• The following statement was released on Friday, June 5, 2020, by the Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, Scott Pearman, One Bermuda Alliance…

Government’s decision to amend Emergency Powers legislation is concerning. This change means that Regulations made under Emergency Powers will now be subject to a lesser form of Parliamentary scrutiny (the negative resolution) rather than require full Parliamentary debate.

In times of emergency, great powers are placed – temporarily in the hands of Government to impose severe restraints on people’s constitutional freedoms.

It is therefore vital that Emergency Powers be carefully scrutinised. Powers must be broader than absolutely necessary. People’s constitutional rights and civil liberties must be protected.

Restriction imposed on the rights enshrined by the Constitution must always be reasonable and justified. Suspension of these rights in times of emergency must be subject to the immediate oversight and scrutiny of the people’s elected representatives in Parliament.

The Opposition would prefer to see increased Parliamentary scrutiny of Emergency Powers. People’s rights must be protected – especially in times of emergency.

Parliamentary scrutiny is a necessary safeguard of democracy. The OBA is concerned this scrutiny is being eroded.