KINGSTON, Feb. 7 (JIS): Regulations guaranteeing automatic removal of an offender’s criminal record for convictions relating to the smoking or possession of small quantities of ganja are currently being drafted by the Ministry of Justice.
This is one of several key provisions being facilitated under the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Act 2014, which came into effect in October last year.
Providing details of this development, Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, informed that the regulations are expected to be ready for him to sign by next week, after which they will be brought to Parliament to be approved.
The Minister was addressing a Town Hall Meeting relating to this landmark legislation, held at the St. Andrew High School for Girls in St. Andrew on February 5.
The Minister explained that previously, under the law, automatic expungement of these records would be a discretionary matter for the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Board, and persons would not necessarily be entitled to it.
“It is a discretionary remedy. But in the case of the small quantity of ganja or smoking, you do not have to wait for any rehabilitation period. You can immediately apply for expungement and you’re immediately entitled to it; there is no discretion, it’s a right that you have,” the Minister said.
He noted that this new provision is already being implemented administratively by the Criminal Records Office where, if persons apply for their criminal record, and it is seen where there is a conviction for smoking or possession of a small amount of ganja, that record will be expunged before it is issued. “So, you don’t even have to go to the Board,” the Minister explained.
Mr. Golding said this “really is a transformational amendment, because of the fact that the convictions for ganja had affected so many people,” pointing out that between 2012 and 2014, the Ministry received 2,881 applications for expungement, before this legislation was brought into effect.
Of that number, 1,788 were approved, 147 were refused, and the others were either returned for one reason or another or deferred.
Senator Golding said that having a criminal record “for what was, in fact, a very minor and common offence” had serious disabling effects for persons, because it meant that they were unable to gain employment with the Government, and they could not apply for a visa successfully for certain countries.
The Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act removes the additional rehabilitation period prescribed in the Act (1988) and adjusts the rehabilitation period stipulated in the Act. It further provides for expungement of the criminal records for other minor offences.
The Town Hall Meeting was staged by the Justice Ministry and covered topics including: overview of the amended legislation; automatic expungement for minor offences; qualification for expungement; and the application process for expungement.
Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.
Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests. The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.
The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:
- House of Assembly in Grand Turk
- Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
- Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.
For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:
By telephone at: 946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU
#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.
This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.
This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper, was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”
The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.
Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”
Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.
Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.
Guyana to build regional food hub
#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.
In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.
“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean. What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have. We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”
Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.
Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.
In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh, Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.
Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.
Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.
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