Lawmakers To Debate Firearms and Anti-terrorism

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Money Laundering Legislation Also On The List

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 04, 2009 (CUOPM)

Lawmakers go to the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly on Thursday to strengthen legislation dealing with firearms, anti-terrorism and money laundering.

The Firearms Act No. 23 of 1967 is being amended to reflect the policy of the Government to protect the citizens and to maintain peace, order, liberty and to promote public safety and is part of the ongoing effort to reduce if not totally eradicate crime and violence in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas will propose in Clause 3 of the Bill to amend Section 20 of the Firearms Act by making provision relating to the smuggling of firearms in to St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Bill seeks to address the element of illegally obtaining and being in possession of firearms by classifying this as the offense of smuggling and providing stiff penalties for its commission.

A person found in possession of firearms that are not licensed under Sections 4 or 20 or exempted under Section 8 of the firearms act  or accounted for under the Customs (Control and Management) Act is deemed to have committed the offence of smuggling firearms into the Federation.

The charge of smuggling firearms is in addition to any other charge under the Act, including a charge of possession.

Smuggling firearms under the proposed sub section 20 (6) is according to the existing subsection (5), a strict liability offence and the Crown shall not be required to prove mens rea (state of the mind) in proceedings brought pursuant to the said subsection (6). A person found guilty will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years on summary conviction or to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years on indictment.

The amendment o the parent legislation of the Anti-Terrorism Act seeks to remove the necessity for having all regulations laid in the House.

It is of the view that the parent legislation is of a type that will be the subject of frequent security on both the regional and international stage and as the face of terrorist activity continues to change there would be an even greater need for the legislation to be readily adaptable to keep abreast of these changes.

The amendment of Section 108 in Clause 3 is intended to provide a greater level of flexibility by removing the requirement for Regulations to be laid in the National Assembly.

The amendment to the Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill, 2009, which stands in the name of the Minister of National Security, brings the Act in line with the requirements of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

Each country  is required specifically to expand the definition of property to cover not only the ordinary legal meaning of the term, but every facility that may have been used  to commit or aid in the commission of the crime of money laundering.

Clause 1 of the Bill seeks to reformulate the definition of property to include all property whether movable or immovable, vested or contingent, proceeds from, instrumentalities used in and instrumentalities intended for use in the commission of any money laundering or related offence and whether situated in St. Kitts and Nevis or elsewhere.

Secondly the Bill seeks to create greater flexibility in making regulations as it is inevitable that several different types Regulations would need to be made on a frequent basis to fully operationalise various aspects of the parent act. The provision that demands the laying of these regulations in the House on every occasion therefore renders the process an unduly cumbersome one.

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