Prisoner transfer treaty likely with Maldives during PM’s visit

Bangladesh is likely to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with the Maldives during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the archipelagic country.

The Cabinet on Sunday approved the draft deal titled “Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Republic of Maldives on Transfer of Prisoners.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the country, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganonbhaban. Other cabinet members and officials concerned were connected from the Bangladesh Secretariat.

“Since some Bangladeshis are now in Maldives prisons, the ministry placed the agreement (at the cabinet)…We expect this deal to be signed this tour (PM’s visit),” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters at the secretariat after the meeting.

He said 43 Bangladeshi convicts are there in Maldives jails, while 40 others are under trial there. But no Maldives national of Maldives is in the jail of Bangladesh.

According to the agreement, prisoners can be transferred from both countries, said the Cabinet Secretary, adding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will go on a visit to the Maldives within the next few days.

The Cabinet also endorsed the draft of another agreement over health sector cooperation between Bangladesh and the Maldives.

Anwarul Islam said various Bangladeshi health professionals have gone to the Maldives under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries, but now the Maldives has asked for extending the deed till 2024 and signing a full-fledged agreement instead of any MoU.

“The Maldives will take qualified health professionals — clinical specialists, public health specialists, dental surgeons and nurses and other auxiliary staff— from Bangladesh and so they want to ink an agreement,” he said.

The Cabinet hoped that this agreement would also be signed during the Prime Minister’s visit.

The Cabinet in principle approved the draft of Unani and Ayurvedic Medical Education Act, 2021 with a provision of maximum one-year imprisonment or pecuniary punishment of Tk one lakh for unregistered practitioner in case of practicing the Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicine.

As per the proposed law, there will be a board of directors and the government will appoint the chairman of the board, which will place its annual report before the government. There would be a council too to oversee the academic affairs, said the Cabinet Secretary.

The draft law was brought in order to replace a law of the military regime titled “The Bangladesh Unani and Ayurvedic Practitioners Ordinance, 1983” in line with the higher court’s order, he said.

According to the draft law, no one can use degree, diploma or certificate unless it is recognised by any law or conferred by the authorised body, institutions or proper authority. If anyone breaks the provision, it shall be punishable for maximum one-year imprisonment and Taka one lakh as fine or both.

Besides, the Cabinet in principle approved the draft of Bangladesh Medical Education Accreditation Act, 2021 in order to bring the health education under an independent accreditation.

Anwarul Islam said there is a compulsion from the WHO that every country would have to come under a system or accreditation by 2023. If any country fails, its physicians, health technicians or medical students would not be recognised in other countries, said the WHO.

There will be an independent accreditation council under the proposed law, said the Cabinet Secretary.

Replying to a question, Anwarul Islam said the Health Minister informed the Cabinet that they started the booster dose trial on Sunday.

The Cabinet asked the Health Ministry to contact international experts over which protocol would be followed during the rollout of booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

The Cabinet Secretary said there is no scarcity of Covid-19 vaccines in the country.

Source: United News of Bangladesh