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T&T Civil Aviation Authority Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Sen. Baksh: Mr. Chairman, I have no difficulty with changing “shall” to “may”.

Mr. Chairman: That is the first “shall”? Sen. Mark: Yes, “the Minister shall” to “may”.

Sen. Montano: Why not remove the word, “specific”? If we are not going to remove the whole clause, tone it down and remove the word, “specific”.

Sen. Mark: No, but that is a general thing that is in all legislation, Mr. Chairman, of this nature. The Minister does give specific or general direction. What we are saying is, instead of saying “shall” we will go with “may”. But why not be more specific? That is a normal clause in all legislation of this kind. It is not being inconsistent, Mr. Chairman.

Sen. Montano: There is absolutely no need for that, Mr. Chairman. There is absolutely no need for the Minister to give specific direction vis-a-vis the licensing of aircraft or the licensing of pilots or the granting of routes, and that gives him that authority. That would be improper. That would be highly improper. That completely circumvents the autonomy of this authority.

Sen. Dr. Mc Kenzie: Mr. Chairman, my interpretation of this is that, if the authority for these duties is in the Act, I do not see that the Minister could usurp that authority from the phrase here. Whatever directions he gives, those directions must not be inconsistent with the provisions of the Act. So if he is telling me, as the Director of Civil Aviation or whatever, that “You must do this, that, that” and I know that those powers lie with me, I could say, “No way”.

12.10 p.m.

I think that the phrase “not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act,” where the authority and power would have been vested in the authority. I do not think that the Minister would have that power.

Secondly, I think clause 11(2) also gives a check on him that he could say what he has given him, in writing; there is a clause in this Act that says that you do not have that power to do that. Based on that, I am not very scared about it.

Sen. Montano: Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. Senator has misunderstood the provisions there. Because “not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act” means that he cannot instruct the Board to do something that the Board cannot otherwise do. That is what he cannot do. But if it is that the Board is about to issue a licence or a route within the provisions of the Act and the Minister says, “No, do not do that,” that is within the provisions of the Act, and he can stop them from making their inconsistent decision. That is what would be wrong. That is the point.

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