At this morning’s meeting a number of draft Bills were approved as Government Business for presentation at the next Formal Legislative Council meeting on Friday 9 December 2016.

The Factories (Repeal) Bill 2016 seeks to repeal an outdated law from 1937.  Council was keen to point out that the repeal of this Ordinance should not discourage future industry.

The Motor Vehicle (Third Party) Insurance (Amendment) Bill is another Ordinance in need of updating.  This Amendment Bill seeks to increase the legal minimum requirement of insurance cover to £250,000.  Council was pleased to report that Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc had been involved in these discussions and assures the public that there will be no consequential increases in insurance premiums.

 The Bulk Fuel Agency (Repeal) Bill 2016 sought to repeal an Ordinance that was never used.  No Agency was ever established as a result of this Ordinance and it has been the case for many years that fuel operations are managed through a contractual arrangement.

The Employment Rights (Amendment) Bill 2016 has two objectives. Firstly it removes the restrictions on opening hours for retailers and businesses imposed by the Sunday (Observance) Ordinance – effectively allowing shops, stores and businesses to regulate their own businesses on a Sunday, while protecting the rights of employees who choose not work on a Sunday or Public Holiday. Secondly it amends the Liquor Ordinance to allow the sale of alcohol on Good Friday and Christmas Day, subject to public consultation.

Executive Council also considered the Marriage Bill 2016.  Following some discussion, and the Attorney General having addressed previously raised technical issues, it was agreed that the Bill should proceed to Legislative Council on Friday 9 December.  The key elements of this Bill are to allow access to civil marriage for same sex couples and the ability for marriages to be carried out elsewhere than the Registry Office or Castle, when approved by the Registrar of Marriages.

Finally, the Public Dances (Repeal) Bill is another piece of redundant legislation, dating from 1945, the provisions of which are fully catered for in other legislation.

ExCo

15 November 2016

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