information, Grenadines and Legal Affairs:With reference to the $100 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Government:-2. What are the main terms and conditions associated with that loan?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Finance. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the main terms and conditions are asfollows:-1. The terms: the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines shall repay the Loan Account in 60 equal quarterly instalments commencing five years from the date of the Loan Agreement.2. Interest shall be paid on the principal quarterly: at a rate of 4.5%. 18 3. A commitment charge of 1% per annum shall be paid quarterly to the CDB on the amount of the loan un-withdrawn. 4. The date up to which the loan may be disbursed is November 30th, 2010. The loan is to be used to extinguish the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines indebtedness to the National Commercial Bank in relation to the following list of public sector credit facilities. National Fisheries Market. Accountant General’s Special. The Accountant General. SVG Postal Corporation. The Kingstown Town Board. The National Broadcasting Corporation. Housing and Land Development Corporation. The Port Authority. The Arrow Root Association. The Carnival Development Corporation. National Properties Limited. The conditions are that the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines shall:- 1. Ensure that the NCB furnish to the CDB statements showing final balance of each of the public sector loans stated above. 2. Provide to CDB an agreement between the Government and one or more third parties providing for the acquisition of all or part of the Government’s shareholding in NCB, within such timeframe as may be acceptable to the CDB. 3. Carry out the divestment of the CDB and conduct its affairs at all times with due diligence and efficiency. The usual ones [interjection] yes, National Commercial Bank [interjection] Eh! No! NCB, Oh! I apologize. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary? Supplementary question.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: I believe by way of a clarification, the very fourth term that you mentioned, you mentioned something “in terms of date of disbursement”. I did not quite get that.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: 30th November. 19HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: That is the final date of disbursement. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: That is the date. If we need to have any extension, asyou will appreciate we will go back to the CDB.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Yea. I just want to know what the terms ...DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Because that is what we are contemplating that the current stage of the discussion and all the agreements should be concluded by then. I myself am anxious to carry out this particular public policy which is within the Eight Point Stabilization and Growth Program of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (3). Honourable Leader of the Opposition.3. The Honourable Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition to ask the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Planning, National Security, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:-Could the Honourable Prime Minister please indicate why it was necessary for the St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority to give up revenue from container storage and heavy-lift charges, in order to settle the issue of the Tug Service Surcharge?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I want to, in answering, provide both the context and the text for the answer, because it is important as a policy issue to understand the context. The Port Authority management with the support from the Council was able to negotiate and arrive at a mutually beneficial position regarding the Tug Service Surcharge with the Caribbean Shippers Association: the CSA. Regarding the Agreement reached, no one or two items should be taken out and looked at in isolation. One of the major benefits gained was the forging of a partnership between the CSA and the Port Authority to develop and implement (the CSA being the Caribbean Shippers Association) a free alongside ship (FAS) billing system. The FAS means that the seller fulfills his obligation to deliver when the goods have been placed alongside the vessel on the Cay at the named port of shipment. This means that the buyer has to bear all costs from that moment.The benefits of this partnership are countless. The CSA members are involved in shipping for more than twenty years in the Caribbean and the South American basin. The experience and advice that they would be bringing to the Port as this new system is being designed and implemented cannot be realised from any one consultant. So, it is very important to understand that. What are the advantages of the FSA system? The buyer/importer has control over the mode of transport and the shipping documents: therefore, he has the majority of control over the merchandise.20   The buyer/importer can select most economic transport options available.   The system minimizes currency lost due to foreign exchange and   The buyer/importer can decide on the level of insurance necessary. The FAS (Free Alongside Ship) System will be of tremendous benefits to local importers. Container Storage: Container storage is a fee that is collected for containers that have been on the Ports compound after a specified period. This sum is monies that one hopes to get but there is no guarantee that it would become a reality. Should shipping lines be able to operate at a level of efficiency then the financial returns for excess charge for empty containers storage will be minimal. A comparison of the countries and the free storage period and rates are as follows:-   In St Lucia (and I am giving the EC dollars per day) $5.00 per day and there is a free storage period for 30 days.   Grenada: $15.00 per day, no mentioning in the tariff of free storage period.   Antigua: $20.00 per day, with 21 free storage period days.   Barbados: (well it is graduated not a flat figure) 45 days free storage period.   St Vincent and the Grenadines $10.00 with 14 days free storage period.   Trinidad and Tobago has a system whereby agents enter into an agreement with the Port Authority to arrive at a duration and number of free days based on a number of boxes moved annually. A reduction of 50% in the local rate still places the Port Authority on par with St Lucia rate; however, the SVG Port Authority will be collecting fees some 16 calendar days before they do. On analysis the Port Authority in St Vincent with the reduction is well within industry standards. Heavy lift charge: The Tariff of the Port Authority has been considered for review for some time now. In fact, it has been sent to the Office of the Attorney General for consideration. The heavy lift charge mentioned can be traced back to St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority Regulation found in Volume (8) of the Laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines Cap. 373, booklet (3) clause (34) sub clause (4) which reads:- “Extra charges for container and heavy lift This is what it says:- Cargo which is shipped in containers or heavy lift receptacles to the Port will be assessed with additional terminal handling charges on the following basis; container and heavy lift with a weight of:- 21   3-5 tons $30.00   5-10 tons $50.00   Above 10 tons $100”. This fee has been discussed at various levels. The shipping lines have stated on many occasions that they were of the opinion that the charge was outdated. A Port Consultant hired to review the Ports operations made the following remarks in regard to the fee. “The separate heavy lift charges for weights as low as 3 tons is seen as an inappropriate charge for modern day operations and sends confusing signals to the shipping community”. He went on to state in his recommendations:- “The Tariff should be kept under continual review and analysis to ensure that timely interventions are made”. Given the above mentioned the Port Authority Council had asked the management to carefully review the invoice into the Agents; a decision on these charges was always in the making. These charges of fees have been in place since the percentage of containerized cargo coming into the country was less than or about 10% at a time when the Port was not in possession of any container handling units (CHU’s). Handling of containers by the Port was not the norm at that time and at such an extra charge was deemed necessary. Containerized cargo has since increased by above 50% of all cargo moved through the Port and much higher if bulk cargo is taken out. The Port now has three container handling units and a mobile harbour crane. The standard method of cargo shipping is now by containers. The Port Authority now charges a fee for the rental of the Container Handling Unit to maneuver containers. The extra heavy lift fee was an additional fee that is in the Tariff; by no longer placing this charge on the invoice the Port is ensuring that only the relevant fees to the current modern operations are passed on to the agents. In other words, it was a form of charge which was at a much earlier stage before you had full containerization, and there has been another charge for the CHU; the (Container Handling Units) to maneuver the containers. Now, it is hoped that with these two changes and these ... the Port Authority had always wanted to address this, well at least since I became Minister and it was before the Attorney General that these two changes that are clearly beneficial to the agents and local importers and exporters; the Port would have created a more favourable business environment. It is also envisioned that the benefits would be passed to the common man on the streets. Now the way in which I provided the context and all the issues which were settled with the Caribbean Ship Owners Association, one can see that the Port Authority management with the support of the Council made good sense in relation to these two matters. 22HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary question.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, I understand the text and the context. The question, what I want to know given the fact that the Tug Charge was reduced to US $1000 it is still higher than the Tug Charges in the neighbouring islands and I am wondering why the Port choose to give up revenue rather than putting the Tug Charge more in line with the other countries in the Caribbean?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, the question of the extent of the Tug Charges that is a matter the Honourable Leader of the Opposition knows to be an issue in real dispute and that has been answered several times by the Chairman of the Port Authority, the Private Operators and everybody. So that is not a question which is accepted as being correct. I restate the point that I made:-“Here are two charges which are involved in making the operations cheaper at the Port”.They are making the operations cheaper and the Leader of the Opposition is complaining. In a context where certainly one of the charges was completely anachronistic and the other charge is in line with the competition elsewhere; that is the answer.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (4) Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines. 4. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday, Northern Grenadines, to ask the Honourable Minister ofEducation:- a. What is the overall percentage of passes in the 2010 Common Entrance Examinations; b. Are you satisfied with the results and; c. What do you intend to do to improve the Primary Schools that performed poorly or below the national average? HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister responsible for Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Part (a):In 2010 - 2,161 students sat the Common entrance Examination, of these 1,245 were successful; this represents a pass rate of 57.61%. Mr. Speaker, I want to give a little insight into the results over the past two decades in five-year cycles.   In 1990 - 2,436 candidates sat - 707 passed.   In 1995 - 2,987 candidates sat - 1,256 passed.   In 2000 - 2,558 candidates sat - 789 passed. 23 In 2005 - 3,396 students sat - 1,176 passed.  In 2010 - 2,161 students sat -1,245 candidates passed: giving us apercentage of 57.61% passing.(b) Are you satisfied with the results?Mr. Speaker, while it is desirable that all students meet the established standard and demonstrate mastery or at the very best, at the very least, competence in literacy and numeracy the reality is that some of our students do not. There is still some ground to cover. We are heartened that 11% of the students scored 80% or more of the total marks; however, we would like to see a greater proportion scoring at least half of the marks on [inaudible]. The Ministry of Education recognizes that certain key skills are either weak or absent among a number of students, consequently further strategies are being devised to foster the development of these skills and I refer to decoding, comprehension, grammar and the mechanics for improved student performance.(c) What do you intend to do to improve the primary schools that performed poorly or below the national average?Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I am pleased to report that the Ministry of Education has renewed its focus on school inspection and the supervision which has a very critical dimension of self-assessment and involves great emphasis on school development plan, as well as standards and quality assurance in education. The school inspection will result in greater monitoring and supervision of schools by the Head Teachers and the senior management teams to ensure that proper planning and delivery of lessons take place. Additionally, provision has been made for the appointment of graduates in the primary schools after the extensive training of Head Teachers in Educational Administration and of teachers in literacy and numeracy. It is time to consolidate and hold teachers accountable so as to ensure that they deliver.Greater emphasis is being placed on the nature, quality and frequency of assessments. Head Teachers have conducted professional development sessions on assessment procedures to have Teachers focus on lesson planning, delivery and assessment for learning. The testing and the measurement procedures currently employed include baseline data collected at the Kindergarten level. At grades 2 and 4 students sit a national test which provides data on their performance. These data are then used to inform the Teachers classroom practice addressing students learning needs.The socio-economic factors which impact on students learning are not neglected. In conjunction with its sister ministries, the Ministry of Education places great emphasis on the School Feeding Programme, we work along with the Ministry of Health with the dietary guidelines because even now we find that some of our students are diabetics or hypertensive, so we are trying our best with the meals.Subsidised transportationWe are trying to help out the poor and the marginalized. Our Counsellors are being trained more and more. In the vacation, the Ministry of National Mobilisation successfully carried out the CAP Programme. Honourablepage24image2487224Member, I want to point you to the Bequia Anglican Primary School and you know how nice it is; so you can see that we are really trying in the Grenadines.Improvement of education through the use of ICT under the ninth EDF Project. There is extensive training of teachers in the use and development of curricula material and ICT in the delivery of content across the Curriculum. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education is trying, long live the Education Revolution. [Knocking of desk and applause]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. ...DR. THE HONOURABLE GODWIN FRIDAY: Mr. Speaker, just ... I would have preferred if the Honourable Minister had mentioned Paget Farm Primary School because that is the one where critical intervention is needed.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (5) Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines. 5. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday, Northern Grenadines, to ask the Honourable Minister ofEducation:-For several years now there have been requests by school officials for the fencing of the Bequia Anglican High School grounds and fencing wire was even procured for this purpose some years ago, yet the project has not been done:Does the Government intend to follow through on this project of fencing and securing the Bequia Anglican High School compound and, if so, when?HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Minister for Education.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education indeed procured some fencing wire and a few poles for the purpose of fencing the compound of the Bequia Anglican High School, however, when the school was assessed retaining walls were required in order to have the fencing properly completed. The findings of a more detailed assessment which was subsequently conducted indicated that a more comprehensive rehabilitation programme would have to be undertaken given the condition of the entire facility. At that time also, government was embarking on a significant project to replace the Bequia Anglican Primary School, the school was replaced at a total cost of $6,684,905.80 with project financing via a Caribbean Development Bank loan and government of St Vincent and the Grenadines counterpart financing. This project was completed in 2008 and the new school was officially opened on June 23rd, 2009.BRAGSA has recently completed an assessment of the facility and it is expected that in our Capital Estimates 2011, we will include the figure submitted by BRAGSA under the upgrading of school’s premises project. Provided that approval is given we can look forward to 2011 when work will commence on the Secondary School. I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.page25image2225625HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. (6) Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines. 6. Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday (Northern Grenadines)), asked the Honourable Minister ofTourism:In remarks recently made in this house, the Honourable Minister noted that his government plans to repair and develop the waterfront walkway at Belmont Bequia (in the area of Green Boley and Mac’s Pizzeria restaurants): a. Will the Minister please state what specifically the government intends to do; and b. When the project will commence and in particular whether it will be done soon (given the danger to the public now posed by the existing broken walkway), before the start of the upcoming tourist season. HONOURABLE SENATOR GLEN BEACHE: Mr. Speaker, as I have said at the previous sitting of this Honourable House, this is something that National Parks would be dealing with. They have to get the design for it and this is something they will be putting forth in their Budget Proposals for 2011. On that note Mr. Speaker, it would probably start sometime next year after our budget is completed.7. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), asked the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works:The road in Green Hill from the hard court leading into residences of Albert Foster, Cauldric Fraser Sr., Uncle Frank Da Silva and others is in a terrible state of repairs almost becoming unmotorable.When can motorist and pedestrians in this area expect some relief.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, I stand willing and reading this morning to respond to this question by the Honourable Opposition Senator given that matters of road repair and road development are uppermost on the agenda of this ULP administration and those matters reside within my portfolio. Mr. Speaker, it is evident that an enormous amount of work is in progress by the officials at the Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority, BRAGSA. At this very moment work is going on to address the road network in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and I would wish, Mr. Speaker, to take this golden opportunity to thank the staff at BRAGSA for their diligence and dedication to duty because without their response efforts to which the entire nation has now become accustomed, the policies of this ULP administration as they relate to road, repair and road development will come to naught.Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the Honourable Senator and this Honourable House that the main portion of road was identified by my staff with the corresponding assessment done, however, given the need to prioritize road repair and road development in our blessed land, it was not initially placed on the required26agreed list of works to be done during this fiscal year. Mr. Speaker, my officials however, received numerous complaints from residents and other users of the named portion of road and by way of response, a decision was taken to revisit it and the necessary works has been rescheduled.Mr. Speaker, I am therefore delighted to inform the Honourable House and the Honourable Senator that the required works will be implemented within the coming months prior to the end of this fiscal year and permit me, Mr. Speaker, to say also that the identified scope of works entails repairs to the asphalt surface measuring 482 by 16 feet wide with an estimated costs of approximately $90,000. I am much obliged.