Wednesday 5 August, 2020

More notaries to improve the ease of doing business

At present 13 persons perform this task, but eight persons should be added to the list once the Notaries Public Bill, 2017 which was passed in the Lower House just before noon today, is passed in the Upper House.

The Bill was brought by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, to ease the overburdening of the current notaries public who must carry out their regular functions, as well as their duties as notaries public.

He said, “We expect now, that once formalised, stakeholders will recognise that you should get a faster turn-around for the service.”

He explained to the Lower House that the move is to ensure from the State’s end “that we provide the right quantity of officers to perform the functions and make it a little easier.”

He urged that he believes that this action “would result in an ease of doing business to some extent, albeit not the magnitude that we want across the broader spectrum - but certainly will make it a little easier.”

Currently, the notaries public reside in the Registration Department - one Registrar, two Deputy Registrars and an Assistant Registrar; in the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office - one Registrar, three Deputy Registrars, one Assistant Registrar; and in the Land Registry - one Registrar, one Deputy Registrar and two Assistant Registrars.

The move would see added to the list the Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries in the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry responsible for International Business, and the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Supervisor of Insolvency who currently sits in the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.

Inniss reiterated that this is one way by which the government is seeking to improve business efficiency and ensure that those who go to the state agencies have their business addressed in “a timely and cost-effective manner.”

Previously, applicants who wished to have certain documents notarised would have had to schedule appointments to get documents notarised, or spend an “inordinate” amount of time waiting for documents to be prepared and then be notarised.

And he added that this move is to the benefit of stakeholders and not the State because it has never been a cost issue in terms of how much it costs Government and applicants. He said that Government receives less than $30,000 per year as a result of the functions, but deems the function as critical for persons to complete certain business transactions in this jurisdiction and further abroad.

Additionally, he disclosed that with the process becoming more cost-effective, it will also “enhance our reputation as a domicile of serious business given the fact that a lot of these documents are required for transactions outside of Barbados.”

The Minister took the time to outline some of the functions of notaries public in the context of Barbados. He said that they administer oaths of affirmations, the protesting bills of exchange for non-acceptance and non-payment; receiving and entering protests in mercantile matters and taking depositions in writing thereto; witnessing the execution of certain classes of documents such as deeds and other conveyances; witnessing the execution of documents relating to property situated outside of Barbados such as conveyances and transfers; witnessing the execution of documents such as applications for passports from foreign governments; job application witnessing and a whole other range of functions. 

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