The third House of Assembly is slated to meet for the fifth sitting of its second session at 10 a.m. on Thursday, with a packed schedule that includes debates on laws such as the 2016 Child Maintenance and Access Act.
That legislation, which is scheduled for a second and third reading, is designed in part to allow courts to withdraw child support directly from a delinquent parent’s paycheque, as opposed to imprisoning someone who cannot pay, according to past statements from lawmakers and Governor John Duncan.
Legislators will also read the 2016 Validation (Merchant Shipping (Adoption of United Kingdom Enactments) Order 2005) Act for a second and third time. If passed, that law would put HOA’s stamp of approval on a host of marine regulations currently at risk due to a pending constitutional challenge.
Additionally, lawmakers will give second and third readings to the 2016 Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Act; the 2016 International Tax Authority Act; the 2016 Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Act; and the 2016 Magistrate’s Code of Procedure (Amendement) Act.
Opposition members Andrew Fahie (R-D1) and Julian Fraser (R-D3) are also scheduled to ask ministers questions about various government projects and ventures.
Mr. Fahie, the opposition leader, plans to ask Education and Culture Minister Myron Walwyn (R-at large) about the costs and contracts of his stalled Elmore Stoutt High School perimeter wall project.
Mr. Fraser is scheduled to ask Premier Dr. Orlando Smith (R-at large) about the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport expansion project, Prospect Reef Resort, and the status of the National Bank of the Virgin Islands’ loan portfolio.
He also plans to question Communication and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool (R-D4) about the water agreements associated with the Paraquita Bay desalination plant.
Additionally, Dr. Smith plans to table the 2014 and 2015 annual reports from the Department of Information and Public Relations; the Accountant General’s Office Annual Report on the Accounts for the Fiscal Year 2008; and Statutory Instrument 2017 No. 12 – Financial Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations.
Health and Social Development Minister Ronnie Skelton (R-at large) is scheduled to table two documents, one titled “Situational Analysis of Children in the British Virgin Islands,” and the other called “Current State of Legislation in the Eastern Caribbean and British Overseas Territories from a Children’s Rights Perspective.”