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary? HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: No, grateful to the Honourable Minister for his response. So Iunderstood it to be before November or by the end of November.8. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), asked the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Information, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:The Ministry of Finance voted $2.5 million for the further payment of the Ju-C building: a. how much of this has been paid; b. how much of the capital budget has been spent to date; c. how much is projected to be spent by November 30th 2010. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I take that I am only being required to answer (a) in light of rule Standing Order 20(1) (e), no more than one subject be refer to in any one question and a question shall not be made of excessive length. There is more than one question here.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Member, when this question came to me and they were reviewed I think we had discussed that the Minister..., as a matter of fact, I have a question mark next to it that the Member be informed that he was asking two different questions. I do not know if that information got to him. [Interjection] no, it did not. There were two different questions, so I think the Member is quite correct. He is only required to answer one question since I view these as two different questions. I would have thought that this information might have gotten to him.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, in an earlier period I would have let it go by, but my Honourable friend is in here now for quite a long time and if you are playing cricket or football you need to know the rules.Mr. Speaker, may I just make the point in passing that the Ministry of Finance did not vote $2.5 million. The Ministry of Finance cannot vote monies, Parliament votes monies. It would be under the heading of the Ministry of Finance which is an entirely different matter altogether.27Mr. Speaker, if I may just speak, you see a little bit about this Ju-C building. This building was bought for $6.325 million; this building is at the entrance of our city on the Eastern side. It is very important that we have a structure there and we do things which are uplifting and in which our people can feel a certain sense of pride and that there be functionality and utility.Mr. Speaker, that building was purchased to make sure that the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have a building like that at least to have an imposing building at the entrance to the city and similarly to be able to do something with the roadway. It is the only place that I know, I believe, save and except somewhere in St. Georges in Grenada a very peculiar thing, you have to go and stop in a square for one set of vehicles to go this way and another set. What you really need up there is a proper round-about which we intend to do in our third term. But you are not going to be able to do unless you own the Ju-C building, at least that property to assist you and to be able to design the building accordingly. Now I give that by way of explanation.Mr. Speaker, the National Properties which is a wholly state owned company has paid the $6.325 million. The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had agreed as a contribution to reimburse a $2.5 million, it has not done so as yet, but it will do so in due course. The State, the Central Government and the State Entity (National Properties), we have several relationships with different pieces of properties and it is a matter which between the shareholder which is the state which owns the Government and which owns National Properties that it will be resolved.The important thing is that it is bought and paid for already and we are renting it currently to LIME and the rent is helping to pay for the building until National Properties is ready to carry out the works which are required to be carried out and which will be done in relation to the roadway also. I am obliged.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, if you may permit me, in the previous question you quite rightfully drew my attention to the House Rules and you have constantly been reminding us that questions are not the pretext for debate, my simple question was how much in the answer that they have not paid the money.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Also, while you make that intervention I must also remind you that questions cannot be of excessive length either, right, thank you.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, you see how well we are doing on our home stretch Mr. Speaker [laughter]. It might well be our last session to do these things, Mr. Speaker.9. Major the Honourable St. Clair Leacock (Opposition Senator), asked the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Information, Legal and Grenadines Affairs:It has been reported that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) advised that the policeman involved in the shooting of his colleague Kingsley John be arrested for murder. It is also claimed that the said police was taken into custody by the CID only to be removed by members of the SSU who threatened the regular Force with retaliatory action.What intervention did you as Minister of National Security make in this matter to save further feuding between elements of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.28DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, again, if my Honourable friend will read the rules, you will see why the rules have been framed in which they are. This whole question is based on a tissue of lies and that is why, it says, contents of question, Standing Order 20(1) hold on Mr. Speaker, I will get the specific reference, just bear with me. Yes, Mr. Speaker, (c) if a question contains a statement of fact, the member asking it shall make himself responsible for the accuracy of the statement and no question shall be based upon a newspaper report or upon an unofficial publication. The report to which he refers is a newspaper report; the claim is in a newspaper. You get a lot of things come on Nice Radio and Shelly Clark will report them as though they are truth, other people would do that too.I raise the question therefore, Mr. Speaker, and I say in passing, it is a tissue of lies, but the point is this, I await your ruling as to whether I should answer it, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Well, maybe it might be in the interest of the public to get the truth in relation this question if you know that as you have indicated there, it is a tissue of lies and maybe of the truth thereof. I am sure it would be very useful to the public if you would.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, May I say this? The Prime Minister does not get involved in the issue of charging or not charging anybody. I stay completely out of that so that whether the Director of Public Prosecution advise or did not advise or what communication took place between them, I am not getting involved in that. If it is a matter which comes to my attention by way of the Attorney General or the Commissioner of Police, so be it.The question that it is claimed that there was some unauthorised removal, that is not true and I did not advise anybody to take back anybody anywhere. I do not know why they are bringing me involved in this and this is why, Mr. Speaker, I said that when they talk about reports and claims, they come out of newspapers and that is why the rules in Parliament say that you do not ask a question based on these things and therefore there is no feud, that is a matter of which I am concerned with Minister of National Security, there is absolutely no feud.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: All right, thank you very much.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: It is all the figment of Senator Leacock’s imagination, but then of course, he is a way of thinking that because he is a Major once upon a time in the Cadet Corps, he should be Commissioner of Police or Minister of National Security or direct who should be removed as Commissioner and who should be placed. He got himself in trouble about that already; I do not know why he is persistent.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you Honourable Prime Minister [laughter]. Should we continue? HONOURABLE MAJOR ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker..., HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question?HONOURABLE MAJOR ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Prime Minister alleges that my question was based on a tissue of lies which the numbers of reports in editorials and in all of the nation’s newspapers confirmed could not be a tissue of lies. There was an incident which occurred...,29HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Let me deal with it in the first case, because if you are going to involve the newspapers, then we are saying that the question is out of order. The question is out of order so do not say who say or who did not say.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: I will ask a supplementary question.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: If you have a supplementary question, ask that question.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: I am much obliged, Mr. Speaker.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker...,DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: If he Honourable Member gives way? Mr. Speaker, if a question is out of order, ab initio there can be no supplementary to it, it is out of order.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes, that is quite true. HONOURABLE ST. CLAIR LEACOCK: Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the answering of thesupplementary, Mr. Speaker [laughter].10. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator), asked the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment:There has been a lack of CAT scanner for the use of the population for quite some time. Would the Honourable Minister please state:a. how much has been invested by government directly and/or through a state agency for the procurement of this equipment; b. which state agency or agencies have or will be investing in same; and c. what is the level of investment of each. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES ON BEHALF OF THE HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I will try and keep my voice as low as I can so that I do not affect my throat which has a lot of work to do.Mr. Speaker, CT or CAT scans have been available in the region since the late 1980’s. Certainly from the early 1990’s they have been prevalent. I want to read the position of the Minister of Health, the NDP administration on 12th December 1996 regarding CAT scan.Mr. Speaker, this is in the Hansard, the Minister of Health at the time being Mrs. Yvonne Francis-Gibson. At the end of one paragraph in the speech when she was praising the Kingstown General Hospital, she said, and there was a criticism she said, “Yesterday we were hearing about having to go to St. Lucia or wherever for a30CAT scan and paying an amount of dollars, we have been looking at Chicago Hope and those movies on television, so we feel that it was an easy thing.” If you have a hospital you must have all the highfaluting in them. She is referring a CT scan as highfaluting equipment. This is 1996, but all these highfaluting equipment cost money and; therefore, it is more cost effective for our people especially under the shared services which we have with our sister islands. It is more cost effective for our people to go to St. Lucia or Barbados. For this because you see, really and truly, our people are really healthy and we do not have too many reasons to do a CAT scan in a year and therefore when I buy a piece of equipment like this for millions of dollars and then you have to get expertise to work it and then you have to have expertise material to use it and you have to have maintenance of that particular thing, it is more cost effective to do what we are doing.However, if by a stroke of luck or of whatever, we are able to come into quite a number of millions of dollars without interest and so on, then we probably can have a CAT scan and a number of other things and people have to be willing to pay for it. If we know that our people will be willing to pay the high cost of using that equipment here, then certainly, I am sure that our Government will ensure that it is here.”In other words the CAT scan for the NDP you see it on Chicago Hope on TV, a highfaluting piece of equipment, highfaluting, which ain’t got nothing to do with us here in St. Vincent, because we so healthy and by chance one or two people going need it, they will have to go to St. Lucia or Barbados, so no CT scan that is the NDP policy, because they never try to get one, so?Next stage, around the same time 1996/97 there is a wonderful lady by the name of Dr. Ambrose, the first formerly trained local radiologist to come back to reside in St. Vincent. She is British both certified in the UK that is the Royal College of Radiologists, she been trained in CT imaging, she came back in 1993 and Mr. Speaker, the NDP was repairing, extending the hospital and during the design phase, I have it here, she said to them, leave a space for the CT scan. Of course the Minister says it is a highfaluting piece of equipment. She say, leave the space nevertheless for the highfaluting piece of equipment just in the future somebody going buy it. They said, no, they close the space out. They took the space out in the floor plan. It was there and they took it out when they constructing the new department. So that this new found holier than thou approach is really something which people will find galling.Dr. Ambrose in 1997 after the authorities said this is a piece of thing you see in Chicago Hope, highfaluting, she went and she bought a CT scan US $334,000 she had to take a second mortgage on her house and got other financing from general electric. She got all the equipment. She had to also pay Euros $20,055.00 per half year to be able to service it, now the equipment went as the life of these items of equipment will go. So because this pioneering woman who has the skills, she has invested all this money in which poor people got treatment and I will come to say, because there are a lot of questions here on this one today, I am prepared to answer all of them, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines said, look, let us get a new CT scan, let us get it and the NIS said that they would like to contribute to this CT scan and it happened the day when I was talking about it, the people from the National Commercial Bank were there and the management said, if the NIS puts half, we will put half. So the Government was taking the lead and putting together state institutions.So these two state institutions of the Government invest $1.4 million. It is divided between both of them. So they invest in equal amounts in this service that is the first question. There are other bits coming down because the whole subject is broken up into several parts, but that is in so far as the first question goes for the three parts.31I do not know whether the Honourable Senator would wish to ask the other two together and I can answer them together because they cover the same subject matter.Mr. Speaker, may I just say, though the rules, I cannot find in our rules that you cannot break up the same subject into a whole set of multiplicity of question, but I know that this question would not be permitted in the House of Commons and what would happen would be the practice of Parliament under 82 would apply, but Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to answer them.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Again, let me say this question..., these questions were also discussed. No special directives were given in relation to the questions. We recognised what was happening, we recognised the questions and they give a sort of repeat of the various things, but we thought in the interest of democracy we will let the questions flow. The Clerk and I discussed these questions and we thought that we will let the questions flow in the interest of democracy. We did not give any..., we did not make any decisions as to whether these questions should be..., would not be sent forth and so on and that is..., and if the Member is raising a point of order in relation to the question and I do not believe he is really doing so, but if he is raising a point of order in relation to the question, I will have to look at that. But it seems to me that he is prepared to answer the question and he has given to the Honourable Member who is asking the question an option whether he would want to withdraw or he would want the questions answered. So that is it.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: The option I heard, Mr. Speaker, with respect is whether I want to have those questions [inaudible).HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No, it was not a question of whether you want to..., yes I think he did say that. Did not you?DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I think in this regard I did not speak correctly so that both you, Mr. Speaker, with respect and the Honourable Senator Cummings got me wrong. I did not say I will want to have them withdrawn neither did I say I will want to have them done simultaneously. I will like to have them asked in a ruled up fashion which is different from simultaneously.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay. All right, so Honourable Member, you..., HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: [Inaudible.]HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question number one has been answered, sorry, 10 and 11 or 10 have been answered, 11 and 12 remain. Honourable Prime Minister, question No. 1111. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator), asked the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment:Would the Honourable Minister please indicate: a. if the government has invested in a CAT scanner; b. is there a private sector partner involved; 32c. if in the affirmative, which private sector partner; d. how was this partner selected; and e. were any other local or foreign partners consulted or invited to participate DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES ON BEHALF OF THE HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, 11(a) has been answered that is to say that the Government has invested in the CT scan machine through two agencies, (b) has been answered, I said that there was a private sector entity which is involved; Dr. Ambrose her Caribbean Medical Imaging Centre. Mr. Speaker, this partner was selected in the manner in which I have indicated. Now here is a patriotic Vincentian a professional investing over a million dollars EC to start this and everybody knows that she has welcomed the poor and the indigent so that when her machine went down it was felt easier since all the connections are there already, all the electrical connections and everything involved to put this machine there and to work out with her a memorandum..., and agreement in terms of the use of this facility with the two entities forming a legal entity to own this machine and to have it operationalised out of Imaging Centre as an excellent private-public partnership. The Cabinet took that decision. We believe we took it on the basis of a sound reasoning. Of course, there are some people who might have wanted to go and get somebody from overseas. Some people want to have a foreign Commissioner of Police, they want to have foreign people to contribute US$5.00 to save democracy, when we cannot contribute in America it is illegal and so on and so forth and that is the simple fact of the matter that is how we did it. Now somebody may come and criticise it and said, well these two entities should have gone and done a tender for services. Cabinet took the decision on the basis of the material before us. This is not something which Caribbean Imaging is going to be making money out of. They will be providing a service, their professional service in a classic private-public partnership which is what we say we should be doing more of. If the objection to Dr. Ambrose is because she is the sister of Rene Baptiste, well then let that objection be so stated.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Question No. 12.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, I do not know from whom the objection to Dr. Ambrose came, I really do not know, but on clarification with respect to the answer, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that I understood from the Prime Minister how part (d) how the partner was selected and whether there was any other options considered.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I answered that already.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: I thought you would have said because she has the system in place that was one of motivating reasons for selecting that particular person and then I gathered again from his answer that there was no foreign person involved in or whatever I gathered from that. Question 12 please.12. The Honourable Daniel Cummings (Opposition Senator), asked the Honourable Minister of Health and the Environment:Would the Honourable Minister please indicate:33 a. what are the arrangements in place to ensure that in the event of a private-public partnership in the provision of CAT scanner the public will have access to the use of this facility; b. that members of the public who are indigent or are from low income households will also have access to the use of the facility; c. that quality assurance is kept at a satisfactory level with consequences for failure to deliver to agreed standards; and d. that the terms of engagement bind the private sector partner to the delivery of service at a predetermined level with consequential penalties for failure to deliver. