BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Thursday, April 1, 2021) — Attorney General, Dale Marshall, has sought to lay to rest concerns, surrounding paragraph 8 in the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Order, by explaining that the state needs to have reserve powers, in the event of extraordinary circumstances.
Addressing the nation, during a live press conference at Ilaro Court, last night, the Attorney General explained that paragraph 8 (6) of the Order, under the heading, “Power to requisition land or buildings”, states that the owner, or occupier, of any lands, or buildings, who fails to comply with a requisition notice, could be fined up to $50 000, or imprisoned for one year, or both, on summary conviction.
He noted that this was always stipulated in every COVID 19 Order, since March, last year.
Marshall stressed that the island was still under a State of Emergency, and it was being erroneously repeated, that government had just passed this “particular kind of power in the COVID  Order, as if it is something new”.
“That is not correct at all. In every single COVID Order that we have brought into force, since March of last year, these particular powers have been included. Let me remind Barbadians, that this is a State of Emergency. While it may not be the kind of emergency that you might think of, when you hear of a hurricane or a war or anything of that sort, the State has to have reserve power in a situation, which might arise, which would call on it to do extraordinary things,” he explained.
The A-G further clarified: “Let me remind you, for example, that during the course of the management of this COVID pandemic, in this current year, we had a senior citizens’ home that most of the individuals there, had come down with COVID, and it became vital for the government to take charge of that facility. If the owners of the facility had refused the government the opportunity to take charge of it, we would have had a serious problem. It is in circumstances, like that, that you utilise these reserve powers.
“Every year, as we prepare for the hurricane season, in the possibility that the Governor General might need to do a State of Emergency Proclamation, we also prepare similar powers. The government of Barbados is constrained by its Constitution…we cannot, and will not, take anyone’s property, without compensation.”
The Attorney General also pointed out that the Order did not say that the government will acquire, but it said ‘requisition’, which meant that, for as long a period as was necessary, the government may be required to take extraordinary steps and access facilities and assets that it “does not have in its control”.