House: Burt tables economy Bills
David Burt tabled a slew of Bills aimed at boosting the economy at the House of Assembly yesterday.
The Premier wrangled with Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, who complained that the legislation had not been placed on the order paper.
MPs — sitting on the third floor of the Veritas Place office block on Court Street while Sessions House undergoes renovations — eventually voted in favour of Mr Burt tabling the Bills after he argued they were of “significant economic importance”.
Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, objected to the tabling of the unseen legislation.
Mr Cannonier noted that the special sitting of Parliament had initially been called so that national security minister Wayne Caines could table a Bill to deal with mixed-status families.
That Bill, which Mr Caines had originally promised would be tabled at the previous parliamentary session in July, was put on hold again.
Mr Cannonier said afterwards that the Premier has “disrespected the Speaker and Parliament”. He added: “The Premier can’t just show up with these Bills. If he’s serious about getting in agreement with the Opposition, then at least he should say something to us.”
Mr Cannonier criticised “rushing Bills through and then paying the price”, which he said had been the fate of the sugar tax legislation.
The new legislation tabled by Mr Burt included the Economic Development Amendment Act, which is intended to lay the groundwork for development in economic empowerment zones in North Hamilton, St George’s and the West End.
Mr Burt explained in a statement yesterday: “The amendments will make it clear that those who haven’t had the chance to benefit from these kinds of opportunities will finally get a fair shake.
“The EEZs can be transformed to the benefit of those who call them home or do business there now and lead the move towards a revitalisation of Bermuda, socially and economically, that is long overdue.”
Other legislation tabled was Post Office Amendment Regulations, Post Office Administration Amendment Regulations, the National Pension Scheme Occupational Pensions Amendment Act, the Tourism Investment Amendment Act, the Casino Gaming Miscellaneous Amendment Act and Digital Asset Business Amendment.
The alternative venue for the House lacked microphones for yesterday’s proceedings, which were also not broadcast.
Mr Lister was unable to say, at the close of the brief debate, when MPs would move back to Sessions House.
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