House set to debate Human Rights Act amendment

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Human rights administration, the justice system and the way forward for Bermuda tourism will be among the topics debated by Bermuda’s legislators today.

Parliamentarians will also be asked to remove red tape for installing solar panels by approving the Development and Planning (General Development) Amendment Order 2011.

The Order will increase the area allowed for the installation of solar panels without the need of an application for Planning permission from 80sq ft to 400sq ft. If passed, persons would only need to apply for a building permit.

Kicking off the discussions for the day is the Police and Criminal Amendment Act (No 2) Act 2011, a bill which aims to clarify how the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) detention clock stops when a detainee is released on bail, and restarts when the detainee answers bail.

Families Minister Glenn Blakeney will then ask his colleagues to approve amendments to the Human Rights Act to create a new system which would remove the Minister from all decisions concerning the Human Rights Commission with the exception of appointing the chairperson of a new committee to select commissioners.

The Commission itself will be selected by that committee via a recruitment process, and transformed into a Human Rights Tribunal which would replace the current Board of Inquiry system.

And the HRC executive officer will be given a stronger role in screening complaints and decisions to investigate.

Business Development and Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert is scheduled to lead the tourism debate with the motion: “This Honourable House take note of the Report entitled ‘Establishing the Foundation for the National Tourism Plan: Strategic Imperative Report Volume 1’ submitted by the Tourism Board.”

The Board’s report, which was tabled in the House on December 2 last year, makes a number of wide-ranging recommendations including a wholesale rebranding of Bermuda and the controversial idea of legalising gaming.

It suggests that revenue from a casino could be ploughed back into tourism.

The report, developed over a year, also recommends that a Tourism Authority be established within two years to oversee the industry.

And it calls for critical improvements to be made to the transportation system, including schedule improvements and the introduction of water taxis.

The report also recommends measures to tackle what it says is “widespread apathy toward tourism from the general public” and to improve standards of service in the industry.

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Published Feb 3, 2012 at 5:44 am (Updated Feb 3, 2012 at 5:42 am)

House set to debate Human Rights Act amendment

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