Government Senators who were up in arms concerning provisions outlined in the draft legislation of the Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 said that they are now at ease after their queries were discussed in Cabinet.
On Wednesday nine of the eleven government-appointed Senators went to the Cabinet for consultations on the recently considered Clause 7 of the Corporate Governance Provisions Bill which caused two Government Senators, Senator Wrigley George and Senator Michael Freeland, to vote in favour of its return to the Lower House.
In the Senate on Monday, a number of Senators expressed concerns over Clause 7 of the legislation which states, “The Cabinet may, if it considers it in the best interest of public administration, transfer an employee on secondment from one statutory corporation to another statutory corporation, or to the public service.”
According to the Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst, after the concerns were aired during Cabinet, the Senators were rest assured that changes will be made the clause when they return to the Lower House in two weeks time.
“The Deputy Solicitor General and the Attorney General were there and they offered explanations and the explanations were satisfactory and they also demonstrated that based on other practices elsewhere that is quite within the law for the government of Antigua and Barbuda to move employees of statutory corporation from one corporations to the other and the guarantee that they will be no demotion, no loss of waged nor benefits. Those guarantees spurred the Senators on to give their consent to what before was considered to hacve been a bill bill that could have resulted in victimization”.
Hurst said that an objection from Senator Wrigley George, who is also the President of the Antigua Trades & Labour Union, pointing to the possibility of victimization being levelled against employees was also addressed. He said that there will also be regulations to safeguard some of the concerns of the trade union.
The Government’s Spokesperson said that there is now an understanding amongst the Senators that the Statutory Corporations General Provisions Bill 2016 will ensure the cross fertilization of skills which would see the better functioning of statutory bodies.
“In our view, everything is fixed. There has been an understanding that this is for the benefit of Antigua and Barbuda and fro the benefit of workers especially person who have been working in stagnant sectors of a statutory corporations who have not been given the opportunity to move to other sectors within the government body,” he ended.