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES ON BEHALF OF THE HONOURABLE DR. DOUGLAS SLATER: Mr. Speaker, there is already, Mr. Speaker, a draft memorandum of agreement which will guide the operations of the CT scan services and I...,HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator you are not listening to the answer, but you are talking.HONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Like some other people I can multitask. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Okay, fine. [Laughter] okay Honourable Prime Minister.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Some of us can gather stones and throw them simultaneously.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, let us please, let us pursue with this..., [interjection] Honourable Senator, please.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: That is you all problem. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Please let us.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: You think a country boy is out of place being Prime Minister.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister let us deal with the..., DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I am very much in place. HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Yes Sir, let us deal with the answer to the question.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Very much in place. I will not allow the petite bourgeoisie of those who have those kinds of attitudes to triumph over the poor and the working people in this country, I could tell you that.34So there would be a Memorandum of Understanding, Mr. Speaker. There is a draft one covering a range of matters which naturally would involve quality and standards. But Mr. Speaker, every single service in the Ministry of Health is subject to quality assurance, every single one. It is in the nature, colleagues do it, the administration does it and so on and so forth. Whether the member from the public who are indigent or from low income households will also have access to use the facility, Mr. Speaker, to use the language of the NDP, this highfaluting piece of equipment from Chicago Hope would be used by everybody. The agencies involved have all been providing assistance for persons to seek medical assistance overseas. The business of the NIS is to provide a social safety net for the entire population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The National Commercial Bank has been providing assistance as an institution and by the staff for the same purpose. The Ministry of Health and the Environment on a regular basis provides assistance to persons who need to access medical diagnosis services overseas.Since January 2010, the Ministry of Health and the Environment has spent $183,000 for persons to access medical attention overseas. This assistance was provided to 76 persons of whom 10 of them have received assistance for CT scan, three for MRI and other assistance including 50 or more were airfare or air ambulance services. In fact Mr. Speaker, we through the Prime Minister’s Office, we also have a number whom we have sent off on the advice of the Ministry of Health. The National Insurance Services and the National Commercial Bank as I have said will raise the capital to purchase the equipment and the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Ministry of Health and the Environment would be involved also in this memorandum.No one Bill will be denied at this service because they cannot pay. The social services of the ULP Government will reinforce this policy. In addition, Dr. Ambrose herself as an individual is keenly interested in fulfilling this aspect of the mandate.Mr. Speaker, there are two sets of quality assurances, but one we are looking at broadly, but to cover two types of services (1) the matter of the technical work for which there are trained people and the matter of the report on what you see, that is also is a matter for trained persons which would involve not only Dr. Ambrose, but other personnel too.Mr. Speaker, this machine should have been here already from General Electric, but I have been advised there was one model and they have to change the model. There were some technical issues involved with the Director of the NIS who was responsible for finally making everything to be here. He told that very shortly this machine would be with us and we certainly do not take therefore the policy position which was established by the NDP in 1996 and following. That is a highfaluting piece of equipment which few people would use and because you see it pon TV yo think yo want it. I am obliged.SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONHONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Mr. Speaker, given that the Honourable Prime Minister has indicated that the equipment would be owned by, I think, some arrangements between the National Commercial Bank and the National Insurance Services, the question is who will be responsible therefore for the maintenance of the equipment?35DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I indicated that the Memorandum of Agreement covers all of those matters. I mean the truth of the matter, it is such a first level thing, and Senator Cummings is always highly skilled at pronouncing these obvious things as though they are profound.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members, I just want to make some comments here, because just now I intervene here, in that I asked the Senator to listen to the question while he was conversing with another Member, and that seemed to be something that was objected to. While I am here, I am the person who guides and directs what takes place in this Honourable House and if in my view certain things that are not being done, I have that right to indicate to the Honourable Members what should be or what should not be done, because very often the questions are being answered, you do not listen to the questions and then you come back with supplementary questions that would have been actually answered if you were..., would have already been answered or given sorry, if you were listening very attentively to the questions and I recognised this, it happens all the time to the answers. I recognise this, it happens all the time and that is why I will ask Members when you ask a question kindly listen to the answers so that we would not have to waste parliamentary time in having to go over answers that were given and I think I have that right and while I have it I would exercise that right regardless of how others would feel about it. Thank you very much.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Prime Minister, it is now 25 minutes to 1, I do not know if the Parliament would want to go on or...,DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: I was thinking perhaps, Mr. Speaker, we could get at least one of the Bills out of the way, perhaps, it is a straightforward one, the one on the Public Sector Project, (ALBA Bank) Loans Act, 2010, because this is just a continuation of what we have done in the Budget.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: All right, nobody challenged that so let us move.ORDERS OF THE DAY 2. PUBLIC SECTOR (ALBA BANK) LOANS BILL, 2010DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, may I just, before I move..., I beg to move under Standing Order 12(5) that the proceedings of today’s Sitting be exempted from the provisions of the Standing Order Hours of Sitting.Question put and agreed to.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that a Bill for an Act to authorise the Government to raise a loan for the purpose of financing several public sector projects including the construction of the Argyle International Airport be read a first time. The Objects and Reasons for the Bill that is seeks to authorise the Government to raise a loan for the purpose of financing several public sector projects, including the construction of the Argyle International Airport as set forth in the annual estimates of revenue and expenditure approved by the House of Assembly for the year Two Thousand and Ten. I so move.Question put and agreed to.page36image2707236Bill read a first time. DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move under Standing Order 48(2)that this Bill be taken through all its stages at today’s sitting and later passed.Question put and agreed to. Bill taken through all its stages at today’s sitting and passed.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move the Bill for an Act to authorise the Government to raise a loan for the purpose of financing several public sector projects, including the construction of the Argyle International Airport be read a second time.Question put and agreed to. Bill read a second time.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Debate on the Bill.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, this is the second Bill in two successive sittings of Parliament that we are bringing here to operationalise certain requisites regarding loans which had been laid out in the estimates. These are not monies additional to what we had budgeted for, this is simply operationalising what we had budgeted for.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members would recall that we had budgeted for the first time for the equivalent of US $20 million to go to the airport as direct contribution from the Government. This represents EC $54 million and that was in the estimates and I had said then we were getting a loan of $50 million from the ALBA Bank which we are going to put $20 million towards the Argyle International Airport. This is to provide the legal basis, the legislative basis for the borrowings, though as I have indicated elsewhere that we had already received $20 million.Mr. Speaker, the Articles of Convention of the Bank of ALBA was signed in the city of Caracas, Venezuela by the Government of the Republics of Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela on the 6th June 2007. The Articles of Convention provide for ratification by members of other Latin American and Caribbean Countries, there is one other country which has already acceded that is to say, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda is in the process of doing so, I have been advised.St. Vincent and the Grenadines instrument of accession in respect of the Articles of Convention with the Bank of ALBA is dated 16th April, 2010. Our country’s representative on the Ministerial Council is yours truly, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The alternate is the Honourable Dr. Douglas Slater, Minister of Health and the Environment. The representative on the Board of Directors is Mr. Andreas Wickham, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the alternate, is His Excellency the Ambassador to Cuba Dexter Rose. Among the objectives of the Bank of ALBA is the promotion of financing for the common economic and social development of its members. Members may obtain financing from ALBA Bank or from its affiliates.37The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is borrowing US $50 million from the Bank of ALBA and its affiliates for the purpose of financing public sector projects and programmes under the Argyle International Airport on the following terms. Among US $50 million, interest rates 2.6% which is quite a good rate, grace period four years, the term is 20 years, repayment is quarterly repayments. The loan will be disbursed in trances of $20 million, $20 million and $10 million all of them US denominations.Mr. Speaker, the case for this was already made in the budget and approved by this Honourable House. If there are any further questions which Honourable Members may wish to raise, I will be prepared to answer to the best of my ability. I am obliged.HONOURABLE ARNHIM EUSTACE: Mr. Speaker, as indicated, this matter has already come before this Honourable House during the time of the budget debate and the indication given that a portion of these funds would be used for the International Airport and a portion for other public sector projects. I therefore have no particular difficulty with this given the fact that we have also now been given in some details the terms of the financing which is concessionary and therefore has a significant grant element attach to it. So Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House have no difficulty with this piece of legislation.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful for the support by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition on this matter. If I may say, I have asked the members in the Ministry of Finance to calculate precisely the point which the Honourable Leader of the Opposition made, because it is a significant grant component and it is in the order of about 70% grant component; maybe a little bit more than that as you know it is done on the basis of what would be the market rate which you would be able to get less what this particular rate is on the face of the loan that is how the calculation is done.Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole House to consider this Bill clause by clause.House went into Committee. House resumed. Bill read and reported without amendments.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that a Bill for an Act to authorise the Government to raise a loan for the purpose of financing several public sector projects including the construction of the Argyle International Airport be read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a third time by title and passed.DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES: Mr. Speaker, I think this is convenient time for lunch. We can return at 3 O’clock. We have an important piece of social legislation to be laid by Minister Browne, two pieces. I suspect we will do..., we will be able to certainly get through one, I do not know about the second one status, but we will try.38I beg to move, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, that this Honourable House do stand suspended for the luncheon period until 3:00 p.m.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.Question put and agreed to. House suspended at 12:46 p.m. (luncheon) House resumed at 3:10 p.m.1. CHILDREN (CARE AND ADOPTION) BILL, 2010HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I crave your indulgence before I move the introduction and first reading of this Bill to join with Senator Leacock in expressing condolences to the family of Winston John. I had not heard that he had died. He was an outstanding Vincentian and the Grenadines Body Builder and I hope the Body Building Association will take note of it. He had competed regionally and won several trophies. I remember in 1968 in Trinidad at the Queens Park Hall at the famous Queens Park Savannah that he and Brother Bob walked away in a regional contest with gold and silver. They had simply stunning bodies and he brought a lot of fame to this country and I want to extend condolences to his family and to urge my Sports Department and the Body Building Association to pay a fitting tribute to him.Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the introduction and first reading of a Bill for an Act to provide for the Care and Protection of children, the operation of adoption services and other related matters. The Objects and Reasons are to protect children from abuse and neglect and to ensure that the best interests of the child are given paramount consideration in all matters relating to the child.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a first time. HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that the Bill betaken through all its stages at this sitting in accordance with section 48(2) of the Standing Orders. HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.Question put and agreed to.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I beg to move that the Bill for an Act to provide for the care and protection of children in the operation of adoption services and other related matters be read a second time.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a second time.39HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Debate on the Bill. You have 1 hour to make your presentation, you may or may not use it.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, the 2005 manifesto of the Unity Labour Party places within a philosophical context our view of our children in this country. It says, the ULP Government acknowledges that our children and young persons are our most precious assets. They represent our country’s future and are the carriers and continuators of the nobility of our civilization. The youth, and we define youth in our context not legally, but in this context, as person’s age between 15 and 30 and the youth account for nearly 1/3 of the population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They are at the centre of our public policy to enhance their many sided development through education, health, and housing, the economy, sports, culture and civic participation and to eliminate poverty among them.Under the section of this manifesto dealing with the family and gender affairs and I will refer to that in a while, the issues relating to children are specially addressed. Since April 2001, the ULP Government has done the following for young men and women. We have established the YES programme and we provided tax concessions for individuals and businesses to finance the YES volunteers through the public-private partnership. We focused on education, training, sports, and culture enterprise and job creation development for young people. We facilitated young entrepreneurs through the micro enterprise loan programme MALP and the Centre for Enterprise Development formerly CEDU; set up police youth clubs; supported the National Youth Council, and you are well aware Honourable Members that the National Youth Council is reenergizing itself through new leadership; commenced work on the restructuring of Youth Affairs Department to better deliver programmes for our youth; engaged the National Youth Commission, on an on-going basis, to promote youth centred programmes; facilitated the use by youths and the organisation of the Learning Resource Centres across the country; engaged in on-going consultations between the various ministries and the youth organisations and policy and programme matters concerning young people.We have consolidated the Education Revolution; we have strengthened and extended the YES programme; we have stepped up the fight against HIV/AIDS; we have continued the war against poverty, including elimination of poverty among young people; and I will touch that later, Mr. Speaker. We have continued the battle to keep youths away from criminal activities including those who are drug related, we continued to protect our young people against abuse of one kind or another and this legislation has that as a centrepiece, we continue to promote youth in sports, culture, music and entertainment; we have elaborated and implemented and integrated national youth policy; we have created appropriate youth specific institutions; we continue the involvement of the NYC and other youth organisations in state or administration.