The recently launched Reform Action Alliance issued a call last Thursday for a raft of laws that it claims are long overdue in fostering good governance, transparency, environmental protection, consumer rights and other goals.
“RAA views these pieces of legislation as what should be the first line of business in any House of Assembly — current or future — because they address long overdue protections for the people and dangerously lacking standards and regulations for the restoration of integrity to the territory’s governance,” according to a statement released by the organisation, a self-described civic group that plans to run at-large candidates in the coming election but has denied being a political party.
The legislation on the RAA’s wishlist includes the Human Rights Commission Act; a freedom-of-information bill; a code of conduct for legislators and senior public officers; a “Register of Interests and Complaints Commission Act;” a consumer protection bill and regulatory code; the proposed Environmental Management, Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Adaptation Bill; and updates to the 2010 Labour Code.
RAA member Cindy Rosan-Jones, who has said she may run at-large, said, “To continue to stall, block, ignore, fail to present and equivocate on these laws and amendments is reprehensible, and to return legislators who have failed to pass these laws to office would be a clear and tragic blow to the vision of a territory where statesmanship, dedication to duty, people’s rights and common sense are the order of the day.”
Ms. Rosan-Jones, the only member of the RAA who has been publicly identified, also criticised lawmakers for failing to implement reforms recommended by observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Caribbean Community after the 2015 election, including campaign finance guidelines and an electoral commission.
“As a watchdog and advocacy organisation, the RAA intends to keep the issues of critically needed legislation, electoral and judicial reform, and the lack of basic human rights, such as clean air and water, in the public eye and high on the list of the demands that courageous people who love the BVI are now making,” the release stated.