KINGSTON – The Senate has approved amendments to the Terrorism Prevention Act, to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to list persons or entities as terrorists, following the approval of the Supreme Court.
The Bill, titled the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2011, was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday March 22 and in the Senate on Friday March 25.
It seeks to establish the legislative framework to facilitate implementation of special recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body linked to the Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), which develops policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Justice Minister and Attorney General, Hon Dorothy Lightbourne, who piloted the Bill, said that the amendments will affect sections 14 and 16 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, to empower the DPP to apply to the Supreme Court for an order to list persons or entities as terrorist threats. This is based either on a list issued under the United Nations National Security Resolution 1267, or if the DPP has reasonable grounds to believe that such persons or entities participated in terrorist acts. The amendments are also intended to clarify and expand on the obligations for financial institutions to report on unusual or suspicious transactions.
Senator Lightbourne explained that the substantive Act defines terrorism as inclusive of activities by persons recruited to commit terrorist acts, as well as participation in the activities of a terrorist group. It also lists a range of issues relative to terrorism financing, ranging from the prohibition of funding for terrorist acts to the monitoring of financial institutions to ensure that they do not deal with any entity with a terrorist designation.
The UN Security Council monitors member states’ implementation of Resolution 1373, by requiring that countries submit reports to a committee established under this protocol. Jamaica will submit a country report next month.
Senator Lightbourne said that, by virtue of the amendments, Jamaica was now in a position to more effectively comply with the FATF’s special recommendations. The Task Force conducts regular evaluations of countries, to ensure that they adhere to international standards pertaining to money laundering and terrorism financing. Jamaica underwent a similar evaluation in 2005.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter