The opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has accused the Freundel Stuart administration of attempting to rush legislation in its finals days.
The BLP’s criticism come on the heels of the onslaught on social media towards the recent Road Traffic Amendments, which resulted in the Royal Barbados Police Force having to retract a statement and the Ministry of Transport holding an emergency meeting to clarify the newly imposed traffic regulations.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday morning, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, pointed to the Government’s “hurried and haphazard” Road Traffic Amendments Act, the Police (Amendment) Act and the Protection of Agricultural Products and Livestock Act 2017 without consultation from key stakeholders.
“This notion of criminalizing people for breaches of rules or breaches of regulatory conduct is something that the Barbados Labour Party is opposed to,” Mottley said.
“We are making Barbadians criminals by having criminal convictions recorded against their name in the 21st century for things that ought to be the subject of civil penalties, fixed community service penalties [and] fixed fines,” she added.
Referring to the Protection of Agricultural Products and Livestock Act, where unregistered farmers and unregistered vendors could be fined $5000 or three years in jail, Mottley said that the Government was contributing to the bottle neck in the judicial system.
“You must reserve confinement and loss of liberty for the most egregious acts in a society. It is only when a person ignores the authority of the country repeatedly that that person should lose their liberty; but if you are guilty of not following a rule that is meant to regulate people then pay a fine,” she said.
The Opposition Leader went on to said that the Government had put the Royal Barbados Police Force which is responsible for the implementation of traffic regulations in a precarious position.
“The police of Barbados have to enforce the law but it is the law makers who make the law and to ask the police now to have to deal with this in circumstances where the law has become asinine or the law has become oppressive is to put the police in an antagonistic relationship with the very society that it has to rely on,” Mottley commented.