Commission to be established to keep St. Kitts and Nevis laws up to date
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrice Nisbett
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 3RD 2011 (CUOPM) – Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett says the Revised Edition of the Laws of St. Christopher and Nevis will be kept up to date every year.
He said Government’s long term plan will see the preparation and publication of new and replacement pages including all the latest laws made in St. Christopher and Nevis.
Attorney General Nisbett said Government is currently considering setting up an appropriate house-keeping mechanism to ensure that new and replacement pages are periodically prepared to keep the Revised Edition up to date and in that connection, Government intends to set up a Law Commission.
He said the Commission shall keep the Revised Edition periodically up dated and in doing so, shall carry out the following major activities.
“Keep the electronic database of the Revised Edition and be responsible for its maintenance; Update the database to the current date by inserting new laws in a logical manner (by allotting new chapter numbers). To avoid disasters, especially in the early years, copies of the official electronic laws database would be kept safe and untouched in various places, including places which are outside Saint Christopher and Nevis; Organize CDs and an internet site containing the latest edition of the revised edition as there are constant requests from the regional and international community to have access to the general body of the laws in electronic format via the websites leave alone public demand in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said the Attorney General.
He also disclosed that the Law Commission will organize the production of annual volumes of laws as enacted and made as this will still be necessary whether or not the Revised Edition is itself kept updated and make recommendations and prepare Law Revision (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bills to correct and perfect and improve “house-keeping” aspects of the law that may crop up during the law revision process.
Attorney General Nisbett said the Law Commission will also be responsible for keeping under constant review the statutes and other laws comprising the laws of St. Christopher and Nevis with a view to making recommendations for their improvement, modernization and reform.
“This is intended to ensure that the law is as fair, modern, simple and cost effective as possible, while retaining the best from the past. Further, the Commission would ensure that the reform of the law is principled, based on sound methods, and takes into account views of not only experts, but also of civil society,” said Mr. Nisbett.
He added that the Commission would be guided by the fact that law reform typically aims to improve protection for the vulnerable, sustain the rule of law and to increase human rights; and that law reform has to be respected, reliable, rigorous and responsive.
“The Commission would be a catalyst of change, responsive both to the public it is intended to serve and to the latest issues and challenges in the world, and not to simply patch up the law,” said the Hon. Attorney General.
“Government had long recognized that a project of this nature could only serve to enhance the constitutional tenets of peace, order and good governance. Moreover, the revision and consolidation of all existing written laws would also promote a greater degree of transparency and accountability, consistent with a robust and contemporary application of the principles of natural justice and upholding the rule of law,” said the Attorney General.
The Law Revision Commissioner, Mr. Israel Mukasa, succeeded in signing off on the Revised Edition in June, 2009, and to have the same published before the end of March, 2010.
The Revised Edition is now the authoritative version of the laws of Saint Christopher and Nevis.
He said that the Project has been done at a very reasonable cost compared to similar projects done elsewhere in the region and the Commonwealth.
“Three persons have been trained in Desk Top Publishing, and they now possess sufficient skills in the maintenance of the electronic database that has been created, which means that periodic updates will now be possible and will be carried out at a reasonable cost.
Government received 50 sets of the Revised Edition of the laws at no extra cost and is receiving some royalty from the sale of the laws.
“Dispensation of justice has been positively impacted, greater certainty in the legal system has been achieved and Investor confidence is on the increase,” said the Hon. Attorney General.