With the Tobacco Legislation already having two sessions of consultation at Cabinet level, the Minister of Health is hoping that the final draft will be approved at the next meeting and will make its way to Parliament for final debating.
As the government is embarking on a number of initiatives to promote a healthier Guyana, the legislation has been on top of the agenda of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) since it is believed this will increase the productivity of the country’s population.
Health Minister Dr George Norton said that the legislation has been going through Cabinet and amendments are being made to produce the final draft.
According to Dr Norton, after the proposal was made the draft was taken to Cabinet at one of its meetings and there had been discussions on how this can be modified.
Subsequent to this, the draft had passed through the legal draftsman who did the necessary alterations.
Dr Norton related to this publication that at the next meeting of Cabinet he is hoping this will be the final draft that will be sent to Parliament for further analysis and consultations: “I am hoping that before this session is completed, the bill is taken before Parliament and made (into) law because this is something that I am genuinely anxious about.”
However, the minister is optimistic that, when presented to Parliament it will get approval to become law since its benefits and importance are clearly outlined with a direct link on the positive impact it will have on the population.
Norton added that this is an initiative that is of utmost value since the country’s human resources should be given preference when it comes to ensuring their healthy lifestyles.
Noting how crucial it is to raise a healthy generation, he related that not only because of his personal take on the issue was the legislation drafted but also the obvious benefits of having such a bill passed.
Norton’s remarks come on the heels of comments made by People’s Progressive Party parliamentary spokesperson on Health Dr Frank Anthony, about the slow pace at which the government was taking to lay the Tobacco legislation in the National Assembly.
Anthony had said in observation of World Tobacco Day last month, that government should stop giving lip service to the need to introduce stricter legislations on tobacco usage.