JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A Bill to introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate all charitable organisations.
  • The Charities Act 2013 is a key part of the Extended Fund Facility between Jamaica and the IMF.
  • It makes provision for the establishment of a comprehensive legal and institutional framework and will facilitate the registration.

A Bill to introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate all charitable organisations, whether intending to, or already operating in the country, was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 29.

The Charities Act 2013 is a key part of the Extended Fund Facility between Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It 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.

In his contribution, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, noted that the Charities Act is designed to maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in charitable organisations.

“We, in the Ministry, understand how difficult it is with the many requests that come in each day/week for discretionary relief for charitable purposes,” Mr. Dalley said.

For the 2010/11 financial year, the Government granted waivers to charitable organisations amounting to $4 billion, while the sum for 2011/12 was $2 billion.

The Charities Bill 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. It 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.

In closing the debate, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, expressed his appreciation for the contributions made to the Bill.

The legislation was passed with three amendments and will be sent to the Senate for its approval.