Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Senate passes 3 bills to strengthen financial and terrorism laws

Jamaica’s financial and terrorism laws were strengthened on Friday when the Senate passed three amended bills that will ensure the country continues to fulfil its international obligations.

The three bills are the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act 2019; the United Nations Security Council Resolution Implementation (Amendment) Act 2019 and the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2019.

They were piloted by Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Johnson Smith told the Senate that the three bills together “make up a suite of anti-money laundering (and) counter-financing of terrorism legislation which may also be viewed as containing companion measures.”

“Getting to the root of crime means you have to get to the financing of organised crime,” said Johnson Smith.

“We (Jamaica) have always taken a strong stance regarding our role in combating global terrorism and the financing of terrorism,” Johnson Smith said.

Among other things, the amendments ensured that Jamaica met an end of October deadline and as such remain compliant with the provisions of the Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Action Task Force among other international bodies.

Meanwhile, Opposition Senator KD Knight, in a show of bipartisan support lauded the government for strengthening the various legislation, in particular the terrorism bill.

The former national security and justice minister noted that while Jamaica was not a target of terrorists, persons, including tourists who visit our shores may be targets.

“Because our role in the international community doesn’t excite that kind of action but there are persons who visit here who are targets,” Knight said.

“There are tourists from particular countries who are targets and, therefore, if we don’t recognise that and we feel self-satisfying that we are not a part of that community that would face that kind of challenge, then we may find that we do so to our own peril,” he warned.

The former Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister said Jamaica must ensure that it has the legislative framework to combat any threat and Jamaicans must be made aware of the potential dangers.

Meanwhile, Knight, without naming the country, said it was his opinion that the world was currently facing a greater threat from the actions of terrorists based on recent steps that have been taken elsewhere.

“The world faces a threat, and without going into the politics of any particular country I must say that my own view is, and I’m not singular in this view, that we are today, further away from a solution to the problem of terrorism than we were perhaps a month ago.

“We are further away because of misguided policies, not thought through policies which have the potential to revive terrorist threat to the international community,” Knight remarked.



Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: