JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The purpose of the Bill is to introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate all charitable organisations, whether intending to, or already operating in the country.
  • The Bill makes provides a definition for charitable organisations and the designation of the registrar of charitable organisations by the responsible Minister.
  • The legislation also stipulates the designation of a person or body as the Charities Authority.

Debate on the Charities Act 2013 began in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 22.

The purpose of the Bill is to introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate all charitable organisations, whether intending to, or already operating in the country.

In piloting the legislation, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, noted that it is a key part of the Extended Fund Facility Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Bill makes provision for the establishment of a comprehensive legal and institutional framework and will facilitate the registration, regulation, administration and governance of the private voluntary sector operating in Jamaica.

It also provides a definition for charitable organisations and the designation of the registrar of charitable organisations by the responsible Minister, which will keep and maintain a register of all registered charitable organisations.

“Currently, there is no single place at which to register charitable organisations. Relevant information is stored at either at the Companies Office of Jamaica, the Department of Cooperative Friendly Societies or at the Office to the Clerk of the Houses of Parliament,” Mr. Hylton said.

The legislation also stipulates the designation of a person or body as the Charities Authority.

Among the functions of the Authority are: to receive, process and determine applications for registration under the Act; make appropriate information available to assist persons to make applications for registration under the Act; monitor and promote compliance with the Act and any regulations; and to ensure that registered charitable organisations are not misused for criminal purpose or controlled by persons engaged in criminal activities.

For the 2010/2011 financial year, the Government granted waivers to charitable organisations amounting to $4 billion, while the sum for 2011/2012 was $2 billion.