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we had made it clear that we are going to review all relevant laws relating to the children and the society and that is contained in the page 69 of the manifesto and today, Mr. Speaker, for my own self, for the staff, for the Ministry, for the Cabinet, for this Government and certainly for the children of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, today is a very happy day, because we are going to put at the centrepiece of our work, legislation which protects our children and which takes care of them when they are neglected and abused.Mr. Speaker, you will recall that in the throne speech of this year, we were told that the modernization of several functional aspects of the legislature continues to be at the fore front of my Government’s policy agenda40and specifically, we had indicated that this year, we are going to introduce family law, domestic violence law, the adoption and child care law which; we are dealing with this afternoon among other bits of legislation that will emanate from our Ministry. So from the standpoint of our manifesto commitment as well as from the standpoint of our commitment through the budget and the estimates and the throne speech this year, we are on track and this afternoon we shall hopefully get through two or four pieces of legislation. There are two others within this legislation which we hope that we will be able to get through our colleagues at the Legal Affairs Department in the course of hopefully the next couple of months.Mr. Speaker, what is the background to this legislation? St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a multiplicity of legislations that deal with children, deal with prevention from abuse, dealing with attention to them and their care and this is similar to a number of the countries in the region, especially in the OECS. So we have coming out of the experiences of the OECS an effort to craft a harmonised sub-regional model family legislation and the introduction to that legislation and Mr. Speaker, we have four booklets and they are on the website of the OECS. There are four booklets that capture this legislation, booklet one status of children, booklet two the children care and adoption which we are dealing with this afternoon, the first one we are dealing with hopefully later, booklet three deals with child justice and booklet four deals with domestic violence.I crave your indulgence Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, just to sketch briefly some of the background to this bit of legislation that we have this afternoon. The development of harmonised model family legislation to replace existing family laws in the OECS Member States is considered a long awaited dream for the citizens of the OECS sub-region. For decades it was felt that the laws governing families and children were archaic, inadequate and generally did not reflect the socio-economic realities, particularly as they relate to the nature and dynamics of the situation of children in the region.It is in that context that initiative by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) towards judicial and legal reform has served well in driving the process of change towards more progressive laws that represents our social realities and also take into consideration the provisions of relevant conventions and treaties signed by OECS Governments to better serve the interests of families and children in the OCES Member States.The family law and domestic violence project as part of the wider Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Initiative started in 2001 and it is aimed at the reform and harmonisation of family laws thereby promoting greater access and equity to justice and I underscore that, promoting greater access and equity to justice as well as a more integrated and holistic approach to resolve matters related to the family and children. The project was conceptualised by a technical team representing the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, the OECS Legal Unit, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNISEF), Canadian International Development Agency (CEDA), United Nations Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, National Children’s Home, the Ministries of Legal Affairs and the Social/Family Services from several of the Leeward and Windward Islands.This initial phase was characterised by several research activities including a technical team in their various fields of expertise to identify gaps and inconsistencies in existing relating family laws, practices and social trends. A synthesis of the research reports were prepared and serve to influence the preparation of a green paper that instrumental in guiding national and regional consultations on the proposed reform. The consultation spans over the period October 2003 to June 2004 with participation by the Member States and the Turks and Caicospage41image3100041Islands, the purpose of the consultations was to engender public discussions and input into the areas of concern and to identify policy issues and guidelines to draft the harmonised legislation.Consequently, the first four Bills drafted also considered the provisions of relevant conventions and treaties signed by OECS Governments to provide rights and protection to children and families. The draft instruments were circulated to key stakeholders for feedback and subsequently review sessions were organised at the national regional levels with representatives from relevant Government Ministries and Non-Governmental Organisations prior to their presentation to the Legal Affairs Committee.The draft instruments were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee in principle with certain recommendations that guided a second draft and this is where we are at, Mr. Speaker, by way of background that these drafts were dealt with at the Legal Affairs Departments in the various countries and we have arrived to what I consider a glorious day in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for our children that we have in fact subjected in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to serious consultations reviews and discussions, the drafts and we have from our Ministry sent our proposals and recommendations to the Legal Affairs Department and I want to pay public tribute to the whole nation that was involved in these discussions to bring us to this point, certainly my staff at the Ministry of National Mobilisation better known Ministry of Social Development and certainly the Department of Legal Affairs and of course with the support of our Prime Minister and the Cabinet.Mr. Speaker, before going to the actual legislation, I wish again by way of introduction to turn my attention to a document that I consider to be a living document. Some people will consider dead given what transpired on November 25th last year and I refer here to the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution Bill 2009 otherwise referred to as the new draft constitution which you know did not meet the support of the population. But chapter 2 of that document and I consider it a living document I use it very often, which is entitled “guiding principles of state policy” it says the following, and I want us to bear in mind that this document had been subjected for several years, or the process that led to this document, spans a period of several years and involve literally thousands of Vincentians. It is not a document that should be treated very lightly, because it represents the collective thinking of our people and therefore continues to have authenticity as well as validity in my opinion. But article 19 in that chapter says, “due appreciation is to be accorded to young persons for their contribution to nation building.” Every young person has the right to educational, social, cultural and vocational enhancement including a right to fair opportunity for responsible participation in national development and this is the clause that I want to emphasise, “children are entitled to the protection of the rights of the child as expressed in relevant international treaties to which St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a state party.”The other section says, and this one is more relevant to the other piece of legislation this afternoon, status of children, children born out of wedlock are entitled to the same legal rights and legal status as are enjoyed by children born in wedlock. All forms of discrimination against children on the basis of them being born out of wedlock are prohibited. That is interesting, Mr. Speaker, because the legislation which we will touch later captures precisely that point where we ensure that any discrimination on the status of children whether in or out of wedlock that any discrimination is prohibited by that piece of legislation which hopefully we will deal with later.42Mr. Speaker, I asked Honourable Members to take in hand the actual legislation because I will like to walk through it in the time that I have approximately three quarters of an hour and I want us to go through it section by section, part by part. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members have received a corrected page 1 and the correction being that Grenadines to the top, St. Vincent and the Grenadines had been incorrectly spelt and that you have a corrected page.Mr. Speaker, on that page 1 we will come to it later, under part 2 Administration of the Act, section 6 Office of Directorate of Social Services I want to suggest to Honourable Members that for sake of consistency that we call that Directorate of Family Services currently in the law as captured in the estimates and the Budget, the designated post that we have there is Director of Family Services and I want to suggest in as much as it recurs throughout the document that we consistently refer to it as Family Services. I am aware that in some of the OECS Countries the title may very well be Director of Social Services, but that in our context we should keep Family Services.Mr. Speaker, I ask Honourable colleagues to turn now to page 11 Part I Preliminary. Now this part provides for the preliminary provision, short title interpretation, primary purpose, principles of administration and so on and I want us to turn to the word abuse because there is an expanded and expansive definition of abuse, legally, in this document and some people may find the definition as spelt out to the unusual. Abuse includes the obvious physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse and interestingly, financial abuse on page 12, financial abuse. I want you to colleagues, Honourable Members, to highlight that.Page 13 and I should point out that here on page 13 to focus on the definition of child which means a person under age of 18 years. Child means a person who is under the age of 18 years and substantially it is in keeping with the provisions of article 1 of United Nations Convention on the rights of the child which convention this nation had signed, convention and the rights of the child. We move along very quickly, Mr. Speaker, and we go to page where when they talk about “Court” it means the High Court and when they talk about “Director” we mean Director of Family Services and I will suggest we change that if we are going to remain consistent appointed under section 6. The estimates has the term Director of Family Services even though the division is referred to as the Family Affairs Division, but for purposes of this legislation I suggest consistency through the use of Family Services. Mr. Speaker, we continue on page 15 where the purpose of this Act which I read in introducing the Act is contained which is to protect children from abuse and neglect and to ensure the best interest of the child are given paramount consideration in all matters relating to the child.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, you are going to find some recurrent themes in this legislation for those Members who have gone through it. I have had to go through this many times and one of the recurrent themes is the wording, “the best interests” that formulation. You will also see as a recurrent theme “paramount consideration” so it is not only the best interests, but paramount consideration must be given to these interests and that is a recurrent theme you will find, the terminology “paramount consideration”.Mr. Speaker, we move on quickly to page 16 and I ask Members to go down under subsection 2(e) and it says that the views of the child must be solicited and again this is a recurring theme, regardless, let me correct that not regardless, in some cases the child might be of a certain maturity and understanding where if in the appropriate language they are informed of something they could understand and contribute to the decision43affecting them and this again is something that permeates this document that at all possible times where appropriate they want the views of the child to be taken into consideration.I move to page 15 the second part, Part II, page 18 sorry, Part II Administration of the Act and it says here, there is established, within the Ministry responsible for social services, the office of the Directorate, and I am suggesting that we stick with the formulation Family Services, the office of Directorate shall consists of a Director of Family Services and such suitably qualified staff as is necessary for the effective carrying out of the provisions of this Act. Now Honourable Members would know that this is an extremely complicated document or comprehensive rather than complicated I should say, because it really tries to come to grips with the state of affairs about children and how it could correct any attempts at abuse, neglect and those things that impact negatively on the child’s development. So it is a very involved piece of legislation and really [I] thank everybody who has gone through it, because I could understand where people may see it as a burden, but trust me it is an extremely useful bit of legislation.On page 20 I want you to look at the note in the margin under section 9, clause 9(1) it says, the Director must ensure the participation of the child. Again, this a recurrent theme. Always see how we can get from the child how he or she thinks about the situation on what issues or her views concerning addressing that particular situation. So basically, that Part II deals with how the Act is to be administered and the establishment of a mechanism and Mr. Speaker, when I wrap up later on this evening, I am going to address some specific aspects concerning the administration and the implications of this law for our administration of the care and adoption of children.I turn your attention, Honourable Members, to Part III which deals with Care and Protection of Children. Part III identifies the circumstances in which a child may be considered to be in need of care and protection and (b) a parent may request assistance from the Director to safeguard the safety, welfare and being of a child and under Part III clause 12(1)(b) we again see the term abuse being used and if we go to (c) it says, a child is in need of care and protection where the child has been harmed as a result of being sexually exploited for the purposes of prostitution and the parent has failed or has not been able to protect the child. So there are a lot of situations which have been outlined in this legislation which requires intervention and we will come to it, there are times when somebody may obstruct such an intervention and that person would be considered guilty of an offence.We move to page 24 because we have some 92 pages to address so we will have to move fairly quickly. Page 24 of the legislation, and I draw your attention to No. 5 the last section on that page. It says, where the court is satisfied that the child cannot be controlled by a parent and I want to emphasise that, because it is not just that the child might be abused by a parent, but you may have a situation and we know it in our context when a mother and very often is the mother in a context of a maternal headed household where the fathers are absent and the mother will tell you, “me cannot go with that one day, me want he go up by the Dodge because me cannot handle he, he out a control”, we hear that too often and the court is..., the legislation anticipates that these situations exists and therefore must intervene in those situations where a child is seemingly out of control cannot be controlled in a context of a family by a parent. So it addresses all aspects. The child being abused and the child being out of control, and is a danger to himself, family and others.We turn to page 25 Part IV Reporting. Now this one is a heavy section. This section applies to a person who provides healthcare, welfare, education, childcare services or law enforcement wholly or partly to children and44it insist that if something comes to the attention of these providers and they do not report it, because the law is saying they have to report it, they do not have an option, it is mandatory reporting. So if a school teacher sees a child with bruises and scars and cannot get a good explanation they are under this law, directed to report those situations which of course would be subject to investigation.In other words, they do not have a choice, they cannot ignore it, because if the court finds out that they knew about it and did not report, the court will deal with them and the offences and the..., which I will come to in a minute. So there has to be reporting and reporting without delay. So this section addresses that and if we turn to page 25 it says, “a person who fails to comply with subsection (2) which deals with reporting without delay, commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months. They are taking this thing real serious. This is no joke thing. They are taking the protection of our children very, very seriously and of course on that page it says that those persons who make reports will be protected under the law. So if somebody says, well Ms. Amy child have bruises that means Ms. Amy might be battering and abusing this child that person who does report has protection. So Ms. Amy cannot turn around now and say, oh, you put me in courts, I go deal with you. No, not so, under the law that person has protection. So serious does the law contemplate the issue of abuse of our children.The legislation goes on and we are on page 30 of the legislation, it says, “a Director shall provide a report of the results of an investigation as prescribed, to a parent and to a child if a matter is investigated”. A child, if he or she is at least 12 years old is entitled to get a copy of the report. Again, the recurring theme of the centrality of the child in this legislation that the child must be brought into the loop, into the mixed and where it is appropriate that child must assist in the decision-making or certainly be consulted and so on.A little lower down under that same section, a person who intimidates, threatens or obstructs the Director of Family Services in the exercise of his or her functions under this section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. So the Director who is playing a central role in this, if anybody messes with him in relation to his work and investigation they have committed an offence five thousand dollars or three months. Page 31, I just briefly want to mention under clause 21(b) that the question of disability appears so the legislation addresses the question of disability. Actually, both in the child as well as in the parent and I will come to the latter little later.I turn my attention, colleagues, to Part IV, Emergency Protection on page 32, and it deals with the removal of a child from the home situation.25. (1) If the director has reasonable grounds to believe that: (a) a Child is in need of protection; and (b) the health or safety of the child is in immediate jeopardy;The Director may, with the assistance of a police officer, and without the need for any further authority other than that conferred by this subsection enter any place or premises where the child is believed to be present or to reside, and search for, locate and take the child into custody.45So that is the power of the director under this legislation to secure children who have been abused. I move along to page 38 of the document and clause 34:A child must be informed about the reasons for the assessmentIf there is an investigation, part 7 deals with assessment orders, orders from the Court to look into matters and 34 addresses the assessments and is sayingThe Child must be informed about why they are having this assessment in a language and a manner that he or she understands, having regard to his or her age, maturity and circumstances.Again what we see here is the involvement at all times where appropriate of a child in the process and in the decision-making.Part 8 orders of the care and protection of a child. There are different kinds of orders and the colleagues who have been through this would know that, different kinds of orders depending on the situation. So for example on page 40 they talk about an interim care order, and I want to bring to the attention of the House, clause 44 which extends from page 40 to page 41, grounds for making a care order, and I want to emphasize this particular one:44. (2) The Court shall not conclude that the basic needs of a child are not likely to be met solely on the grounds of the disability of a parent or on the grounds of poverty.In other words if a parent is disabled, he or she cannot use that as an excuse. If you are poor you cannot use that as an excuse, for abusing the child or not taking care of the child. You notice abuse includes financial abuse. It assumes of course that the state will provide certain kinds of resources to poor families as we do now. So they have interim care orders, care orders, I will just go through this very quickly, supervision orders, you have different kinds of orders that can be adopted by the court. Now, importantly, the court expects that there will be a care plan, you will not just have a care order, there must be a plan of how you are going to take care of this child and not only the child but the parent. And it says that the care plan must be made as fast as possible with the agreement of the parent of the child. So we are looking at a plan that involves as far as possible the parent and the child to in a sense rehabilitate the situation, to correct the bad situation that a child might be in.Page 47, clause 59, the court calls for a written social inquiry report in respect of a child before it makes an order. So there has to be a lot of work done in order for us to arrive at a decision from the court. A lot of different things and the court has options, what kinds of orders. And clause 60 brings it out very, very emphatically:60. the Court may, in addition to making of a supervision order or a care order make any of the following orders:(a) an order (i) accepting undertakings;(ii) for the provision of support services; or46(iii) to attend therapeutic or a treatment programme; (b) a compulsory assistance order; or (c) a contact order.So the court has a lot of options available to it. And basically that part which is a very long part has a number of those orders outlined.Now page 50, Honourable Members, if we could look at clause 64 sub clause 5,(5) For the purposes of this section “compulsory assistance order” means assistance in the form of intensive care and support that is necessary to protect the child from suicide or any other life threatening or serious self-destructive behaviour.So again by making it compulsory that they get assistance and support, it anticipates that the child may be in a suicidal mode and we are trying to protect that child.We move to part 9 child care services and it outlines the principles and I really want to emphasize the principles here part 9 clause 7373. A decision made under this Part shall be made in accordance with the following principles:(a) the best interests of the child shall be of paramount consideration;Notice that recurring theme.