Senate passes two more anti-money laundering legislation

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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THE Senate yesterday approved amendments to two anti-money laundering legislation – the Proceeds of Crime Acts and the Terrorism Prevention Act.

However, while Opposition senators supported the Government in passing the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering Prevention (Amendment) Regulations Resolution, they revolted against the passing into law of the Terrorism Prevention (Designated Reporting Entity) (Attorney-at-law) Order, Resolution 2019, on the basis that the Jamaican Bar Association still had issues with some of the proposed changes.

Leader of Opposition Business Senator Donna Scott Mottley, an attorney-at-law, said that she did not feel satisfied with the assurances given by Leader of Government Business Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who is also a lawyer, although she usually accepts her explanations.

“I am not questioning her word, but I am saying that I am not satisfied with the assurances that she has given that this (legislation) is of such moment that it could not await the deliberations of the court,” Senator Scott Mottley said in reference to the fact that the bar association has already taken its issues with some of the proposed changes to court.

She said that despite the fact that the leader of Government business insisted that these were not the same proposals the local bar had objected to, in terms of its impact on lawyer/client relationships, some requirements were identical.

“I believe that [in terms of] the requirements, which are identical, the fact that the Jamaican Bar Association is concerned enough to call an emergency meeting, and the fact that it is already well established that there is going to be a challenge from the bar association, I am not supporting this,” Scott Mottley added.

She admitted, however, that without the Opposition's support the Government could go ahead and approve the resolution. The Opposition then called for a “divide”, which ended with the amendment being carried by a 10-six government majority in favour of the changes, with four senators absent.

Johnson Smith said that passing the two resolutions would be in keeping with recent activities in both Houses of Parliament, in terms of seeking to ensure that Jamaica complies with the asset guidelines and monitoring regime which, essentially, govern anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regimes within the financial system.

She noted that more recently the Senate passed the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2019, the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the United Nations Security Resolution Implementation (Amendment) Act, 2019, all of which dealt with the issue.


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