Thursday afternoon’s last-minute amendment to the opening hours for businesses this weekend is illegal, says Leon Chaku Symister, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Spokesman on Public Safety.
The relevant legislation, published in the No. 21 Extraordinary Gazette and widely disseminated, states: “No business activity or service not listed in the Schedule to the Essential Services Act, 2008 shall be permitted to open or operate on Friday 10th April, 2020 (Good Friday), Sunday 12th April, 2020 (Easter Sunday) and Monday 13th April, 2020 (Easter Monday).”
However, after an extremely busy Thursday, in which financial institutions and Government agencies were open for the first time since last week’s curfew was imposed, the Government today amended the law to enable selected businesses to open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
A Government notice, distributed via State media and social media on Thursday afternoon, advised that “supermarkets may operate on Sunday 12th April, 2020 (Easter Sunday) and Monday 13th April, 2020 (Easter Monday) from 7 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.”
However, Symister points out that the law cannot be amended by the pen of the Director-General of Communications in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The amendment of the Regulations by a statement from the PM’s Office has no legal effect. The amendment must be appropriately signed and gazetted for it to have the force of law,” Symister explains.
Meanwhile, the UPP has been reliably informed that the earlier restrictions, in observance of the Easter celebrations, were put in place by Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin. It learned that the changes were effected after business connections made an appeal to Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
The UPP is concerned by this illegal action. These conflicting interests continue to water down the protective and proactive measures taken in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
They also serve to undermine public confidence in, and respect for, the Executive, as the prevailing sentiment is that “Government is playing dolly-house.”
“If the Government continues to act with this high level of incompetence, the people will eventually ignore all their statements, guidelines, and regulations and act in their own interest,” Symister says.
The UPP is further concerned that the Browne Administration continues not only to “stretch the law,” but to break it, for its own convenience.
Accordingly, the Party calls upon the Executive to admit its error and speedily correct it.
“Doing the wrong thing, even for the right reason, is simply not acceptable,” Symister says.
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What do we expect? ABLP is a lawless Government. The Virtual Parliament which formalized the State of Emergency was also illegal since the law enabling it was within the withdrawn Infectious Disease Bill. In any event.. the greater question is whether this bowing to business interests will lead to more crowds and contamination. Other countries are taking a hard line in beating back the virus and here is ABLP flip flopping again, in exchange for a few election campaign dollars.
And why do the timelines keep slipping? April 2, Molwyn says local testing will be possible within a week. Today is what? April 9. And more excuses. Meanwhile other islands are testing way more people (per 1000 inhabitants). A total dolly house. And when you ask them anything all the ALP incompetents can do is try to deflect by claiming “aru a play politics”. Unacceptable. Lives are at stake.
Have you been tested?
You have no answers, only diversionary questions, just like the government.
Again I ask have you been tested? Amidst you diatribe what solution have you proferred?
KEEP IT REAL: YOU SOUND LIKE A DUNCE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING AS AN INDIVIDUAL TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID 1 WHAT HAS CHAKU SYMISTER DONE TO ENCOURAGE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE. PEOPLE HERE ARE SO IGNORANT AND FOOLISH. ONLY WHEN SH!T HITS THE FAN AND THE FULL EFFECT OF THE VIRUS RAMPAGE ANTGIUA THEN WHAT BLAME GASTON BROWN AND ALP.
ALP TROLL: blah blah blah
Yet the concerns of the people remain.
Lives are at stake yet the ALP has no answers, and wants no accountability.
Just excuses and ALL-CAPS-TYPING agency trolls deployed on ANR.
Atiguans & Barbudans: Listen to Dr. Joey John’s interview this evening (Check ABS FB page). We are way behind!
FIRST OF ALL I AM NO POLITICAL PARTY TROLL. UNLIKE DUMBA$$ PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO JUST B!TCH AND WHINE ABOUT WHAT ALP AND UPP DOING I PLAY MY PART IN THIS SITUATION. I STAY MY A$$ HOME AND IF NEED TO GO TO THE SHOP I GO TO A SMALL COMMUNITY SHOP. I DONT WAIT ON HANDOUTS. I ASK YOUR DUMBA$$ AGAIN WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN PLAYING YOUR PART IN STOPING THE SPREAD OF COVID19 OH YEAH JUST B!TCH AND WH!NE ABOUT ALP. GOODNIGHT DUMBA$$
UPP will never run this country again in 10 generation’s time counting from today!
Unfortunately this is the last generation. The only king that will rule shortly is Yahusha
The good thing is the Coronavirus does not discriminate, whether red or blue. People we are not invincible. We are all in this together. Just #tapahyouyard
Unfortunately this is the last generation. The only king that will rule shortly is Yahusha.