(b) a child care service shall provide care that is safe, positive and nurturing;(c) a child care service shall promote the educational, social and developmental wellbeing of a child; and(d) a child must receive services that meet his or her individual needs, including the needs of a child with a disability, and enhance his or her physical, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural development.And it outlines here the conditions for foster care parents. Honourable Members, permit me to indicate that this administration has placed a lot of emphasis on foster care. Through our Family Affairs Division, we have a foster care programme and between 2006 and 2010, we have over a yearly average of 170 children have been placed and sustained in foster care and here some of the interesting information. At present, this is what is happening here, and I want us to connect it with this section that deals with foster care placements. At present there are 225 children in foster care in our country. Approximately 75% are girls. So three out of four, 75%, over 80%, note this, over 80%, are in foster care due to physical abuse, sexual abuse and gross neglect. So our Ministry which represent the administration in dealing should we say in dealing with the ugly side of society, has its hands full and that Family Affairs Division is one which we salute all the time because they have to deal47every day with an open door with crisis an addressing these matters and we want to thank our Minister of Finance and Cabinet for the support financially, because they are literally under the hammer in that department.Over the past five years the ULP government has expended on a yearly basis close to $450,000.00 for these disadvantaged children. That is nearly half a million dollars, you know. There have been several success stories. Many of them have progressed from primary school into secondary school and from the latter into the Community College, currently there is one young man who is in foster care and this young man is pursuing his first degree at Cave Hill, in Barbados. So you have these success stories which come out of the foster care programme that we are conducting in our Ministry. Our party has increased the remuneration for each foster child on at least two occasions. We moved it from $150.00 to $200.00 to $220.00 and in addition to this we cover medical, education and other costs. So we have been doing our part but what the law does with this is to consolidate our work, to ensure that there is improvement through the enhancement of the legislation.We turn to page 58 clause 78:(2) A person shall not remove a child from an approved childcare service without the consent of the manager.In other words, you cannot go in and drag a child out from a child care centre.A person who contravenes subsection (2) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months.It goes on, under clause 81 (1)A child who runs away from an approved child care service to which he or she has been placed or from a person in whose care he or she has been placed under an emergency protection order, or committed by the Court on an order under this Act, may pending investigation:(a) be brought back to the approved child care service or to the person from which or from who he or she has run away; or(b) be put in another approved child care service or a place of safety to be determined by the Director.I move to part 10 adoption of a child. The first part by and large as you know is deals with the care, prevention of abuse, protection from abuse and this section actually deals with the establishment of an adoption committee. Currently, you have an adoption now which has a board, but this bit of legislation, that adoption law is repealed as you will see towards the end, but this bit of legislation strengthens, correct the loopholes that exist now in the present bit of legislation, so we have an adoption committee, in part 11 which is set up, it is made up of the director, who shall be the chairperson, a representative from each of the following ministries, Ministry responsible for Social Services, Ministry responsible for Gender Affairs. Well, in our case that is one. Ministry Responsible for Health, the Ministry Responsible for Legal Affairs and the Ministry Responsible for Education, as well as two persons from the nongovernmental organisations who have a mandate to deal with care and protection of children. And you could be on that committee for a period not exceeding three years. So we have put in place a new bit of legislation building on the old adoption law that we have and establishing a committee48and a number of mechanisms including adoption list that is on page 68, clause 100, how we deal with supervision of adoption. Many of those things are taken care of in that long section that deals with the establishment of an adoption committee. Then part 13 deals with the adoption proceedings, once the committee has been set up, how do you address applications for adoptions and all the things that are required; the aspect of confidentiality on page 77, clause 119, it deals with interim adoption orders, in other words, until an adoption order has been finalized you could have an interim one by way of a probationary period not exceeding two years. So that section, colleagues, deals basically with all the mechanisms and procedures relating to adoption.Page 81, part 14, inter-country adoptions; how do you operate with other countries where you want an adoption to in a sense to cross-border.Clause 125. (1)A person who is not a citizen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines or resident of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in accordance with this Act may apply to the Adoption Committee for the adoption of a child resident in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as provided for in this Part.So that is possible but the law calls for the government on page 83 clause 127 it calls for:The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines may enter into a memorandum of understanding or other arrangement with the Government of another State in order to all for the:(a) Collaboration and exchange of information with competent authorities in the State who are responsible for adoption; and(b) Establishment of safeguards to ensure that inter-country adoptions take place in the best interest of the child and with respect for the fundamental rights of the child as recognised by law.So that is possible between countries but the law says there should be a memorandum of understanding so on the basis of two sets of laws of the two countries that there be an arrangement that has a legal basis.Part 15 Registration of Adoption Orders, it calls for an adoption register. The old law also has that the old law which is all the way from 1960. It is a 50 year old law, so you understand why we need to upgrade this, the Adoption of Children legislation, 1960 has some of these aspects including a register, but we are bringing everything together in this bit of legislation. Part 16 which deals with offences, and this may interest a number of people.131. (1) A person shall not give or receive, or agree to give or receive any payment or reward, either directly or indirectly, to procure or assist in procuring a child for the purposes of adoption.If you pass money, it is against the law49(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence [and this is how serious they treat this eh!] commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.So serious, in other words you cannot buy an adoption, you cannot buy a pickney, you cannot buy a child. So the law is deadly serious about this. And the fine reflects how serious they look at this, twenty thousand dollars or term of imprisonment not exceeding two years. And then you have in clause 132 (1)A person shall not:(a) Place or arrange the placement of a child for the purposes of adoption; or(b) Receive a child in his or her home for the purpose of adoption unless the child has been placed by the Adoption Committee pursuant to this Act.(2) A person who contravenes this subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months.So this is how serious this thing is and it goes on to talk about if you make a false statement you are breaking the law. If you release information about the confidentiality of information, you are breaking the law, all of these are under that section that deals with offenses.We come to part 17 miscellaneous; and it basically says:139 (1) An appeal from a decision of the Court shall lie within the Court of Appeal. (2) The Chief Justice may make the Rules of the Court:(a) to regulate and practice and procedure of the Court with respect to proceedings under this Act, and(b) to provide for such matters as are necessary to give full effect to this its due administration.And it goes on to say in clause 140 (1) The Minister may make regulations for giving effect to this Act.Now we do not have a draft of the regulations, the other one we will deal with hopefully this afternoon, Status of the Child that has some draft regulations but that is not to be considered this afternoon. So the Minister may make regulations and they have given a long list of things about which regulations can be made nearly 20 odd different matters.And the final part, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, part 18, which deals with the repeal and transitional provisions:50The Adoption of Children Act, I mentioned earlier that goes back as early as 1960, so that is like 50 years old that that Act is repealed with the passing of this Act hopefully this afternoon; when it is passed and proclaimed to give it effect.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, there are a number of things that I would just, I have looking at the time, ten, fifteen minutes, Mr. Speaker?Mr. Speaker, I just want to bring to the attention of Honourable Members, some statistics concerning reports of child abuse made at the Family Affairs Division between 2000 and 2009.And we take it from, each number represents the subsequent year, so I start with 2000. Sexual abuse, we had 20, in 2000. In 2001 we had 23, in 2002, 51, that was a high point of the numbers that I have before me, 2003, it was 23, 2004, it was 33, 2005, it was 34, 2006, it was 36, 2007, it was 47, 2008, it was 40, last year it was 32. There seems to be a sort of up and down pattern with these numbers, and we perhaps need to do a lot more research, but I emphasize the point that these are reported forms of sexual abuse of children. And we will need to bear in mind that not all of these are reported.Physical abuse the numbers go, 2000, 36; 2001, 26; 2002, 55; 2003, 46; 2004, 46; 2005, 65; in 2006 we had a high point of 73, 2007, 41; 2008, 30; 2009, 59. Neglect this one seems to be one of the high areas of concern, in , 2000 we had 78 cases; 2001, 51; high point 2002, 112 cases of child neglect; 2003, 51; 2004, 40; 2005, 83; in 2006, 50; 2007, 58; 2008, 78; 2009, 94; that was pretty high last year. Abandonment, 2000, we had 30 cases; 2001, 29; 2002, 22; 2003, 31; 2004, 62; the high point was 2005, 76; in 2006, 48; 2007, 36; 2008, 37; 2009, 31. Verbal, emotional, psychological abuse we have these from 2007 at which point we had 44; 2008, 25; and 2009, 86. This one which is a very serious one that we have had to face given the delinquency of our fathers, missing in action fathers you have non-maintenance; in 2000 there were 237 cases. In 2001 there were 261; 2002, 258; 2003, 260; 227 in 2004; 251 in 2005; 2006 you had 129; 2007 you had 104; 2008, 170; 2009 we had 118.Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, if we take the pattern that has emerged over the decade, we seem to be averaging about 400 reported cases of child abuse, taking the totality of the different kinds of abuse, we seem to be averaging roughly about 400. I have said in another forum, one case of child abuse is one too many. So when you have an average of 400 being reported and you could bet your life it is over that, then we see the urgency and the validity of this bit of legislation, which draws from a whole gamut of other legislations in this country, Adoption of Children, Juvenile’s Act, Age of Majority Act, Law of Minors Act, Status of Children Act, and so on and so forth, a number of other bits and pieces. Pulls them together, and drawn from the sub- regional experience in the OECS and come up with a harmonized model legislation which our hardworking team at the Legal Affairs Department have crafted and synchronized with the other legislation and brought to us here in Parliament.I want to urge Honourable Members, that we give this your maximum support this afternoon. There may be areas that are of concern to you that we will address but please, I would hope that we would have the full support of the entire House on this one in the interest of our children, they deserve it, and I will say categorically that once we pass this with the support of the entire House, we would have done St. Vincent and the Grenadines children; we would have done them very well. And I know my staff in the Ministry would be very happy to see this passed this afternoon. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I thank you.51HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on the bill? Honourable Member for South Central Windward.HONOURABLE SELMON WALTERS: Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to make a contribution to the bill before us, which deals with the health care, care and adoption of our children in this country. I must commend the Minister, Mr. Speaker, and the staff he works with for bringing to this Parliament a piece of legislation that I think for the most part is very comprehensive, positive, progressive, in a sort of interventionist approach to correct a wrong that will always be seen where we have children, where we have delinquent parentage; perhaps failure within some institutions where children are supposed to be taken care of.Mr. Speaker, I believe the best place for the proper care and training of children, will always be within the home. The fact that we are bringing this piece of legislation speaks to some measure of failure on the part of the home, and the part of some parents, where the state has to intervene to secure the wellbeing of the child. So on one hand, Mr. Speaker, I will describe the bit of legislation as being positive, very comprehensive, in seeking to address the wellbeing of our children and the Minister is correct in saying that the children are the future of the State. Like we say in some organisations, that the young people represent the future of that particular body, and where there are no young people to replace the older ones, the life of the organization is limited. In a similar way, the wellbeing of the state is highly dependent on the family and the proper nurturing of the children. That is why this government has gone to the extent it has to enact an Education Revolution, that targets the proper nurturing of our young people to make sure that they can function well within a developed environment, function well within a globalized environment that has impacted us in many ways.So the legislation, Mr. Speaker, is quite positive and quite comprehensive. But on the other hand, I will like to think too, Mr. Speaker, that it is sort of unfortunate that we have to do this when in fact, the obligation is not on the part of the state, the obligation rests with the parents who are the first custodian for the children. May I say to all our people, Mr. Speaker, that parenting is serious business and I have the impression that many of our parents or some of our parents have become accidental parents in a sense, that they end up with the children and they really do not want them. Last week we say on the news rather unfortunate, where the United States a woman killed her children, because the man she was ‘friending’ with does not want them. She did not want them. She had no use for them in that sense so she strangled them and drowned them and put them in the car down some river some place. And that happened twice. You always have that; sometimes parents do not want the children. It is sort of unfortunate. So on one hand the state stands up to its responsibility to take care of these children when in truth and in fact, the responsibility is really belonging to us parents.Mr. Speaker, having said so, I must also commend those parents who took their responsibility seriously and say these are my children, we are the ones who went for them and they are ours and we are going to take care of them. And the good thing is that we have more of those positive parents than delinquent ones. So when you have delinquent parents, Mr. Speaker, the responsibility now passes to the State. And in the new legislation that is proposed, we are seeing the tremendous responsibility that is placed on the Director of Family Services. Those two words were mentioned in the Act more than 50 times, the Director shall, and the Director shall. So we are transferring parental responsibility from the man or woman to the Director of Family Services and the staff working there, and you can understand, Mr. Speaker, that sometimes the resources are limited, the dilemma that can be faced in that Department. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that in such an environment every effort52should be made to assist the parents to keep the children at home. That is the natural, rightful and best place for them to be nurtured. I noticed in part 4 of the Act and I will come to that in a while, and we are proposing to remove the children or the child from the environment where abuse is rampant. And I would like to think that that is the last resort, that the efforts should be made to make sure that the parents are given the support to look after their children.I noticed, too, Mr. Speaker, that the Act did not address any form of penalty for delinquent parentage. And I noticed that the Minister pointed out some areas where statistics revealed an increase over the years, a number of fathers who have not been standing up to their responsibility to look after their children. Mr. Speaker, the definition as was pointed out in the Act for abuse is interesting. And I noticed it is on page 12. When the Minister pointed that out I smiled, because the definition in the Act went a bit further than you would find in the dictionary for abuse, and it is deliberate, I believe in addressing a particular evil, that is being addressed. So on page 12 we are saying abuse may be physical abuse where the child could be physically beaten, injured, their lives might be at stake, then you have also sexual abuse, and we have known cases where incest is sometimes encountered within the house. You find also in some extended families that form of treatment given out to some of the young people by those who do not necessarily look after their wellbeing.Then there is also verbal abuse and when the Minister pointed this out, Mr. Speaker, I smiled, because I am recalling some years ago when I was a teacher and I was going to school. It was the day after, an African Leader came to St. Vincent, a man by the name of Mr. Kaunda had come to St. Vincent, and I was going to school the morning and there was a little fella who was giving his mother some trouble, and the mother was very wrought with the son, and the mother said boy stop bother me, you ugly like the man who came here yesterday. And I always remember because in her mind, the gentleman who came was ugly and she was likening that ugliness to her son. It is verbal abuse, but I do not think she was in any way intending to abuse the child. It might have been a one off situation. So sometimes, these acts of abuse, physical, verbal or otherwise may not necessarily be a pattern of behaviour. It may be a one off situation and it may be taken in jest which perhaps is intended, but there are other instances, Mr. Speaker, when there is a definite pattern of abuse where the children are abused within the household. And in this regard, I am in agreement with the legislation that such children are to be removed from there; because we know very well that there are some parents who really do not want the children. They did not want them in the first place, they came accidentally and they do not need them. And if they are not removed sometimes as in the case where they were taken into the river in the United States it may happen.I know of one case, Mr. Speaker, where this young mother had two small children in the house, she felt that she had to go to the night club to dance and she had no one to look after the children, but if she should just leave them in the house like that, because they are moving children, they can move and hurt themselves, so what she did, you would not believe it Mr. Speaker, she tied them. And you heard the child crying the house, bawling and when you go in, the child is tied to the bed foot like a little puppy or a goat or something and the mother has gone partying. Mr. Speaker, that is abuse.And I am sorry that the legislation did not propose any penalty for such parenting because they get away with it. Because I am saying to the young people if you intend to be a parent, if you intend to be a mother or father, you must understand that this is your responsibility that you have taken and you have to stand up to it, and if you are53not going to stand up to it, I believe that the State should deal with you. You either want them and take care of them or you do not have them. And too often you have this situation, we have had instances in this country where children were left unattended and were burned to death in the house. Sometimes children are small, it is a wooden house, and there might be a candle or some oil lamp that caught fire, and the first place the children run is under the bed. There was one instance where the house was burnt to cinder and the children skeleton were found under what would have remained as the