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Jan 21, 2016

FOPREL Meets in Belize to Discuss Regional Issues

A meeting of high level policymakers is taking place in Belize to discuss ways to tighten up on money laundering, human trafficking and private security, which are perennial issues in the region.  The Forum of Presiding Officers of Legislative Assemblies of Central America and the Caribbean Basin, FOPREL, convened a meeting to present proposed legislations to presiding officers, as well as members of the National Assembly. Today’s session follows a similar gathering in El Salvador on Tuesday.  According to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Peyrefitte, while Belize’s laws on money laundering and human trafficking are rather strict, suggestions are being made to improve on existing legislations.

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, House Speaker, Belize

“Very important seminar, it’s under the aegis of the Central American body known as FOPREL.  Loosely translated in English, it means the Forum of Elected Presidents which essentially is the house speaker for each country in Central America and we get together from time to time to discuss issues.  And very important to a part of the process is we come up with proposed legislation to strengthen the institutions in our different countries.  Right now we are hearing presentations from consultants in Central America concerning money laundering and the trafficking of firearms and we have two consultants who are going to present to us as to what we can do to better our laws when it comes to firearms and money laundering.  I am prepared to go in there right now and tell them that Belize has some of the most stringent money laundering and firearms legislation.  So what he is saying that we need to do and what we need to improve on, I think I just may need to enlighten them as well that we are very, very solid in those areas but that’s basically what the presentation is about today.”

 

Reporter

“Can you give us an example of how this transition has helped to harmonize legislation to improve security and safety of the entire Central American region?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Well already when it comes to security and safety in terms of trafficking in persons, they have helped a lot.  They have also helped in terms of giving us insight when it comes to indeed to money laundering.  As well already for the trafficking in firearms and of course the transshipment of illegal drugs.  So we have always been in discussion with them.  In their system they are the speakers and the different members of congress are required to present legislation to the parliament.  In our system, if we get an idea for a piece of legislation that would be good we pass it on to the attorney general who’s the executive member for laws in the Cabinet and then she, in this case, would then propose it to Cabinet for it to be tabled in the house if we find that it is necessary for the better government of the people of Belize.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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