Did Chaku Waku express similar sentiments when Trevor Walker closed the borders to his kingdom?
BOOM …..well said
UPP must be losing it. They need to self isolate. This is the type of “stuff” that will cost them any hope of ever governing again. Have they not noticed that at least 90% of the population is solidly backing the Prime Minister and the leadership he is providing the nation in the midst of crises. STOP THE POLITICS and let the elected government govern. How fortunate we are to have such leadership at the helm.
Hypocrisy when Barbuda said that it was closing its borders I said that they had no authority to do so. Only the central government could do that. Chaku Symister is absolutely correct in his position that the government could not amend the Regulations to change the shopping hours by just issuing a press release from Cabinet. That is not how it works. We are a country of laws, and like you and me, the government also has to act in accordance with the law. There is a procedure to pass and amend Regulations, which I will not go into now (just take my word that what I am saying is correct). The government did not follow the required procedure therefore the so-called amendment is illegal.
I see you did not understand my question to begin with, so that is why you did not answer it.
The specific name listed in my question is CHAKU? How did you manage to insert yourself into the specific question???
My discuss is not about right or wrong. I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy of Chaku. Not a drum was heard from him when the quasi-god of Barbuda closed its borders.
Is that hard for you to absorb?
Tabor come on, be honest, you stated legally they were wrong but added they had no other choice in an effort to support their unnecessary breach of the law. Intl airlines with foreign passengers stopped coming to or shores at least a week before. Lets also be honest and admit that even you, when UPP led the government, stayed quiet when they overstepped. Its like you only find your voice since the 2014 elections. Anyway on the matter at hand isn’t it akin to Chaku playing the biblical scribes and pharisees? A decision has been made during a state of emergency to ease the strain on the people of A&B, yet watch your party busy smelling itself. Less days means longer lines hence more risk. High time you all start putting the people of A&B first and not their political aspirations
Charles Chaku Tabor you are now becoming the biggest pest we have on island …. u dip yourself into every thing … stop trying to be relevant …. u sound like them little school brats with there hands up at every post made… boss man .. pick ur battles correctly before u cause upp the next 20 elections and the single Pringle his seat….. in other works JUST SHUT UP U ARE USELESS ….. I SO AGREE WITH IVOR FORDE please get a real lawyer on with you Dane Knight ….. can you imagine this Tabor guy calling for Pompie to help him out … who is the learnt lawyer here…. Tabor just get a life.. you are washed up
CURIOUS nothing you say can change the fact that how the government went about to implement the Regulations to address the covid 19 crisis was wrong. That is all I have said. I have also said that even though what the government did was wrong legislatively, the crisis they are trying to address is so serious, that under the principle of the law of necessity, the wrong committed by the government is far less harmful than the harm to all of us of the covid 19 crisis if not addressed. And by the way, I do not need any help from Mr. Rolston Pompey to support or justify my arguments. However, for the government to hear that what they did was wrong coming from Pompey and not me might cause they to take it more seriously. Finally, if Ivor Ford is who you are relying on to ascertain whether my argument is right or wrong, then CURIOUS I must say that you are more ignorant and uninformed than Mr. Ivor Ford. He sent me an email to read sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution to justify his argument that Parliament could meet virtually. I really do not know what those sections have to do with the virtual meeting of Parliament. Mr. Ford needs to put on his glasses when he is reading so that he can see clearly. I will end by saying that just like you and me the government must also follow the LAW.
Antigua is presently faced with a crisis…. It’s a crisis that can fatally impact upon all of us….. Yes laws are made and yes laws can be modified….. And yes there is a right and wrong way of doing such….. However, in a state of emergency especially where everybody’s health/life is threatened COMMON SENSE NEED TO PREVAIL….I am sure the PM & his team are doing that much…… Now is not the time to oppose….. Solidarity is paramount at this time and the best ideas contend….. It is clear that common sense does not seem to be too common in this place
Mr Symister, even some UPP supporters think that these are unusual times and not the time to talk about legislation. Have you seen the long lines at the supermarkets when they are open? Let the supermarkets stay open so people can buy food. Talk about legislation when this crisis is over.
@ CHAKU AND TABOR
I totally agree that both you Lawyers are the TWO BIGGEST waste of time on the Island . We are in a Crisis and You Guys are talking about Constitution . I can see why You and your Party will remain in Opposition for a loooong time. Stop playing opposition/politics and help the People of Antigua and Barbuda in this CRISIS. Totally agree with Mr. Forde what He uttered about Mr. Tabor I am quite sure Mr. Tabor you know what I am talking about. Get on board and help the Citizens. Election is 3 years away . Stop your politics.
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