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Jun 19, 2023

Senate Debates Civil Asset Recovery and Unexplained Wealth Bill

Michael Peyrefitte

In an effort to meet compliance with a host of recommendations from the Caribbean Financial Task Force, a suite of financial legislations was brought back to the Senate for second reading. Among them were the Civil Asset Recovery and Unexplained Wealth Bill that also falls in compliance with the United National Convention Against Corruption. U.D.P. Senator, Michael Peyrefitte called for a division of the Senate. Nine members voted in support of the bill, while all three opposition senators voted against it. Here is how that debate played out.

 

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“There is something in the bill that I don’t understand why the government is doing that. And we wah quarrel now. The government says in the miscellaneous section of the bill that you can only recovery, what they call dirty property, or you can only go after people for unexplained wealth within the last twelve years. Why stop there? Why only the last twelve years? or, you can apply to the court for them to extend the time back to twenty years. I was present when I was reading the document. It is at section fifty-seven. Which puts us to where, 2011. So, you only go back to 2011? If you really want to be transparent and cover everybody have no limitations, go all the way back because there are pople still living off those money.”

 

Kevin Herrera

Kevin Herrera, Business Senator

“I am very much supportive of what this bill trying to achieve with respect with trying to recover government assets that left government coffers unlawfully, so we don’t have any issue with that concept. But going over the bill, I struggle over certain things. I struggled with whether we were dealing with a criminal or civil matter.”

 

Elena Smith

Elena Smith, N.T.U.C.B. Senator

“The concern is whether we have made provisions for additional personnel support for the FIU, simply ofr the fact that they also have other functions, such as Money Laundering. We don’t want that we have something in place but it can’t be enforced because we don’t have sufficient personnel.”

 

Janelle Chanona

Janelle Chanona, N.G.O. Senator

“I will tell you in no uncertain terms when this draft came up, when this bill came up, the number of people that said this is going to be a great thing, because I know so and so, he dah only so and so and have x,y,z . that has been the response. We know it to be true of things that have been happening since Independence if not before.”


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