The Civil Asset Recovery & Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill has been passed. This bill is supposedly going to assist in addressing the problem of persons profiting from organized crime.
When brought into law, a new agency will be established for the enforcement of the bill. This new agency will be the group seizing assets.
Although both the PNM and the UNC voted to pass the bill, it is being criticised amongst some of the public.
The government’s website mentions that any property that an individual has as a result of criminal activity is up for possible seizure.
People have serious concerns about the bill because it does not state that a conviction is needed in order to seize someone’s property. The bill goes on to say that property cannot be taken if it instead is forfeited or vested.
A Newsday opinion piece criticized the passed bill stating that the bill is unlikely to ever be put into motion, even if it is law. These claims hold water when one considers past bills such as the Fair Trading Act that was law since 2006 but has never been mobilized.
Many see this bill as a danger to small business owners, those who operate an entirely cash oriented business.
“Did you hear Faris? All he talking about is nuts men and dem… is small businesses going to suffer. And none of them small businessmen could wear the gold anymore, because all that go get taken one time I bet.”Said one man when asked about his thought on the bill.
Speaking with GML The Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said that this bill puts himself “in line under the Proceedings of Crime Act.” He went on to state that it was, in fact, the UNC that is afraid of the implementation of this bill and the ramifications it will have on them.
“They’re frightened of the application of this law…we have no fear in the PNM, of inspection. We’re the first to be checked – and I know the UNC can’t say that!”Said Al-Rawi.