New legislation to help in crime fight

Barbados is moving to widen the net on capturing the proceeds of crime.

Leading off the debate on the Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime Bill (2019) yesterday in Parliament, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Dale Marshall said that unlike its 29-year-old predecessor, the new legislation would not just seek to seize those assets of persons found guilty of drug or terrorism crimes, but encompasses those involved in money laundering, corruption and arms trafficking.

“Today, there are individuals who will earn their keep by laundering money, who will earn their keep by selling guns, who will earn their keep by being involved in human trafficking…

“Let us face it, there can be little or no justification for maintaining on our books a statute that was so limited in scope that it only covered a small percentage of criminal activity. So we needed to change it,” he said.

Marshall insisted that the legislation would prove vital in fighting and suppressing criminal activity in Barbados’ current landscape, especially in the area of corruption.

“In a society that has suffered so much under corruption, the existing Proceeds of Crime Act does not allow the authorities to seize the proceeds of those corrupt acts so the individuals who have been engaged in the acts of corruption, but have palatial residences, drive big fancy cars, own restaurants and bars and other enterprises, build apartments up and down Barbados- all arising out of taking bribes, the existing laws say that we have to, as the English would say ‘doff our hats’ and say ‘on your way’,” he stated.

Pointing out that today’s criminal was not the person “doing the drug-running, who is out there doing the shootings and the muggings and the stabbings,” Marshall insisted they “are often cloaked in a veneer of respectability and attends the cocktail parties and eats at the Hilton and so on, while there is a deep underbelly of criminality that provides the source of those funds.” (JMB)

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