By Theresa Goodwin
Parliament will convene next month to formally adopt a recommendation from the police force for seatbelt fines to be increased from $200 to $500.
The judicial arm of government will also be considering amendments to the Praedial Larceny Act to provide better protection for farmers and the 1957 Medical Treatment Act which will be replaced by the Mental Health Act of 2022.
The police have been complaining for some time that drivers are not complying with the seat belt rule which they believe has contributed to a steady increase in the number of road accidents recorded each year.
Legal Affairs Minister Steadroy Benjamin said the amendments were drafted in early 2021 based on the insistence of the force, however, this was shelved because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said it has become necessary to move forward due to increasing concerns.
“It may not be appropriate to have the fines implemented immediately because of the crisis, but we have a greater responsibility to the nation as a whole to make certain that we give law enforcement the authority and the ability to control the wearing of seatbelts by passengers and drivers as well,” the minister said.
As it relates to the Praedial Larceny Prevention Act which was enacted in 1954, Benjamin said this will be repealed and replaced by an Act to protect farmers’ produce and livestock.
The changes will ensure that adequate compensation is rewarded to farmers and livestock owners for the damage or theft by the offending person or persons.
“This government sees it as a necessity to amend the laws to make certain that farmers and livestock owners are protected from people who do nothing but pilfer and destroy their produce and livestock,” Benjamin said.