Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 21, 2023 (SKNIS): Senator, the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, said that the Smoking (Designated Area) Bill, 2023, which was successfully passed in the Federal Parliament on June 20, falls in line with several United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those that promote health, justice, and human rights among others.
“Madam Speaker, this Bill is about justice, peace and the rule of law. When it comes to smoking in designated spaces and Rastafarian rights, it is about justice,” said Dr. Clarke. “Agenda 20/30 of the Sustainable Development Goals speaks to leaving no one behind – this means that we have an obligation as a progressive democracy premised on human rights, justice and freedoms, to push a legislative reform agenda built and grounded in human rights.”
Senator Clarke referenced SDG #16 which speaks to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
“The aim is to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. If we are providing access to justice for everyone and building an effective and accountable and inclusive institution for everyone – Rastafari, smokers, non-smokers, young people, the elderly – then we have to respect everyone’s human rights, religious rights and we have to protect the most vulnerable. It is the rule of law,” said Senator Dr. Clarke. “So as a sustainable island state, St. Kitts and Nevis would be working collectively towards protecting the basic human rights of every citizen and resident. And in promoting a sustainable island state, we must be tolerant, we must protect religious rights, we must protect our freedoms.”
Dr. Clarke added that working collectively will require “working through the attorney general’s Chambers to have consultations with the stakeholders” mostly affected by the Bill.
She expressed thanks to the Attorney-General and his Office, as well as the Prime Minister and Mover of the Bill, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew for this “forward-thinking approach to designating public spaces for smoking.” She reiterated that “if we are to transition to a sustainable island state then we have to protect human rights, religious rights and freedoms.”