Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Saint Christopher and Nevis) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 Receives Safe Passage Through the Federal Parliament

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 10, 2019 (SKNIS): After much debate, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St. Christopher and Nevis) (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was aimed at amending the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St. Christopher and Nevis) Act, Cap. 3.11., was passed in the Federal Parliament on Thursday, May 09.

Attorney General, the Honourable Senator Vincent Byron Jr., said that the “Bill is an amendment which is as a consequence of the amendment to the Prison Act.”

“In other words, it is not unusual for an amendment of one law to affect another law. When this happens, that other law should also be modified to avoid inconsistencies in the statute book. Mr. Speaker, this is therefore simply a tidying up exercise for the purpose of making our laws more user-friendly,” said the attorney general. “Mr. Speaker, as was already intimated, this practice is to assist the users of the law to more easily determine the current state of legislation…

Amendment by implication is less desirable than an actual express amendment. What this means is, by amending the Prison Act, our legal system, by implication, now recognizes that the ‘Commissioner of Corrections’ would have oversight over the prisons in the federation and this would apply to all relevant laws since the later law would generally prevail over earlier laws. It is however, best practice to explicitly update any law affected by an amendment,” the attorney general added.

He noted that “users of the law would then be clearly guided, and they would not have to make their own determination as to what Parliament intended”.

Senator Byron spoke to the amendment of Section 58 of the Act.

“Mr. Speaker, section 58 subsection (4) of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St. Christopher and Nevis) Act, Cap. 3.11 mandates that the High Court Registrar takes certain actions in relation to ‘Superintendent of Prisons’ and it mandates the ‘Superintendent’ to take certain actions in relation to prisoners,” he said. “The position of Superintendent, however, has now been replaced under the law by the passing into law of the Prison (Amendment) Bill in this sitting of National Assembly.”

The attorney general said that the amendment to the Act falls in line with that of a “healthy democracy” which includes “respect and adherence to the rule of law”.

“Part and parcel of this concept is that of due process. This contemplates the right to be able to access the courts in a manner that is transparent and fair and if a person is dissatisfied with a decision at first instance, to avail that person of every opportunity to pursue his or her matter to the full extent of the law,” said the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr.

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