bed. And when these things happen and the parent was delinquent, I believe that there should be a penalty in such cases. Our people have to understand that if you are a parent, it is serious business.Mr. Speaker, then you have so many fathers themselves who are not carrying the responsibility they should; it is left to a mother to be mommy and daddy. And there is one book I read and I supposed that most of us read it, “The Mother who fathered me,” and I want to commend our mothers who stand up to their responsibility in the absence of a father. And we have so many single parent families run by mothers, Mr. Speaker, our mothers really have to be commended. And too often there is the complaint that the fathers are not standing up to the their responsibilities, they are not carrying their weight, they are not helping. And I know this abuse is addressing this, because at the end of the definition we have what is called there financial abuse. And I believe that financial abuse is when the father who should be the provider is not coming up with the money.I know of one young man, Mr. Speaker, who said he wants to be like the Israeli Patriarch, he wants 12 sons. And he is really going about to get 12 sons you know, with various women and he is not giving not one of them a bread. Not one of them. And often times the responsibility is passed to the Welfare System, the mother comes to the Welfare System and she is looking for support for those children, when a father is working somewhere he is earning, but he is not making a contribution. I believe legislation should address this and penalties should be imposed on such people; if you intend to have children you must be prepared to support them.So, maybe, Mr. Speaker, we have to amend the legislation later on to address all of this because you really cannot pass the responsibility to the state in total. Because really what is going to happen, we build these institutions where we can house the abused children, be it house for the Girls of Guadeloupe, be it the Crisis Centre, or someplace, so we take these children and we put them there, now what we have done is that we have taken the responsibility from the parents and we have passed it on to the State. So some parents would now say boy, the State will take care of the children, give them to the Director of Family Services and it is okay, and I can go free and I can have party because the State looks after my children. So we have to make sure that this does not happen, that people stand up to their responsibilities.So while the legislation, Mr. Speaker, is progressive in its entirety and comprehensive in addressing a misnomer, it is unfortunate in the sense that, we are transferring a responsibility that is really belonging to the parent. And if we have five institutions, Mr. Speaker, where these children can be housed, how long will it take to have them filled to capacity if the situation is not addressed in the home? It is easy to take them, but the situation is not addressed, the problem is not solved by that. We have to solve the problem by making sure that we have parents who understand the law and understand their responsibility and are prepared to stand up to it. So I agree, Mr. Speaker, that definitions that are pointed out there are definitely correct and right in that sense.54Mr. Speaker, in part 3 of the legislation on page 24, I am noticing there that the parents who have children that they cannot properly control can apply to the Director for assistance. And it is noted here, it is worth underscoring on page 24 section 13,13 (1) A parent or a child may seek assistance from the director:(a) if there is a serious or persistent conflict between the parent and the child of such a nature that the safety, welfare or well-being of the child is in jeopardy; or(b) if the parent is unable to provide adequate supervision for the child to such an extent that the safety, welfare or wellbeing of the child is in jeopardy.Then you can appeal to the Director for assistance. How do children at age 13, 14, 15 become so delinquent that a mother or father can no longer control them? How did the child come so? How would you explain a young lady at age 18 who is debarred by her father from going to a particular night function, would grab a scissor and run at her father with it; how do you explain that? How did she come so? We have these children when they are babies; we are told by the psychologist that they are born in neutrality and the environment impacts them and instils in them all that they know. So if that is true and these children are born to us, without knowledge, and we are imparting to them the knowledge that they would have to make them into what they should be, it means that there is a failure somewhere, on somebody’s part that a youngster at age 14 or 15 or older would attack a parent to the extent that a parent is now seeking support and assistance from the Director of Family Services. Somebody has failed. And I believe oftentimes the failure is on the part of the parent. Do you believe the Bible? If you do, it says:“Train up the child in the way it should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.”It means that somebody did not train the young man or young woman at some point in time. And oftentimes, one of the times, Mr. Speaker, when I was a teacher, parents would come to the school bringing a young man or a young lady back to the teacher and saying, “teacher help me with this boy here, I cannot go with him.” Well, if you bring a five year to the school and say you cannot go with him, and he is five years old, well, when he is 18 years old he will go with you, because you cannot go with him. It is a situation, Mr. Speaker, that we may speak of in jest but it is serious and very annoying. That you have strong, young parents who will come tell you that they cannot go with the child. How did the child come so, that you now have to come to the State to address a situation that is now all yours. It means that we have not adequately prepared our young people for parenting, and whose responsibility is that, maybe the education system, maybe the church. But I believe there is a role, for all of us, Mr. Speaker, in ensuring that the young people who are becoming parents are up to the task. And the more they become parents at an early age, the more they are incapable of performing this task, and the more it is necessary to have legislation like these and the interventionist role of the State.Mr. Speaker, we are looking at a vicious cycle if we do not adequately address these social ills. If we do not, then it means that there will not be sufficient of these homes to put children because we are breeding them more or less.So, Mr. Speaker, the task is not as simple as we might think. That we bring legislation to take the children out of the homes, but if the homes are producing those kinds of children, you would never have enough places to55put them. So perhaps, Mr. Speaker, the interventionist approach before us, is to head off the necessity to remove the children from the homes. So seeking assistance is a good thing but you would not have to do that, Mr. Speaker, if the training and nurturing of the children is good and parents stand up to their responsibilities and nurture them well. It would not be necessary then later on to seek the assistance of the Director when it is really your fault that you did properly nurture the children. Mr. Speaker, the legislation also in part 4 section 16, is protecting the person who makes a report that there is abuse in a particular locality, in a particular home. Sometimes people do not like you to go and talk.Mr. Speaker, I will share one more thing with you from my days in teaching. I worked with one head-teacher who knew of one instance of incest from a young lady who told me that she is fed up with her father molesting her sexually at nights. So I did not know what to do. So I went to the head-teacher and I said, the child has said that she is suffering this problem, and girl was about 13. So I told the head-teacher and I said what do you want us to do? Should we report the matter to the police? He said to me, ‘Mr. Walters, you better leave it alone.’ So I said ‘why?’ ‘Me nah come from Lowmans, you know, do you want them to come and chop me up?’ And it bothered me, Mr. Speaker, that we left it alone. And in the end the young lady had to run away from the home. She ran away to live with her grandfather, and later on she was sent overseas. And I felt that we the teachers failed her then, by not reporting the abuse to make sure that there is some remedy that the man is helped and that young lady is helped also. We did not do that and I believed we failed her then. So in the schools, Mr. Speaker, teachers would have to be on the lookout for instances where children are abused one way or the other. And then may be do something about it and make a report. So the legislation to some extent is protecting anyone who makes a report that is true, that the person who is reported on, can now go to the court and say, you have defamed me, you have told lies on me and I am going to sue you. They cannot do that because a reporter is here, you are now protected. So in that sense there is some ‘positiveness’ in the legislation as we propose it.Mr. Speaker, wherever you have these societies where humans lives you will have these problems. The legislation in its entirety is addressing the situations in the homes. But I am not saying that the homes are the only places where young people are abused. Did you listen the news some time ago to see so many semi religious organizations, where young boys are molested by the Fathers or the Priests who should be taking care of them? You see all of that. And how do we know when we remove the children from their homes and hand them over to these places where people should take care of them that they would not also be abused? So we have to now put into the legislation part of it to penalize the people at these institutions should they do the same thing to these children from which you have removed them. So Mr. Speaker, it is a good thing we are doing, it is a positive thing we are doing, but it has further to go and maybe after passing it here today, we may later amend it to address these other concerns to make sure that the vicious cycle does not continue where the children should have gone for rescue.Mr. Speaker, part six deals with the removal of the abused from the situation. In part six and I would like to think, Mr. Speaker, that this should really be a last resort, when all other efforts are correcting the situation, fails, then the child has to be removed. And it is not a nice thing to remove the child, because children wants to be where their parents are but when they have grown to a certain age where they themselves know that they cannot continue they have to be removed maybe they might cooperate, but very small children may not necessarily want to be remove, so we have to try and remove the parent instead, and let the child stay home. Yes, remove the parent instead. If you have a father who is not carrying his weight financially and he is found56to be abusing his daughters, remove him, put him somewhere behind there, (jail), and let the children live in their own home.Mr. Speaker, part four, section 25, removal of the child,If the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that(a) a child is in need of protection; and (b) the health or safety of the child is in immediate jeopardy;The Director may, with the assistance of a police officer, and without the need for any further authority other than that conferred by this subsection, enter any place or premises where the child is believed to be present or to reside, and search for, locate and take the child into custody.And I am happy that you are sending the Director to do that with a police officer, because you cannot barge into people’s house and say you come for the child, they would not allow that, you will need to have the law with you, to make sure you yourself are protected while you go to remove the child.Mr. Speaker, so we pass the legislation today, I believe and I want to hope that we implement it, in its entirety and maybe amend it later to address the concerns that I am raising to make sure that the cycle is tendered at the source. Because removing the abuse where there are many, if that is the only solution we may now not have enough places to put them. We have to address the situation at the source where parents know that there is legislation to penalize them where they did not stand up to their responsibilities as parents to take care of the children.Mr. Speaker, we noticed also that when the child is removed that there is now a part for the parent to play. And the parent has not gone scotch free because you may find that they now feel good that they pull a fast one, the State has now intervened to take the child and they are now free to do as they wish, maybe to make more children, or to spend their monies as they see fit, but section 82 takes care of that, that the child is now taken from the home but it does not mean that the parent from whom the child is taken has no responsibility. For in section 82 (1) we are saying:Where a child who has a parent has been placed in an approved child care service the Court may order the parent to contribute towards the maintenance of the child.We may want to do this, Mr. Speaker, when the child is also at home. I think too many of our fathers are not contributing significantly to the child’s wellbeing and sometimes the court has to come in to do that. Mr. Speaker, when I was the Minister of Family Services some years ago, I recall one instance where a young lady came with four children to seek some assistance, so I said why the children are not in school, it is a school day. He said Mr. Walters I do not have anything to send them to school, I have no money, I have nothing. So, I said, where are the children’s father, she said she left him home sleeping. Can you imagine that? He is at home, he is sleeping, and his woman gone to the Welfare to seek something for his children. So I said to her, “no, no, no, I would not give anything to you today; tell him come for it tomorrow.” And you know he came. He came the next day. So I asked, “What you come for?” He said the woman say, he must come and I would give him something. So I said, “What you want me to give you?” He said “well, you would not give me a voucher to go57to the supermarket to get something to eat.” I said, “My man, I am not giving you a voucher. I am giving you nothing. I just want to talk to you.” He said, “Well, you do not have to talk to me.” I said, “Yeah, I am going to talk to you.” I said, “Sit down.” He sat down and I said to him, “I am ashamed of you. You home sleeping, and you send a woman with three children to the Minister to seek something, why you don’t go and look for a work.” He said, “Man, me cannot get any work.” “Where did you look?” “Nowhere” “Whom did you ask?” “No one” “What can you do?” “Me nah know.” And with that kind of an attitude, Mr. Speaker, we have a vicious cycle.And we have to address it. And I do not think the legislation has gone far enough to address that. We have to find a way, Mr. Speaker, to make these parents responsible for their children and do not think the State is responsible. And those of us who are politicians would understand this even more when you go around the constituency and you realize that you have to find something to help these young women and their children when the men have gone free.We have before us, Mr. Speaker, a vicious cycle that we have to address, and to a certain extent I commend the legislation and I would want to see it as a beginning process where we begin to address it and it must not be seen as an end in itself. We still have work to do. I therefore commend this bit of legislation, Mr. Speaker, to this Honourable House to an easy passage, and I would like to think it is comprehensive, timely, it is positive, but on the other hand, it is unfortunate that we have to bring such a thing, when in fact, our parents have failed to the extent where their responsibility is now passed to the State, but we cannot ditch it, Mr. Speaker, they are our children and we have to do something about it. But we must also do something about the delinquent parentage to make sure that they too rise to the occasion and that our children who are the ship of State would have a safe harbour, so I commend this legislation, Mr. Speaker, for safe passage, and I thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Senator CummingsHONOURABLE DANIEL CUMMINGS: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is not often that one gets an opportunity to deal with piece of this legislation of this kind. Personally, I am very heartened that we have reached this far on a subject that touches the lives of so many of our young people. And those of us on this side of this Honourable House in principle are very pleased with the attempt by the draft bill to deal with what is indeed some very vexing issues.Mr. Speaker, though we received this legislation just before the last sitting of the Parliament which is indeed a sizeable document. I have taken time to read and reread several times and to do some research and investigation into this piece of document, and I must say that the language in which the document is written is indeed very, very helpful. Oftentimes you pick up a draft bill and my colleagues who are in the legal profession seem to think that when you do not understand the language that it seems to give them some kind of advantage. I do not know. But, I must say, Mr. Speaker, the language used in this draft bill is very encouraging. As far as my layman’s interpretation of most of the things here is in sync with what the document is trying to do.Having said that, Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are more than concerned the draft bill deals with a very serious subject. And we would certainly like to see this bill sent to a select committee of the House so that some... and I listened with great interest to the Honourable Selmon Walters, this is not to say anything disparaging about the bill but it is such an important issue and it is necessary that we get the widest involvement58in the discussion and we really have not had much of a chance, if any, to make any input in this very important exercise, which is very unfortunate. And so I want to make a few observations which I hope against my experience in this House will be taken seriously.Firstly, Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that this document was done as part of the OECS legislation which is quite useful and necessary. I am not sure that many of the other members of the OECS have a Family Court. I do not know but as I go through this document. I find it hard to understand, what, if anything is the role of the Family Court in this family matter. In fact, it seems to be usurping quite a bit of the responsibility of the very important Family Court. And that puzzles me because I really do not see the link. I do not see how the Family Court, currently constituted fits into this piece of legislation at all, and that troubles me.Indeed, I look at several of the committees, of this one main committee and I do not even see any member of the Family Court, the President or else being incorporated as a committee member; that is strange, especially when you are dealing with things like adoption, and other services and so forth. The Family Court as I understand it, currently deals primarily with these issues. And I really would like an explanation as to how this legislation will impact on that court, and what, if any, will be the relationship and this new entity. And again, in making this observation, Mr. Speaker, I say I am delighted with the attempt to put some teeth to some vexing issues.Mr. Speaker, the other aspect of this bill, that I particularly like, is the deliberate attempt to give teeth to the officers to intervene strategically without having necessarily to go to the court on the basis of information, which there must be an opposition to gather, because oftentimes the timeliness of an intervention can make a big difference in the life of a young individual. And the matters we are dealing with here are indeed very touching and serious. I am really delighted that the draft legislation empowers the staff to take very swift and timely action.Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, one of my biggest disappointments in this legislation; I have been through it several times and I did not see any specific reference, and I do not know if it has been dealt with peripherally, or incidentally or its understood to be dealt with, but Mr. Speaker, in this country, or indeed many countries in the Caribbean we have a problem. We have a problem where too many of our young girls are impregnated and they go to the hospitals or other facilities and they have children and that cycle continues, because generally these children born under these conditions continue themselves to be victims of the same circumstance. I would have like to see just as the legislation requires someone in a circumstance that has information relating to other instances of abuse of the child having that responsibility to report it and if it is not reported then they can be severely fined. I like that, very much. But I would like to see that extended to sexual abuse cases in particular, Mr. Speaker, the impregnation and the acts that lead to the impregnation of children who are under the age that make it legal for people to have intercourse with children. That for me, Mr. Speaker, is on a mission which I feel very strongly about and I would have hoped that this would have been part of this. Because the way this legislation is drafted which places that responsibility on those with information. I really like that. And I would like to see the officers being empowered to take some actions.I have listened to the arguments against this kind of thing that says for example, if you do that, then the child would be borne by some quack physician and some way put the child in more harm’s way. I have a different point of view, Mr. Speaker. I believe you know, sometimes people do these things because they believe that59they can get away. And I believe that any serious attempt to bring pressure to bear on those among us who would be so ruthless in destroying young people, I think we should use this opportunity to tighten up on it.I go further, Mr. Speaker, I know of instances, where young people, young children who are either physically or mentally impaired are being abused to the point of being impregnated and the same thing should apply. These are really vexing circumstances, there are too many cases where, I do not know what overwhelms people to take do such dastardly acts. But I would like to see that also included. Mr. Speaker, the legislation quite rightly tries to use good families, hopefully, to provide alternative care for children who are abused in so many ways, and one would hope that a number of families would volunteer, to take on some of these responsibilities, because I know, Mr. Speaker, and I listened to the Honourable Minister give a figure they say, in excess of 200, but I know that is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There are far, far, too many instances where children are exposed to circumstances that are just terrible. We refer to instances even where parents pay families to look after their children. For example, children coming from the Grenadines, North of the Dry River and attending secondary school in Kingstown and so forth, there are many instances where even where families are paid, children are subject to the worst kind of abuses, Mr. Speaker. So the procedure for selecting these families, I am generally quite happy, with the hoops through which these families will have to go. The drawback with this is if you make it too stringent, then good families may be inclined not to bother with the hassle associated with it. They do not want their entire lives to be turned upside down. That would be a big disappointment. Because if a child can find a family environment that is wholesome it is so much better, especially when they are children of similar ages; it can be so much better than being placed in a hostel or similar things.Having said that, though, Mr. Speaker, one has got to be aware that with the best of intentions there will not be sufficiency of those kinds of services, so I will like to see with the limited resources available to, that the government would move swiftly to provide some well-run institution that can handle kids in certain circumstances. Perhaps, in conjunction with some service organizations, especially when it comes to the management of those facilities because government really cannot be involved in everything but government can play a lead role in assisting in the infrastructure, in assisting and paying some of the cost in helping to fund, in helping in the management and control of suitable facilities to take the burden off the children and families and I agree again with the Minister, sometimes it is not the fault of the parents, sometimes the children have difficulties and the parents are not in a position to understand the children and the environment simply makes live miserable for both child and parent. So we really need to look at all of that, and of course, one has to hope that this whole question of parenting should be given some very serious consideration within the ambit of the Family Services. Because oftentimes you know, we sit back and say, because someone is the mother or father of the child that they are qualified to give the guidance that is necessary. I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, some of these parents have never had the chance to be a child much else a parent. It is a simple reality and so some attempt has to be made to assist young parents in a number of things. Having made a mistake once, for example, to help them understand, we have cross that hurdle, settle down, try to look after the child and yourself, and delay for as long as possible going back into that situation, because oftentimes what you see, Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I see this all too often, very sad, it is not one, it is two, three and four children and the mother is not yet 20. It is frightening. You encounter it. So there is really need for some serious parenting assistance.60Mr. Speaker, on page 68, in the section dealing with, I have to go back to find it, anyway page 68, I am not sure I understand the role of the Minister in this draft bill. What the detailed role that the Minister plays in most of these things. It seems to me that the Minister goes well beyond setting policy and he is supposed to get involved in some of the nitty gritty and that bothers me but in the process... I am dealing specifically now, with Clause 99 as it relates to the Adoption Committee. It seems from what I am reading here that in the process of adoption, if one has a problem with the committees ruling, there is an appeals body which is appointed to review the work of the adoption committee. And again, I indicated earlier, I really believe that the President of the Family Court ought to be part of that Adoption Committee, in one form or the other either there or in the appeals committee, whichever is more practical. But, in deciding on the appeal, this committee, the clause before that, on page 68, section 3 of the previous clause:In conducting an inquiry a review panel: [that is the correct term,](a)(b) (c)shall act without regard to technicalities and legal form. Well, I am not sure I understand what that means, but,they shall not be bound by rules of evidence andmay inform itself on any matter in such manner as it thinks fit, including the interviewing the applicant who applied for the review.When you say, it seems to be very general, and really does not help in my mind. For example, it does not exclude the panel from including rumours, it is rather vague, the terms, under which they ought to decide. Then the next clause is what really gives me problem. Having decided the review panel submits its findings to the Minister and the Minister shall, I believe, shall pass that on to the committee, the adoption committee. and I believe from what I read here that:99. The Adoption Committee shall, [have to take on board,] the decision of the review panel, cause it says,The adoption committee shall, as soon as practicable, after receiving the recommendation of the review panel in respect of an application for review from the Minister:(a) review its decision, taking into account the recommendations of the review panel; and (b) give written notice to the applicant of the outcome of the review.So I take it to mean that the committee shall be directed by the review panel through the Minister.Mr. Speaker, what if the review panel, if I go back to clause 96 it gives the condition under which the decision may be reviewed, Clause 96 says:96. An Applicant who is aggrieved by a decision of the adoption Committee made pursuant to section 95, may, not later than two weeks after the date of receipt of the written notice of the decision from the Adoption Committee, make an application to the Minister in prescribed form for review of that decision on the grounds that the assessment of the applicant by the Adoption Committee was incorrect.61Mr. Speaker, how does one determine that the decision by the committee was incorrect and it does not give any further explanation, I am again, and I ask this as a person who does not attempt to profess to understand anything about the law, but it seems to me rather vague? So it is on that basis, therefore, you go on to what I was talking before. What if the review panel makes the same incorrect decision? There does not seem to be in my opinion any recourse to any other appeal. It seems as the matter rests, with the decision of the Minister, and I say this, I say that it does not appear so to me because later on in this bill, towards the end, it speaks of an appeal process to other subjects where you can appeal. The matters go firstly to the High Court and you can appeal to the higher court, the Court of Appeal. And again, I take that to mean that you can go no further than the Court of Appeal. But in this case there seems not to be any opportunity and I simply raise it and I hope the legal minds would clear up my doubts and my confusion. Because it seems to me, in reading this bill that the buck stops with the Minister and there seems to be no other recourse for appeal. But then again that is my layman’s interpretation of the act.And finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a comment on the section of the bill which deals with the establishment of the Office of the Directorate of Family services as amended. Section 6 and 7 deal with the office and functions of the Directorate of Family Services there is established with the Ministry etcetera, the Office of the Director of Family Services.The Office of the Directorate shall consist of a Director of Family Services and such suitable and qualified staff as is necessary for the effective carrying out of the provisions of this Act.Then in Section 7 Mr. Speaker, goes on to deal with quite a few functions, significant work to be done by the Director, provide services for more development, which is talk. And it goes on to deal with specific functions, promote and safeguard safety, assess and investigate, or cause an assessment to be undertaken or report should be assessed and investigated pursuant to part 5, very good work.(c) To oversee the operation and the delivery of childcare services;(d) To establish with the approval of a Minister policies and procedures respecting all aspects of the childcare services;I particularly like this clause,Establish with the approval of the Minister policies and procedures respecting all aspects of childcare services. . (g)  Provide consultation and direction to relevant authorities respecting childcare services in accordance with this Act. Establish procedures for delegation et cetera; advise the Minister on matters relating to childcare services programme et cetera. . (h)  to determine in association with Adoption Committee the manner in which a child is selected for adoption; This one has me rather confused. It is very vague. It is not specific. And I do not know, how that is going to be done.62 . (i)  To establish guidelines for the conduct of negotiations entered into by the Adoption Committee with a parent who wishes to have the child selected by the Adoption Committee to be placed for adoption in accordance with this Act; . (j)  to receive applications made under section 94; . (k)  to assess, on the advice of the Adoption Committee, the suitability of a person to adopt a child; and lastly . (l)  to establish and maintain an Adoption list pursuant to section 100; This last one it needs some attention, because in section 100 that is the role of the Adoption Committee, not the Director. It is very clearly stated, so you have two persons doing the same thing, establishing and maintaining the Adoption List, it needs to be determined who does it, is it the committee or is it the Director. Section 100 is very clear, on the role of the committee. I think that needs to be reviewed. But, Mr. Speaker, the point I want to make mostly on this, is that while these are very, very useful and important services and quite a bit, it is a lot of work. And while the Act simply says, you appoint a director, it does not say anything about the conditions, the qualifications and so on, it is too important a role to be so vague about it. I think this is a very vital key officer. And I would rather see some more beef on how this person is selected, experience, et cetera, I do not know. And then same thing applies because, without the necessary support staff, I would like to see some more details, you know, it says the office of the directorIt shall consist of a Director and such suitably qualified staff.It sounds good, but for such an important role and I have seen change in role of that division, I would like to see some more specifics on how, you know, what kind of persons you would want to be recruiting. Whether for example that staff would have legal services provided, in what form and fashion, because a lot of these things would require, at least, paralegal, if not legal assessment, or at least guidance. So one would rather like to see more substance on the qualifications, Mr. Speaker, for the Director and the type of staff which he or she may require.Mr. Speaker, as I began, we on this side of the House, are delighted in principle, with what this bill seeks to do. We see areas of concern that can be amended, and we humbly request that more time be given to take this bill to a select committee where some discussions for possible amendments can take place. And I thank you.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Further debate on the Bill? Minister Browne? Ooh sorry.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, I rise to give support to this bill, Children Care and Adoption Bill that is before the Honourable House for debate this afternoon. It is quite voluminous. And it sent me back to some searches on the internet to look for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to ensure that we are in fact, keeping in step with the other 190 countries. I believe that we have already ratified this convention and we have done so since 1993. St. Vincent and the Grenadines did signed and subsequently ratified this Convention on the Rights of the Child. And in the time when we had the opportunity to be working in the legal profession before the bar, there were issues that would frequently would arise that we had no way of addressing other than by convention or practice63of what took place in the Ministry of Social Development, and Welfare Services. And it is a welcoming gesture to now have a legal framework that would assist practitioners in advising families and individuals and concerned persons what procedures are required by law to be taken and what you ought to do to ensure that the child’s rights are secured.Mr. Speaker, in looking at the first part that deals with the administration, there were some clause 5, I think it is, in dealing with the administration of the Act. I realize that the Social Services and Family Services Division, has been beefed up over the years incrementally and the legislation pre-supposes that you would have an adequacy of staff to be able to address the multifaceted nature of the functions that are required under this legislation; as are set out in clause 7 under the rubric of Function of the Director. It is not anticipated that the Director himself or herself will personally do all of these functions but of necessity must have the support staff with the necessary qualifications and the competencies to carry out these functions and in the presentation made by the mover of this bill we did not detail them; so for those persons who are listening, Mr. Speaker, it would be useful to be able to give a rundown of what these functions are, because there is a deep interest, I have gathered from certain of my associates in this legislation as to how they would be able to adequately advise. It says for example in clause 72 thatThe director shall have the following functions, . (a)  to promote and safeguard the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a child; . (b)  to assess and investigate or to cause an assessment to be undertaken or reports to be assessed and investigated pursuant to Part V; . (c)  to oversee the operation and delivery of the childcare services; . (d)  to establish, with the approval of the Minister, policies and procedures respecting all aspects of the childcare services; . (e)  to provide consultation and direction to the relevant authorities respecting childcare services in accordance with this Act; . (f)  to establish procedures for the delegation of his or her duties and to establish policies respecting the direction and supervision of such delegation; \ . (g)  to advise the Minister and other persons on matters relating to child care services, programmes, facilities and resources necessary to carry out the requirements under this Act; . (h)  to determine in association with the Adoption Committee the manner in which a child is selected for adoption; 64 . (i)  to establish guidelines for the conduct of negotiations entered into by the Adoption Committee with a parent who wishes to have the child selected by the Adoption Committee to be placed for adoption in accordance with this Act; . (j)  to receive applications made under section 94; . (k)  to assess, on the advice of the Adoption Committee, the suitability of a person to adopt a child; . (l)  to establish and maintain an Adoption list pursuant to section 100; So I feel relatively sure that in light of the fact that you have this legislation, that is so comprehensive, so wide and so deep in its scope that we have to beef up the directorate in the Ministry of Social Development and Welfare Services. And not only that, we in providing that when you speak about suitably qualified staff, I am quite sure that you have to have legal services attached to this new directorate, because as you would realize that the legal profession is no longer a small one, but it challenges will definitely be mounted to the authority under the Act, as may be interpreted by the directorate as against what the legal interpretation has challenged in a court of law, what would be the responses and the acceptable interpretation according to law. Mr. Speaker, I also took note of the clause 11,It speaks that: The Minister shall appoint the Adoption Committee in accordance with section 85.And you have to read it very carefully until you get to the end where the Minister has to make regulation. And you would have heard when he moved the legislation, the Honourable Minister indicated that regulations have not yet been made, but these regulations will have to go into some detail in relation to some of these matters because of cross cutting issues dealing with other civil responsibilities. And also we have to deal with the responsibility as the Honourable Member here for South Central Windward indicating what are you going to do with the parents, because the legislation is weighted very strongly, especially in the child care section of the bill for the government, and we have to be careful that while the government has the overarching and the overreaching responsibility for the safety and security of its citizens that parents do not just decide that they would do the biological thing, nine months drop the baby and the care people would look after it. It may sound like it is ridiculous but I speak with experience of having served on the adoption board, from 1980 for about four years and having practiced in the High Court of Justice actively for 15 years. You would be amazed at the things people believed that government is supposed to do for them.Mr. Speaker, I also take a look at the section dealing with the fines and the penalties, in the reporting cases, one of the issues that I encountered and I speak from my experience is the reluctance, marked reluctance of individuals to report. Because overriding consideration is what is going to happen to the family? Because most times the first port of call when you are looking at issues relating to the possibility of criminal action to be taken, you have to look right at home. And there has always been that reluctance and it is difficult when you stand sometimes in a court of law and you are waiting on the virtual complainant to arrive and they simply do not arrive. They simply do not arrive. So I am indeed pleased to see that even where between clause 14 and 16,65in the reporting section, where they must be not any delay and have the police officer to send in the information and for the directorate to rely on that information. The question is getting the information in the first place. There is a marked reluctance of persons to give that information. They do not want their family members to go to jail. But I see her in clause 14 (5),:Who fails to comply with subsection 2 would be committing an offence and will be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to a term not exceeding three months.And it could be painful, piercing when someone is told that they would rather go to jail themselves. “I might as well go over”, they used to call it ‘Mason Hotel’ or the ‘Mason Hilton’ “than say anything.” So it really calls for a lot of firm action when this legislation comes into effect alongside with the regulations because I myself have seen certain gaps where it needs to be tightened. Perhaps in the regulation you will be able to tighten some of those gaps so that we will indeed see justice being done for the persons it is intended to protect in this legislation.And in the Support Services, clauses 19 to 22, the provision of support services for the child or his or her family and the development of a care plan or for the removal of that child. This is a very welcome set of legislation and provisions here, because you had to rely principally on the professionalism of the person administering what happens when that child, an intervention is made, what happens in the period of the investigation and the assessment. What happens to the family and the child during that period? And it is excellent to see that provision has been made for that and also where the director will use alternative dispute resolution as an appropriate procedure