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KINGSTON – The House of Representatives, on Tuesday (March 22), approved amendments to the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, making Jamaica compliant with certain provisions of the United Nations Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, who piloted the Bill, informed that the law is being amended to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to apply to the Supreme Court for an order to list persons or entities as terrorists.

“This is based on either a list issued under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 or if our own DPP has reasonable grounds for believing that persons or entities participated in terrorist acts,” Dr. Baugh said.

The Act has also been amended to clarify and expand on the obligation of financial institutions in Jamaica to report on any unusual or suspicious transactions.

Dr. Baugh explained that the amendments were important as the country would be deemed non-compliant with the provisions of the FATF and would be designated as a high risk jurisdiction.

“If the FATF makes this recommendation to its members about Jamaica, the effect can be to effectively lock Jamaica out of the global financial system,” Dr. Baugh said.

In his remarks, Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Peter Bunting, questioned the delay in taking the Bill to the Lower House for its approval.

Dr. Baugh responded that, “this is something that we have been trying to get through over the last several months. It has been to Cabinet twice (but) there are issues that we’ve had with it that had to be sorted out and thrashed out."

“There has been some delay on our side. From the time, in June 2005, when this Act was passed in Jamaica, the authorities indicated that amendments needed to be made and it has been delayed. So, we all are responsible,” Dr. Baugh said.

The Bill will now be sent to the Senate for its approval.

 

By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter