Dunkley: cannabis law change used as independence gambit – Royal Gazette

0

Michael Dunkley (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Government has used controversial cannabis legislation as part of a breakaway move from the UK, a shadow minister claimed yesterday.

Michael Dunkley, the shadow minister of national security, said that drug reform had been used to pick a fight with Britain in a bid”for ultimate power and control through independence”.

The legislation will make it legal for permit holders to grow, smoke and sell the drug.

Mr Dunkley said that similar legislation in the British Virgin Islands had been sidelined after the UK refused to ratify it.

He added:”We all have to listen and observe the words and actions of this government.

“The concerns I have raised make me believe the issues of the bill aren’t about cannabis reform but the PLP’s desire for ultimate power and control through independence.

“I believe the Government is trying to cause friction with the UK and it is my belief the bill would not obtain Royal Assent.

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney General said in the House of Assembly on Friday that the bill contravened United Nations narcotics conventions — and, as written, would not get Royal Assent from the Governor.

She added:”The UK Government through Government House has confirmed support for Bermuda’s policy and legislation only so much as it doesn’t contravene the UK’s international obligations.

“To be clear, the Governor has indicated that she will be not able to give assent to any legislation that contravenes those international obligations.”

But Mr Dunkley questioned why the Government had tabled the bill if it knew it would not get signed into law.

He added:”As a former Premier I am conscious of the process taken for the passing of legislation and, at times, with contentious legislation, there could be concerns raised by the Governor.

“This is when throughout the drafting process, discussions at Cabinet and with Government House there’s cooperation to work through any concerns.

“I am sure every Premier has worked through problems like this and that is why I am alarmed that upon debating this bill my concerns of friction were confirmed and that it may not receive Royal Assent.

“Statements by Premier Burt like it will not estroy the relationship that we have with the United Kingdom’, serve no function in a cannabis debate and demonstrate questionable leadership.

“In my view there’s an ulterior motive for this bombastic approach — independence. “

Mr Dunkley added that it was outrageous for the Government to criticise the UK after the British government had given critical support within the Covid-19 crisis.

He said:”Let us not forget who supplied free of charge the PCR tests and some associated supplies required for us to have an aggressive testing programme.

“Let us not forget who supplied us free of charge the vaccines that have provided hope and a way forward during these tough times.

“I believe it is unconscionable that the PLP government would attack the UK in our Parliament with comments such as’the illegality of cannabis is part of an unjust colonial legacy’.

Government House last night declined to comment on the controversy.

A spokeswoman for the Governor said:”It would not be appropriate for the Governor to comment publicly about the proposed legislation as it has not yet come to her for assent, which is a requirement under Article 35 (2) of this Constitution.”

Michael Dunkley (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Government has used controversial cannabis legislation as part of a breakaway move from the UK, a shadow minister claimed yesterday.

Michael Dunkley, the shadow minister of national security, said that drug reform had been used to pick a fight with Britain in a bid”for ultimate power and control through independence”.

The legislation will make it legal for permit holders to grow, smoke and sell the drug.

Mr Dunkley said that similar legislation in the British Virgin Islands had been sidelined after the UK refused to ratify it.

He added:”We all have to listen and observe the words and actions of this government.

“The concerns I have raised make me believe the issues of the bill aren’t about cannabis reform but the PLP’s desire for ultimate power and control through independence.

“I believe the Government is trying to cause friction with the UK and it is my belief the bill would not obtain Royal Assent.

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney General said in the House of Assembly on Friday that the bill contravened United Nations narcotics conventions — and, as written, would not get Royal Assent from the Governor.

She added:”The UK Government through Government House has confirmed support for Bermuda’s policy and legislation only so much as it doesn’t contravene the UK’s international obligations.

“To be clear, the Governor has indicated that she will be not able to give assent to any legislation that contravenes those international obligations.”

But Mr Dunkley questioned why the Government had tabled the bill if it knew it would not get signed into law.

He added:”As a former Premier I am conscious of the process taken for the passing of legislation and, at times, with contentious legislation, there could be concerns raised by the Governor.

“This is when throughout the drafting process, discussions at Cabinet and with Government House there’s cooperation to work through any concerns.

“I am sure every Premier has worked through problems like this and that is why I am alarmed that upon debating this bill my concerns of friction were confirmed and that it may not receive Royal Assent.

“Statements by Premier Burt like it will’destroy the relationship that we have with the United Kingdom’, serve no function in a cannabis debate and demonstrate questionable leadership.

“In my view there’s an ulterior motive for this bombastic approach — independence. “

Mr Dunkley added that it was outrageous for the Government to criticise the UK after the British government had given critical support within the Covid-19 crisis.

He said:”Let us not forget who supplied free of charge the PCR tests and some associated supplies required for us to have an aggressive testing programme.

“Let us not forget who supplied us free of charge the vaccines that have provided hope and a way forward during these tough times.

“I believe it is unconscionable that the PLP government would attack the UK in our Parliament with comments such as’the illegality of cannabis is part of an unjust colonial legacy’.

Government House last night declined to comment on the controversy.

A spokeswoman for the Governor said:”It would not be appropriate for the Governor to comment publicly about the proposed legislation as it has not yet come to her for assent, which is a requirement under Article 35 (2) of this Constitution.”

Source: https://www.royalgazette.com/politics/news/article/20210223/dunkley-cannabis-law-change-used-as-independence-gambit/

Leave a Reply