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Lawyers’ Bill deferred

A surprising twist in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday (October 18) as Government pushes the pause button on the controversial Legal Practitioners Bill.
The proposed law was set down for a second reading this morning, but Financial Services Minister Hon. Wayne Panton instead announced the legislation will be deferred to the next sitting of the LA. It was an announcement that took many, like Independent MLA Winston Connolly, by surprise. But the former government back bencher says it’s move he welcomes, especially given the public protestations from members of the legal fraternity.
“I am quite proud that the government of the day listened to those people and deferred it so they could take on more comments,” Mr Panton said.
Last week lawyers came out in their numbers at a public consultation, some objecting and complaining about the limited time afforded to review and comment on the far-reaching legislation.
A complaint Mr Panton says government has responded to on Tuesday.
“We want to understand exactly what the comments are from the additional stakeholders who want to comment and we are seeking to give them the time. We are listening to their request for additional time,” Mr Panton said.
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, who also submitted committee stage amendments on the bill, commended government’s deferral since he says more needs to be done.
“So we have to do the right thing, the right thing is a balanced bill, a balanced law where young Caymanians will be able to participate,” Mr Panton said.
Mr Bush sought to have the bill sent to a select committee instead of being deferred on Tuesday which he says would derive more benefit. But House Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly rejected his request.
Mr Panton says the bill will incorporate comments before it returns to the LA in the next meeting, which could be in December or January.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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