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PACE amendment passes Senate

Amendments to PACE and orders intended to encourage greater adoption of solar power were among the legislation approved in Senate.

According to Justice Minister Kim Wilson, the Police and Criminal Evidence Amendment Act (No 2) is intended to clarify the existing PACE legislation to make it clear that the detention clock stops when a detainee is released on bail, and restarts when detainees answer bail.

A similar provision has been added to the UK PACE legislation, Sen Wilson added. The legislation was passed through the Upper House unopposed.

Also approved was the Development and Planning (General Development) Amendment Order, which increases the amount of solar panels that can be installed without planning permission from 80sq ft to 400sq ft.

Explaining the legislation, Senator David Burt said that such applications would still require building permits, and that includes applications for listed sites.

The orders were unanimously supported by the members of the Upper House, with Senator Vince Ingham saying an increased adoption of photovoltaic technology could provide new jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

“If we are successful in realising the goal of 500 homes powered by renewable sources, that translates to an industry worth $25 to $50 million,” he said. “It’s not just the instillation, it’s also the maintenance.”

However Opposition Senator Michael Fahy voiced some concern about the visual impact on the Island should there be a proliferation of the panels.

“One of the things people always talk about is our white roofs and our landscapes that we have,” he said. “It’s something we have to keep an eye on.”

Sen Burt also introduced the Revenue Amendment Act to the Senate, which is intended to enhance and modernise sections of Customs law, including allowing items to be brought back into Bermuda after a prolonged period without being subject to duty.

The amendments, which were unanimously approved, also provide Customs officers with greater searching powers and more options on how to deal with abandoned items.

The Human Rights Amendment Act was also approved, removing the Minister responsible from all decisions concerning the Human Rights Commission, except appointing the chairperson of a new committee to select commissioners.

The legislation, explained by PLP Senator Diallo Rabain, was praised by fellow Government Senator Jonathan Smith who said it could help to improve public confidence in the system.

Sen Wilson meanwhile noted that the legislation would mean that members of the commission would have experience in the field, noting that when she became involved in the commission that was not always the case.

Sen Fahy also expressed the OBA’s support of the legislation and, tagging on to Sen Wilson’s comments about members needing experience, added: “I would hope that in the future we will see similar amendments in other Acts.”

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Published March 01, 2012 at 8:50 am (Updated March 01, 2012 at 8:50 am)

PACE amendment passes Senate

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