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T&T Civil Aviation Authority Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Sen. Montano: Mr. Chairman, I was making my case that clause 11 really should not be there at all. I see no particular need for it and I would like to see it removed.

Sen. Mark: I do not understand the Senator’s position. Mr. Chairman: Restate your position, please.

Sen. Montano: I made my case during my contribution and I pointed out why I would want to see it removed.

Sen. Mark: In many other pieces of legislation you have the Minister giving authority, giving instructions to the authority or the body and so on, general instructions, specific instructions. That is something found in all legislation.

Sen. Dr. St. Cyr: Mr. Chairman, the clause comes over really strongly, “The Minister shall give”, and “the Authority shall give effect”, and, to me, that then removes the autonomy of the authority. I was wondering whether we could not modify that, probably weaken it by changing it from “shall” to “may” in the first instance. But I am aware that other bits of legislation do permit the Minister to do this and, in my view, it really is how the Minister exercises this authority.

Sen. Prof. Kenny: There is precedence for this type of clause. In the Environmental Management Authority Act, section 5 says, effectively, that the Minister may give general or specific instructions. This Bill goes on to make it quite clear what the Minister may or may not do. That is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act. That is not in the EM Act, clause 5, so this, in fact, strengthens the actual clause, “the Minister may give general or specific directions”. So it would be consistent and stronger than the Environmental Management Act clause 5.

Sen. Montano: Mr. Chairman, the point is the last time I think we saw this, or a clause something like this, is in the Regulated Industries Commission, but this is different because the impact goes right down into the private sector and the effect is that it is really anti free trade. You are not operating within the Regulated Industries framework. You may say where the Minister may, in fact, have a vested interest. This is really the Minister having a direct say in the operations of the private sector and I have difficulty with that, Mr. Chairman. That is the unique aspect of this clause in this particular piece of legislation. I do not see that it fits, certainly in terms of having specific directions. General directions may be more palatable but specific directions make it completely unacceptable vis-a-vis the private sector. That is the difference between this and any other piece of legislation that we have seen.

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