before moving on to an application to the Court. So there will still be the intervention of the court to ensure that the rights of all parties,... you do not get an overzealous director who might think they can replace the court and make their own judgment in relation to this without having the opportunity to move on even though you are using the alternative dispute resolution, -- human nature they are frail. You know these frailties. And sometimes persons get more caught up in position of authority rather than applying what the law is, or the provision is to solve the problem but rather to secure position by solving the problem by going to alternative dispute; that failing you go to the court and you get... making sure all parties have the opportunity to be heard and the rights of all the parties are taken care of.The emergency provisions as well from clause 25 to 31, those are welcome because I had to work with child services before and again it was more or less using the network. You get a knock on your door or a phone call asking if you could take this young lady for me tonight Miss B; the situation just cannot, I just cannot leave that child in that position. And as I said we have been working on goodwill and moral sense and these provisions having them put as expressed provisions of the law would indeed help to protect all parties. Because in one case I remembered the young woman would not for ‘digans’, she would just sit in the living room and she would not go any further. She would not move, she was so traumatized, that you had to try and get other people who knew her and call people late in the night and I must compliment the Ministry because they have moved very assiduously to get the half-way house at Kingstown Park; the Crisis Centre. It is almost completed because I pass there at least twice a week so this is somewhere where we can start to do, have this facility, because it is a great disservice to prepare legislation; you have the law on the books but you do not have the institutional capacity to help that law indeed to carry out the purpose for which it is intended. And in relation to part... the care orders that are to be made and interim nature of the care orders that is also welcome. And the maximum66period of three years or until the child reaches the age of 18 years and where it must be reviewed from the period when the order is first made where it can be reviewed every 90 days is also an excellent provision, because we do know circumstances change, family circumstances can change, and even the person who originally may have the order for the care or where the care order may have been directed may themselves encounter changed circumstances over the period of time that the original and first interim order was in fact made. And seeing that the court on its own motion or director can get an order for a supervision order is a welcome provision as well.As I understood from the Honourable Minister who moved this bill that we are moving in concert with the OECS policy position, and the draft that came out that this is so good for us because we must realize that one of the issues that sometimes arises is that parents leave their children with one person and they gone to St. Lucia or Dominica. And we find ourselves virtually stuck because not always, because we are common law jurisdiction you do have differences in the law, in St. Lucia and Dominica because of certain basis of their own laws in this respect and it is hoped that the other countries are moving along the same way. Because St. Vincent is well known now to always take the first step, ready and willing and this process of integration and us being on the same page, that we hope that everybody will be on the same page, more or less within the same timeframe.In relation to the adoption provisions it is useful... let me see... I see that we have maintained the position of having the age at which you can adopt and the only person who can adopt under that age would have to be a relative but you must be 21 and a relative or 25 and had maintain the provisions as well dealing with persons where a child of the opposite sex can be adopted and what would be the provisions that the Clause 92, I am anxiously awaiting to see the adoption committee, the constitution of the adoption committee because the previous adoption Act which was the 1960 Act you had an adoption board, the magistrate was the chair and the other members and in order to proceed to the adoption the applications would come to the board and there would be a case committee that would be assigned and each of us at the time when I served you would be given three or four cases and you make sure that you follow up with the Welfare Department on the various reports that are required that the information sent on the forms are correct and in fact, it had something to do with both parties because you know, as I said the frailties of human nature what can happen. The adoption committee replaces the adoption board and puts the director again as the chairperson. And I am making the assumption that because the directorate would have adequacy of staff that it would permit adoptions to move quickly.I have had the experience where sometimes adoptions, even though they say that you will have to have the child for about six months, that period has not changed. In this new regime that adoptions used to take something like upwards of two years or three years to be completed because the adoption board was way-down and they were lapses and difficulties because the same department that is having to provide the reports of the home visits is the same committee that has to go and deal with the everyday things that are coming across their desks. And I hope that it would see a smooth transition to permit the adoption board to do this. In the previous legislation; yes you can make an application as a person overseas, to adopt a child and also there were a preference in the previous adoption law to permit particularly Commonwealth citizens.Now I see the regime which is in keeping with the provisions of the Convention of the Right of the Child to allow inter-country adoption, because we had no regime to permit that, but it was done. It had to do a lot of work through consulates, all the time to get the information back and forth and it was quite an expensive67venture to do an overseas adoption. And I see provision is here make for the memoranda to be established and you have the opportunity to do that adoption. We get some horror stories which we see unfolding on television, where people from North America adopting children coming out from Eastern Europe and you see the type of horror stories where insufficient information was given in relation to the mental status of these children that they purported to adopt or alternatively you start having baby buying. So we have to be very cognizant.Trafficking in children, we had to deal with some reports earlier this year to indicate that St. Vincent and the Grenadines what we strongly had to deal that report which was an adverse report against in relation to trafficking with children. One of the things we have, because sometimes the mother’s name is one name, the father’s name is another name, and the child is going to meet his mother and circumstances again, because of our matriarchal society where the mothers and the grandmothers are the caregivers. You could ask ‘Joyce’ in relation to this. What happens where children are left and then suddenly you hear, well I am up there but I cannot take care of the child, I got somebody to adopt the child so we got to be always aware of those types of situations that can possibly happen.Finally, Mr. Speaker, the transitional provisions and the miscellaneous provisions and the provision for the Minister to make rules, I am looking forward to the rules. Because while this provides the legislative framework, it is the rules that assist you with the implementation and execution of what is the intention of this Parliament with this bill that is before it today. I want to support the bill. I heard the reservations that were made in relation to certain perceived gaps in the legislation, and I do believe that in putting the regulations together there will be some bridges that can be built but we have given the legislation an opportunity to work and then see what can be done in relation to it. I wish this legislation safe passage through this Honourable House and for us to bear in mind. That this is not an academic exercise it is real people, real children, real parents that would be required.I see provisions in here about counselling and guidance et cetera, it is a whole new frame and I am hoping that persons who are involved in this exercise that we can have enough funding to be able to do some serious work with organizations because there is in the legislation provision for nongovernmental organsiations to be partnering with the Minister in assisting him in carrying out the policy direction of the legislation. That we can have some funding to do some serious work with non-governmental organizations especially those that have as part of their focus to deal with the girl child and with children such as the YWCA, Soroptomist International and I know that the other service clubs that do assist with children from time to time and it was good to see legislative provisions expressly made in this legislation but it is a serious piece of legislation and it would require a great deal of work and as staff, a little beyond what is currently on the books and in the ministry. But we have to not be discouraged by not having the sufficiency to start off with, but we have to start somewhere because we do not have anything at all dealing with care. Even though we have a legislation 50 years old which is dealing with adoption we must move within the new framework because of what has been happening, the unfolding of what is happening in the world of adoptions in the 21st century. So I wish the legislation safe passage through this Honourable House.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: No further debate? Honourable Minister of Social Welfare. HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I begin bythanking Honourable Members for their contributions to this very important bit of legislation. I have listened68very carefully to the comments made in the interventions made by the Honourable Members and I want to thank them for their observations. I want to recall to this Honourable House that we are at the culmination of a process that started in 2001, sub-regionally, that is to say stemming from what was observed as the limitations of various pieces of legislation in the OECS as they pertain to child care and adoption. We had this undertaking of consultations on this very bit of legislation and I introduced the bill this afternoon with a commentary extracted from one of the booklets, concerning that history since 2001, including the history of consultations. Not only were these consultations sub-regional, that is to say in the OECS but most definitely there were a series of consultations here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines spearheaded by our Ministry under my predecessor Ministers, Honourable Girlyn Miguel and Honourable Selmon Walters, the two on my immediate right. So there have been some history and we believe there has been adequate ventilation of a lot of the issues; as the last member indicated we will not be able to resolve all of these issues and we have to put the act into operation. We may see certain limitations may emerge that we will address through regulations and otherwise. But we do believe that it has been a long process. A decade to craft this legislation is indeed a long time and hence we do not support the view that it should be further delayed given the urgency of the matter by sending it to select committee. I want to remind Honourable Members of the object of the bill and to note that the centrality here on a child. The child is the central focus. I ask Honourable Members to turn to page 15 again, clause 3 (1),“The primary purpose of this Act is to protect children from abuse and neglect and to ensure that the best interests of the child is given paramount consideration in all matters relating to the child.”We must not lose sight of what this legislation is about. There is a raft of legislation that touches different aspects and emphasizes other aspects as they connect with family and children and so on. This particular one puts the child central and we must not lose sight of that, that it is the purpose for us to prevent abuse of our children. Put them in care to ensure that their lives are enhanced and that they are removed from those areas of neglect and abuse.Concerning the issue raised by the Honourable Member for South Central Windward that there may be an inadequacy in the bill concerning how we treat delinquent and abusive parents, I would like to ask our Honourable Member to turn to page 87 again to clause 137 and to note that indeed we have tried to address that in the legislation:A person who;(a) Having responsibility for the care and protection of a child causes the child to be in need of care and protection;And there is an earlier section on page 12 that deals with need and care and protection and that that person, and we jump to page 88, turn over to page 88, still on clause 137:Such a parent commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years.69So under that section, that part 16 that deals with offences, there is a firm way of dealing with such parents and in addition to that of course, there are different bits of legislations I am advised including the criminal code which addresses many of these aspects.The last Honourable Member who spoke made reference to the issue of counselling because we still want to address a lot of these issues in a manner that is not punitive, if one may say. And I want to remind the Honourable House for example, in relation to the 2006 legislation, the Education Act that we spent a lot of years crafting that has been the frame to borrow the language of the Honourable Member for West Kingstown, that has been the frame that we have been approaching a number of these things. Not simply punitive but really to try and resolve a lot of these issues but using the court as playing a leading role, given the gravity of this matter that is confronting us. And in Education Act that is again the approach that if a child for example is truant and is not going to school, you address the causes and you work with the family in addressing the causes rather than simply saying oh, under the law you are guilty and therefore you should be punished, penalized and so on. We have a much more holistic approach to this matter than might hitherto for been the case.With regards to the several issues raised by the Honourable Senator Cummings, please be guided by the fact that the Family Court has its own Act and it has its own mandate at a certain level. This legislation reflecting the seriousness and indeed the concern and the gravity of the matters before us with child abuse the court under this Act is the High Court that we are addressing. The issue of child abuse of young girls being impregnated including those who might be challenged. I think the very argument by the Honourable Senator underscores the urgency of this legislation as to why we should be pushing it. I can tell you Honourable Member that if you sit where I do sit, as Minister in that Ministry, with the staff that I work with and the pressures that they are under and the constraints that they are under. They are not under pressures but they are constraints because of the absence of certain measures, legislative measures that could strengthen their action. So it is like between a rock and a hard place as the saying goes. They want to take action but they are afraid they cannot do much because they do not have the legislative anchor to move forward. We have to confront these cases. I can give you a litany of what we are facing, you know, I mean it will be really depressing at this time of the evening, if I were to give real cases that have come to my attention here as Minister. But just to make the point that those cases stress the urgency of this legislation and while I appreciate your concern I remind you that it has been long in coming and it is really critically needed. With regard the role of the Minister, I think we all would appreciate that by placing this as an urgent, high priority issue there clearly has to be a role, should we say the leading figure, in the Ministry in the form of the Minister and therefore he is expected to provide some leadership within both policy and administratively, policy wise and administratively in the Ministry on this particular matter and that has been one of the underpinnings of this bit of legislation.With regards the concern about parenting, we do in fact, have on-going programmes in our ministry. We have parenting education, in fact, the CAP programme, Children Against Poverty, to which the Minister of Education referred earlier. We have a strong component, parenting component here and this is something which is on- going.Concerning the specific issue raised by the Honourable Senator with regard the role on the adoption list by the Director of Family Services and the adoption committee. I think it is very clear that under this section that deals with the role of the Director. It makes it abundantly clear, that he is acting, not to duplicate the work of the70adoption committee with regards the list but pursuant to clause 100, in other words he must operate within the framework of that clause. I take the concerns on board from the Honourable Members and note that in terms of the way forward we have to indeed legislatively deal in terms of the legal aspect of it, we have to deal with the regulations. We do not have a draft of the legislations here, and these regulations of course, will provide a modus for us to clarify and fine tune some of the issues, some of which have been raised here this afternoon.The Honourable Member for West Kingstown emphasize and I take it on board, the importance of strengthening the administrative structure given the wide ranging role imposed on the Family Affairs Division by this bit of legislation and clearly for us to execute this there has to be some almost an administrative revolution in the Division of Family Affairs. Because it really places a lot of emphasis on. I indicated earlier that this is a section of my Ministry that my heart goes out to, because they are constantly under the hammer. They deal with crisis, the ugliest side of society. If you want to see how this society has an ugly side, spend a day down at Family Affairs Division. It is. You would not believe it, sometimes what they have to put up with. And of course it has financial implications and perhaps it is opportune and fitting that we are doing it at this time because I think we are in the mode for preparing for the budget 2011 which of course we on this side would be implementing, so that we put certain things in electoral perspective. We are expected to implement the budget 2011 and of course we will take these matters on board.Once again I thank the Honourable Members for their contributions and Mr. Speaker, I think it is now up to me to move that the Honourable House resolves itself into a committee of the whole House to consider the bill clause by clause. Thank you.HONOURABLE RENE BAPTISTE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. House went into committee. House resumed. Bill passes committee stage with minor amendments.HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the third reading of a bill for an Act to provide for the care and protection of children, the operation of adoption services and other related matters be read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.Bill read a third time by title and passed. STATUS OF CHILDREN BILL, 2010page71image2305671HONOURABLE MICHAEL BROWNE: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the introduction and first reading of a bill for an Act the Status of Children Bill 2010. This bill seeks to provide for equal status of children and for connected purposes.HONOURABLE GIRLYN MIGUEL: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Question put and agreed to.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members the question is a bill for an Act to provide for the incorporation of the Full in the Spirit Pentecostal Church Incorporated Bill 2010 and for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith be read a third time by title and passed as many of that opinion say aye, as many of the contrary say no.Question put and agreed to. Bill read a third time by title and passed.HONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members the question is a bill for an Act to provide for the incorporation of the Community Baptist Church Incorporated Bill 2010 be read a third time by title and passed. As many of that opinion say aye, as many of the contrary say no.Question put and agreed to. Bill read a third time by title and passed.ADJOURNMENTHONOURABLE MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to suggest the Tuesday 28th of September, 2010. We are trying to target a date sometime in November for the Estimates, and I am working out with the Ministry of Finance on a particular date for that and also the budget. That would be broadly speaking the work for the Parliament for this year in addition to the bills which are in the pipeline.Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House do stand adjourned until Tuesday September 28th at 10 a.m.HONOURABLE CLAYTON BURGIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.Question put and agreed to. House adjourned at 6:10 p.m. Until Tuesday September 28th at 10 a.m.72