Bipartisan Support: Good Samaritan Act Passes

May 23, 2015

[Updated] The Good Samaritan [Food Donation] Act 2015 — which offers legal protection for those donating food in good faith for a charitable purpose — passed with support from both sides of the aisle during yesterday’s [May 22] sitting of the House of Assembly.

The bill was brought forward by Opposition MP Kim Wilson, who said some people are struggling and charities have seen an increased number of people coming to their food banks.

Audio excerpt of Ms Wilson speaking on the bill

Speaking in the House, Ms Wilson said, “Millions of pounds of food and groceries go to waste each year in Bermuda, which goes directly to the dump and our landfills, which not only places an added strain on our environment, but is wasted food that could be utilised to feed the hungry.

“How often do we see food perfectly good for human consumption being thrown away,” said Ms Wilson. “How many times have we attended a catered event, at perhaps a hotel, banquet, a wedding, anniversary party etc – and at the end of the evening the food that has not been consumed is thrown away.┬áThe passage of this bill would allow for that food to be provided and donated to individuals who are hungry that evening.”

The bill passed after a few hours of debate, with both Premier Michael Dunkley and Opposition Leader Marc Bean extending their thanks to the other side for the cooperation.

Audio of the Premier and Opposition Leader extending their thanks

Highlighting the fact that it’s “gratifying” when members of Parliament from both sides of the aisle can find consensus on a worthwhile issue, Premier Michael Dunkley said, “Collaboration is not just some buzz word. Today’s session proves that in spite of our differences there is room to respect good ideas.”

The Premier continued, “The Bill is not perfect but the principle is something on which both sides agreed. We did not vote against the Bill because anything that potentially helps those in need should not be held up because of flaws in drafting or other issues. It’s Bermuda first always.”

Update 5.56pm: The PLP said, “The Progressive Labour Party is pleased that the Good Samaritan Act passed the House of Assembly yesterday. The debate, led by Shadow Health Minister Kim Wilson JP, MP, clearly articulated the need for this bill to be passed to provide the additional legal protection requested of by businesses that donate food to non-profit organizations.

“This new Act will encourage companies and organizations to donate healthy food that would otherwise go to waste. The Act further represents a stand alone Act with a clear title and objectives addressing concerns raised by businesses and organizations that the existing Volunteer Liability Act did not go far enough.

“We are grateful for the OBA’s support for this important Act, however their support came after 3 1/2 hours of vehement opposition to the aims and objectives of the bill. Health Minister Jeanne Atherden, former Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and even Premier Michael Dunkley all gave lengthy arguments why the OBA could not support the bill, despite it being an OBA Throne Speech initiative from 2013. Then miraculously, out of what appeared to be thin air, they finally decided to support the bill. To say that the Opposition was shocked and surprised would be an understatement.

“Nonetheless, we thank the OBA for their support, and we look forward to this measure passing the Senate and becoming law to increase the amount of food available to those in our community who are hungry.”

The Good Samaritan [Food Donation] Act 2015 follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (11)

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  1. thetruth says:

    We need much more bipartisan support on other topics as well. It’s time to start working more efficiently and more collectively.

  2. Just a matter of time says:

    Is it any wonder that the poll results show the PLP being more for the people?..

  3. Jr Smith says:

    France has made it illegal for supermarkets to throw away edible food. they either donate it to charity or use it as animal feed.

  4. Scotty says:

    ‘Just a matter of time’ are you basing your opinion on the passing of one bill? What caused the horrendous financial vdeficit that the current party inherited when they came into power? Was that being more for the people too?

    • Paul Revere says:

      @ Scotty, Are you stuck in the past or on STUPID. As long as trolls like yourself continue to dwell on past misfortunes, Bermuda will never move forward.
      1 step forward, 2 steps backward with people like you.
      Continue to live in the past

      • Zevon says:

        Oh, of course. You’d like us all to forget who got us in this mess. The PLP sold Bermuda to foreign bankers. Never forget.

        • Come Correct says:

          And still type UBP/oba…hypocrisy.

          • Spectator says:

            It’s not hypocrisy…..ask the PLP/UBP yourself they’ll tell u lot lmfao…its the truth

  5. Self says:

    Well done Ms. Wilson!! I watched a supermarket employee dump trays of perfectly good food in the trash one night. I asked why they didn’t just donate it, and was told if somebody got sick they could get sued. It literally made me ill seeing food go to waste like that. There are too many hungry people on this island to allow good food to be thrown away.

  6. Huh says:

    Another stark reality created by the poor management of our economy by the former PLP

  7. mumbojumbo says:

    This is true.It always was taken to the dump …perfectly good cheese and such…grocers sent it there as law required it to go there…..this was an issue since ….like…..forever…..good for you…good for you M.P.s….you have earned your money today…now if you could please just legalise medicinal marijuana we can all be happy and free from the grips of sadists .