Minister of Immigration says new penalties can’t be applies to Elvin Penner

vlcsnap-2013-10-15-08h24m43s8We continue our coverage of Thursday’s press conference hosted by the Minister of Immigration and Nationality. At the gathering, which saw the presence of Minister of Immigration and Nationality Senator Godwin Hulse, his CEO, the Director of Immigration and the Prime Minister, the Minister presented the plan for reform of his Ministry and part of it centers on stiffening the punishments for violations of the Act.

Hon. Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration

vlcsnap-2013-10-15-08h25m23s174“We will strengthen the act by increasing penalties from what it is now of $500 to $50,000 and imprisonment for a period not less than 5 years but up to a maximum of 15 years. Both fine and confine for any violation of the proposed of this act. We will strengthen the passport act by including an additional section to ensure that the procedures involved in the recommendation, the acceptance of application, data capture and approval of processing are strictly followed and we are going to increase the penalty for violation for these provisions of the act from the current prescribe $500 to $50,000 and to include imprisonment for a period not less than 5 years but up to 15 years.”

vlcsnap-2013-10-15-08h40m50s162Later, the Minister appeared to suggest that Elvin Penner would not be subject to the new punishments.

Hon. Godwin Hulse

“We’ve done out administrative thing, just about completing as the CEO says, which will go to the Public Service Commission.  Those branches are running parallel, and what comes of it comes of it.  We cannot do the law retroactively for sure.  We wish we could.”

But the Constitution, Section 81(4), appears to suggest otherwise. The law provides for laws to be made retroactive and it remains up to the Minister and Cabinet to act on the provision. The law states “No law made by the National Assembly shall come into operation until it has been assented to by the Governor-General but the National Assembly may postpone the coming into operation of any such law and may make laws with retrospective effect.”

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