Published On: Mon, Sep 30th, 2019

MP Brison to present solution to financial laws

MP Rolando Brison UTS Share Sale Presentation Parliament

~ Says previous coalition put country at risk ~

PHILIPSBURG — Vice President of Parliament and USP Faction Leader MP Rolando Brison on Sunday said amendments to the FATF laws which have been prepared for months will be presented soon and that the previous UD/SMCP coalition completely dropped the ball on the issue.

Brison said the former Chairlady 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 single handedly put the entire country’s financial structure at risk.”

MP Brison said in a recent press release, the former Chairlady 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 stated.

MP Brison explained that Members of Parliament have the right to amendment which allows MP’s 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,” MP Brison said.

Brison stressed that the previous UD/SMCP coalition has been extremely irresponsible in the handling of these laws. Firstly, he explained, Parliament only received these laws from the Minister of Justice on June 24th, 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 4 months later,” Brison said.

He said one of the first priorities of the new Presidents of Parliament has been to address these issues. MP’s William Marlin, Brison and Luc Mercelina have come up with a schedule that would ensure the laws are handled long before the November 1st 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 MP 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 changes 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 an FATF requirements, and the Chamber of Commerce 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.

Much like the many times Brison has had to proudly pick up the slack where the coalition has failed, such as with the UTS Initiative law that was botched by the previous coalition, Brison is again 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, 4 months after the call for urgency was ignored by the previous chair.”

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