Government holds discussion forum on pending legislation | THE DAILY HERALD

From left: Attorney General Dwight Horsford, Permanent Secretary of Health Foster Rogers, Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster and Minister Kyle Hodge.

ANGUILLA–Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster and his government invited the public to the Teachers’ Resource Centre on Tuesday, August 18, for an open consultation on the Amendment of the Quarantine Act and the Moratorium Extension on Granting Business Licences Act.

He said, “This evening we are here to discuss bills currently before the House of Assembly which will receive their second and third reading on August 21. This forum allows the public to raise questions, concerns or suggestions.” At the table with Webster were Minister of Trade and Commerce and Natural Resources, Kyle Hodge, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Foster Rogers and Attorney General Dwight Horsford.The Amendment to the Quarantine Act 2020 bill will require persons quarantined to pay in part or in full the expenses incurred. Currently, Anguilla’s decades-old Quarantine Act stipulates that the government absorbs all costs incurred with the quarantine process. Following the island’s border closure date on March 20, all approved returning persons were mandatorily quarantined for 14 days. To date, 269 persons have returned.

Webster said, “While it is essential to get our people home and to quarantine them so that they are away from the general public so as to decrease the chance of community spread, this comes with a cost. At some point, the public purse cannot take the full brunt of the quarantine cost. This is why it is necessary to have an amendment to the act.”Foster added that the cost associated with the quarantine process includes not only lodging at approved government facilities, but also meals, surveillance, staff, testing and other safety aspects associated with protection from infectious and contagious diseases. He said, “This amendment will allow us to put in place measures of cost recovery to offset the enormous amount of expenses of the Quarantine Act.”

Remarks and comments from those in attendance were supportive of the amendment with a few remarking that the cost should be based on ability to pay.Hodge led the discussion of the extension to the Business Licence Moratorium bill. Hodge said the extension bill simply extends the existing moratorium act out to July 2021. He said, “During the moratorium phase, business licence applications will not be restricted. Applications can continue to be submitted and will be approved, denied or rejected on a case-by-case basis.” He said the previous act did not allow for denial. When an application was submitted, it was almost automatically granted.” He said the moratorium would allow for the formulation of processes within a new business act that that would secure certain sectors of the economy for Anguillians.

Also introduced was the bill for the creation of an additional permanent secretary position within the Trade and Economic Development Department.

Source: The Daily Herald