MP Brison will present ‘solution’ to FATF laws | THE DAILY HERALD

MP Rolando Brison.


PHILIPSBURG–United St. Maarten Party (US Party) faction leader Member of Parliament (MP) Rolando Brison said on Sunday that amendments to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) laws which have been prepared for months will be presented soon and that the minority United Democrats/St. Maarten Christian Party (UD/SMCP) coalition completely dropped the ball on the issue.

  Brison, who was recently elected First Vice Chairperson of Parliament, said the former Chairperson of Parliament recently confirmed what his faction has said all along: “Rather than work in the best interest of the country and allow these laws to be handled, she danced around it and didn’t convene a meeting to debate the issue to avoid the embarrassment of it being voted down by her own coalition. St. Maarten is finally learning how one person has singlehandedly put the entire country’s financial structure at risk.”

  Brison said in a recent press release that Wescot-Williams admitted the confusion in her coalition where she could not even secure votes for laws. “The former Chairlady appears to be referring to her former coalition member who eventually broke the government, MP Franklin Meyers, as he is the only member of her coalition to publicly state he would not support the laws. MP Meyers in the Central Committee debate of these FATF laws was very critical of them and stated emphatically, ‘These laws cannot get my support as is.’ Despite this, opportunity to bring amendments was never given by the former Chairlady of Parliament and the ball has been completely dropped,” Brison said.

  Brison explained that MPs have a right to amendment, which allows MPs to amend any law being debated in Parliament. The condition is, however, that these amendments are only eligible to be presented once a public meeting has been called, as per Article 58 of the Rules of Order. “Unfortunately, the previous coalition has never brought these laws to a public meeting, despite forming a majority close to two years ago,” Brison said.

  He stressed that the minority UD/SMCP coalition has been extremely irresponsible in the handling of these laws. Parliament only received these laws from Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever on June 24, during the budget debate. “Why this took so long to get to Parliament is beyond me, as the Minister claims these laws were waiting for him when he came into office. To make matters worse, the Chairlady of Parliament failed to bring these laws to a public meeting where they could be amended and voted on, almost four months later,” Brison said.

  He said one of the first priorities of the new Chairperson of Parliament has been to address these issues. National Alliance MP William Marlin, independent MP Dr. Luc Mercelina and Brison have come up with a schedule that would ensure the laws are handled long before the November 1 deadline. They are tentatively scheduled to be handled the week of October 7. “Unfortunately, this is the quickest possible handling due to the poor handling by the previous coalition,” Brison said.

  The amendments to be presented by Brison will include: The definitions related to Terrorist and Terrorism in the proposed Penal Code will be adjusted to help prevent abuse in issuing such a charge. The definition will instead be derived from the internationally accepted definitions. The change to the Civil Code that would allow the Chamber of Commerce to have blanket powers in removing people from the registry is going to be amended. This is prone to abuse and not a FATF requirement and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) has publicly expressed concerns with these issues.

  The Penal Procedure code will need to be amended to more closely reflect the recommendations of the FATF, as the current proposed law includes changes that are not within the scope of FATF.

  Other amendments that will help prevent banks from making it even more difficult to open bank accounts will be included, while still adhering to all FATF recommendations. Brison will be submitting the amendments necessary. “And unlike the previous coalition who has no confidence in one another, I have discussed with members of the new coalition and the amendments are well received. A public meeting will be called by the coalition to handle these amendments, four months after the call for urgency was ignored by the previous Chair,” Brison said.

Source: The Daily Herald