Government Working to ‘Give Teeth’ to Critical Legislation Such as Integrity in Public Life, Anti-Corruption and Freedom of Information

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 15, 2022 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, during his Budget Address 2023, highlighted that the Government is doing significant work to guarantee that the Integrity in Public Life (Amendment) Bill, Anti- Corruption Bill and Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, are soon tabled in the Parliament, enacted into law, and ‘given teeth’.

Although the Integrity in Public Life Bill and Freedom of Information Bill were passed into law in 2018 under the Dr. Timothy Harris Administration, they were never fully operationalized.

“Plans are advancing for the tabling of the Integrity in Public Life (Amendment) Bill, the Anti-Corruption Bill and the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill. Further, we also plan to continue with the important reforms related to the public procurement regime. We expect that these legislative interventions once enacted will set the stage for a new paradigm in St. Kitts and Nevis, one that is premised on the deterrent of corruption and the upholding of the rule of law…I remember when the first head of that unit had to use his own credit card to start operations because the government would not provide funds, and it shows therefore that there was no real political will to introduce these legislations,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.

The legislative framework outlined by Prime Minister Dr. Drew is aimed at improving the functioning of the Public Service and improving accountability mechanisms with the goal of ridding the system of abuse and unethical behavior.

“We intend to discuss with the people before all of this is done. But I am stressing it because it is important that we advance governance mechanisms. Already, we have proven that this government intends to have an ambitious legislative agenda. In four short months, we have already had four sittings of the National Assembly, where the following pieces of legislation were enacted—the Public Health Amendment Act, the Civil Aviation Amendment Act, the Companies Amendment Act, the Small Business Amendment Act and the Domestic Violence Amendment Act. We have been doing a lot of work and we intend to keep working for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said the Prime Minister.

The Attorney General’s Chambers will take the lead on the legislative reforms, with work already on the way to table several bills. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis remains committed to legislative development in order to transform St. Kitts and Nevis into a sustainable small island developing state.

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