During his communication in the House of Assembly on the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2018,Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said that the existing legislation – the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2004– was not comprehensive enough to meet the “ever-evolving changes of terrorism” and its associated activities within the 21st century.
“Now, almost 15 years later, we are enacting new legislation, guided by the Model Legislation for the region where there exists uniformity between all countries as it relates to their Anti-Terrorism legislations,” Dames said.
“We are cognizant of the fact that we are a part of the global environment and, as such, our fight for humanity as demonstrated in this proposed legislation remains steadfast.”
Dames noted that September 11, 2001 reminded all of the horrors and devastating impact caused by terrorism, which, he said, “seeks to threaten humanity, as we know it”.
“This Anti-Terrorism Bill, 2018 being debated today is a comprehensive, contemporary, and necessary piece of legislative framework to counter all forms of terrorist activity including the targeting of all assets, financial and otherwise that are related to terrorist activity,” he said.
“Just barely a year ago when we came to office, this Government was determined to move swiftly to protect our citizens, our sovereignty and strengthen our financial sector,” he added.
“This Bill once enacted, will signify a milestone for our Government and continue to demonstrate our strong commitment to realising the aforesaid goals and to meeting our international obligations.”
He pointed out that the Anti-Terrorism Bill, 2018, was for “an Act to Criminalise Terrorism; the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction; the Financing of Terrorism; to Provide for the Detection, Prevention, Prosecution, Conviction and Punishment of such activities; and the Confiscation, Forfeiture and Seizure of Assets of those involved in such activities for related matters”.
He added that the Bill strongly reinforced the fact that those in The Bahamas will not subject their nation or its citizens to any form of terrorism.
“This Bill is formulated to strengthen The Bahamas’ resolve in the detection of terrorist activity; the subduing of terrorist acts; the prevention of our financial resources being used to commit terrorist acts or finance terrorist acts; the safeguarding of our resources from being used as weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously making us compliant with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Terrorism, CARICOM’s coordinated approach to countering terrorism and other international responsibilities as a nation,” he stated.
“We fully realise that we are not a country unto ourselves and as a global player we must be compliant in every aspect.
“While several sections of the existing 2004 Act remain unchanged, the majority of the new Bill comprises new sections in order that we remain compliant and consistent with collective counter-terrorism policies agreed and coordinated by the international community to safeguard our citizens and institutions within our nation and for future generations.”
This article was written by ERIC ROSE, Bahamas Information Services.