HOUSE DEBATES FIREWORKS BILL
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Leader of the Opposition, Palmovan Webster, created her own “fireworks” in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, 28th March, when she launched an attack on the AUF Government accusing it of corrupt practices, destroying the financial industry thus leading to no economic activity in Anguilla. The House was at the time debating the Fireworks Bill when she blurted: “It’s incumbent on the Chief Minister, to honourably cleanse Anguilla of corruption and corrupt practices, and he shouldn’t be leaving this to outside authorities – and in the context of the Fireworks Bill, and the political fireworks, what we need in Anguilla is change. And I know now, Mr Speaker, that we’ve got to make provision for the kind of fireworks – because I’ve already said that …and, Mr Speaker, I know you know what fireworks are, but there are fireworks that never get off the ground… And this government is like fireworks that never got off the ground.”
In response, Chief Minister, Victor Banks, slammed Ms. Webster for her hypocrisy in her continuous pleas for working together in the interest of the people.
He scolded her for what he termed as shameful politicking while dealing with a crucial piece of legislation: “So it’s total nonsense and raw nasty politics that the Member for Island Harbour should come into this Honourable House and try to belittle and demean the member for Road South, and the government, for bringing a piece of legislation into this House, Mr Speaker, to deal with the Fireworks Act. It is a necessary piece of legislation like all other legislation. Because she’s a lawyer, she has to know that however simple a piece of legislation is – it has a purpose – and, as a lawyer, she may have to call on it, at some point, to deal with an issue that affects the lives of Anguillians, her clients and the rest of this community.”
Banks emphasized: “Mr Speaker, the Fireworks Act is a regulatory Act to ensure that persons involved in fireworks, whether for pleasure or profit, are regulated under a particular way and the government of Anguilla, who licenses those persons – because its’s something that people do – must have the laws on its the books to make it happen.”
The Minister of ICUH, Mr Curtis Richardson, who presented the legislation, also underscored the importance of the Fireworks Bill pointing out that persons, especially in neighboring St Martin, have lost their lives while some persons have lost their businesses as a result of fireworks. He explained:
“When I came into office, I saw what was happening. A lot of people were importing fireworks, transporting fireworks, carrying out fireworks activities on their own accord, and I think it has implications for fire hazards and safety in Anguilla…I think the people of Anguilla would realize the importance of it (the legislation) as the nation develops.”
The Fireworks Bill makes provision for any person who wishes to import or supply fireworks to make a written application to the Minister for a licence in the prescribed form. The Minister may grant, defer or deny an application. Any person who contravenes any condition of licence granted commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of 1,000 EC dollars and or 3 months imprisonment.