Narcotics bill awaiting parliamentary select committee – Teixeira

− others, including oil & gas bills, not ready for Parliament

A number of bills that have not been passed in the National Assembly and made into law are either awaiting the appointment of the parliamentary select committees or are not ready for Parliament.

Minister of Governance & Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira

This is according to Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira, during a recent televised programme. According to her, among the bills awaiting the select committees are the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) (Amendment) Bill 2021 and the Hire Purchase Bill 2020.
“Of course, we have one pending, which is the adoption of the children’s bill, which will not be done this sitting. And then you have the two others that are sitting for select committees. The one on marijuana and the one on hire purchase? Those are two that are waiting for the Parliament to have a committee of selection to meet and appoint those select committees.”
Additionally, Teixeira explained that there are other bills currently in the drafting stage. Here she pointed to bills for the oil and gas sector, a possible reference to the Natural Resource Fund Act, which the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government has said it will either repeal or amend.
“So, there are a number of things. There are some more bills coming which aren’t ready yet for Parliament, that are drafted. So, I think there’s going to be legislation that covers all sectors. There’s going to be legislation dealing with the social issues, you’re going to have legislation dealing with law enforcement and improving the capacity of the law-and-order bodies.”
“The other areas, of course, oil and gas. All those are going to be coming up, as well as other amendments to remove the impediments for people to have service or get things done in our society.”
According to Teixeira, the Government has been doing its best to parallel the push for investments and infrastructure development, with the modernisation of the laws to better serve the interest of Guyanese.
Earlier this year, the Government had tabled in the National Assembly the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) (Amendment) Bill 2021, which if passed, would see persons in possession of 15 grams of cannabis or less sentenced to counselling.
“Under the new subsection (2A), the possession of a quantity of cannabis or any substance held out to be cannabis which does not exceed 15 grams is punishable by mandatory counselling for a period to be determined by the counsellor,” the bill reads.
Currently, possession of 15 grams or more could attract a trafficking charge with a prison sentence of three to five years, and a fine of no less than $30,000 or three times the market value of the drug.
Under the bill, possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis is an offence of simple possession. An amount over 15 grams, but no more than 30 grams, will attract community service. This includes employment in public work under the Extra-Mural Work Act for a maximum of six months.
“Public work is defined by Section 2 of the Extra-Mural Work Regulations, Reg 8 of 1998, to include any work on State or Government land or any property belonging to, or rented or leased to the State or with the permission of a Local Government authority, on any land or any other property belonging to, or rented or leased to, the Local Government authority.”