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March 2, 2007
PM: Bills passed on Wednesday will leave a lasting legacy


Minister of National Security Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says that a number of Bills passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday will leave a lasting legacy not only here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but in the CARICOM region on a whole.

Dr. Gonsalves indicated that the Status of Visiting Forces Bill, the Visiting Forces Bill and the Caribbean Community Treaty on Security Assistance Bill, were set up to accommodate the inter-island travel of security forces among the region for the Cricket World Cup warm up matches and actual games taking place from March 2 to April 28.{{more}}

Gonsalves said that the security forces that are expected here, 170 in total, will not only be assigned to the Arnos Vale Playing Field, but they would also be securing other vital facilities around the country. He gave two examples, the water supply and the electricity services.

He said that following the World Cup, the Bills would enable forces to offer assistance to other countries, upon the request of the ministers of national security of the inviting territory. The Bills would also assist in information trading and apprehension of criminals in various territories.

Government Senator Rochelle Forde, contributing to the debate on the Bills, called them harmonious pieces of legislation to be passed by countries hosting the Cricket World Cup.

She added that the bills gave the visiting forces the privilege to act within specific guidelines, and these privileges apply only to the extent declared by the Minister of National Security.

She also added that only the minister can declare a visiting force and also revoke a declaration.

Other Bills passed in the House on Wednesday include the Protocol to the Treaty on Security Assistance among CARICOM Member States Bill, the Evidence Bill, the Small Business Development Bill and the Information and Communication Technology Services Investment Incentives Bill.