House members debate new crime bill

National Security Minister, Marvin Dames.

Parliamentarians began debate on a compendium of bills in the house of assembly today which, among other things, will permit the courts to seize assets that cannot be explained through legitimate means from public figures or questionable people.

National Security Minister, Marvin Dames, said the bills will expose persons, organizations and companies involved in criminal activities.

Dames said, “If you are low collar, if you are trafficking in drugs, guns, people, or is you are sitting in the board room engaging in money laundering or terrorist financing over the internet, you will be exposed through this bill.”

Foreign Affairs Minister, Darren Henfield, told house members the bills will prevent the gross mismanagement of the public purse.

“The honest and transparent management of public resources of The  Bahamas is essential for good governance,” said Henfield, “and the achievement of sustainable development. any diversion of a state resource for personal gain by abuse of public office erodes public trust, compromises the government’s ability to provide essential services such as education, health care, build roads, build schools, build docks and build airports.”

Opposition leader Phillip Brave Davis questioned whether the bills would lead to over regulating.

“I do appreciate that we have to move,” said Davis, “and we just remind all of us that the execution of this bill, when enforced, will require a lot of resources put behind it by the government and i trust that they are ready and willing and have the political will to do so.”

The bills are a part of a package of legislation the Minnis administration is rolling out in keeping with its promise to strengthen the country’s anti-corruption regime.

While several former PLP parliamentarians have been charged with bribery and extortion, no member of the PLP has been found guilty of any corruption matter.