The Attorney General, Baba Aziz is not taking the blame for the delay of the Consumer Protection legislation, however, Junior Minister of Trade and Investment Promotion, Hon. Marlon Penn who heaped the blame at the AG’s door is not taking it back his complaint that the legislation has needlessly been delayed.
The two views were heard during the House of Assembly, and in presenting an explanation as to why the Bill has not made its appearance at the House of Assembly the Attorney General explained that there is no unnecessary delay as was previously reported to the public.
The Attorney General made it crystal clear that his Office was not being deliberate with the legislation’s delay. “I would like to straighten the position for the general public that even if there was delay, the Attorney General and his office did not intentionally or knowingly delay that Bill. In fact, our office has drafted several Consumer Protection Bills. It started in 2004, we revised it in 2011, and we revised another one in 2013.”
The Attorney General explained that the delay is being caused by a legal issue. “In this instance, there was a legal conundrum. The legal conundrum was simple, there is the intention to have a Trade Commission which is intended to be a Statutory Corporation. But that Statutory Corporation has not yet come into force and the Consumer Affairs Division is intended to be under the Trade Commission Corporation.”
Therefore, Aziz explained that the Bill was not brought to the House because it would be referring to a non-existent body. The Attorney General further explained that when the Trade Commission, which is a statutory body is established, then there will be full harmony with the consumer protection legislation as he noted that the Consumer Affairs Division is intended to be under the Trade Commission Corporation.
Hon. Penn Disagrees
However, Hon. Penn disagreed with the explanation provided by the Attorney General. The Junior Minister of Trade and Investment Promotion told the House: “He [the AG]spoke of some of the specific things that we weren’t aware was an issue. In fact, when we speak to the people in his office, they are saying that those things are not an issue — they have been already worked around.”
“The other day when the AG spoke, I wanted to respond, but I went outside, thinking other persons would speak. I went to use the restroom; when I came back the Speaker had already closed off the session of other business, so she didn’t allow me to speak to clarify some of the things he raised,” Hon. Penn added.