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Feb 6, 2014

Opposition senator argues the draftsmanship of Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Bill

 

Lisa Shoman

Following a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the senate met today in Belmopan. Seven bills were brought from the House, including proposed legislation to deal with a threat by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force to blacklist Belize for not doing enough to tackle money laundering. Normally, the Senate would meet days after the sitting, but this time, it had to sit immediately following the house to expedite ratification of the bills to avoid sanctions for noncompliance in combating money laundering, as well as the bankrolling of terrorists.  Opposition senator, Lisa Shoman argues that the scope of the new laws is too extensive and the combined effect will be felt across the board.  She began by debating the draftsmanship of the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Bill.

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Lisa Shoman, Opposition Senator

“I want to draw our attention to C because C is where the hairs start to stand up in the back of your neck.  There isn’t a word for it in English, but the word in Spanish is espelusnante—the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  And it says a person connected with a person specified in paragraph A or B and let me tell you, the definition of connected is so exceedingly wide as to conceivably include Mamita, my ninety-seven year old grandmother, who is definitely addressed in another piece of this legislation and about whom I will speak later on.  It is very serious. And again I don’t see the element of reasonableness nor do I see the element of nexus in which the person connected with the person should be the person connected with the person in relation to that banking business or financial business without a license…if you see what I mean. Clever lawyers will of course say you read it sui generis, but let me tell you, I’ve seen enough people get run over by the sui generis bus—to put no faith in this kind of thing. If we don’t fix it now, Mister President, I will certainly ask the leader of government business to put a firm place marker here because one day when we can, senator Hulse, we will come back to this you and I and we will find a way to fix it because it is not right.”

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