A new and improved Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime Bill 2019 will allow law enforcement to confiscate the property of criminals who commit a wide range of offences.
And those offenders who got rich off those ill gotten gains within the last 20 years will not be safe from the Crown’s grasp.
The highlights of the new Bill were revealed by Attorney General Dale Marshall in Parliament this morning, as he outlined Government’s plans to tackle criminals who have accumulated wealth by illegal means.
“It is intended to strike at essentially those assets that are in the possession of the criminal element of our country, where those assets are either themselves the proceeds of crime or are intended or have been used in the commission of crime or in unlawful conduct,” Marshall said as he sought to explain the purpose of the Bill.
He said while there was a Proceeds of Crime Act which had been enacted in 1990 and had been amended in 1998 and 2002, that Act had glaring deficiencies.
Marshall said it allowed the Crown to confiscate proceeds of crime only in connection with drug offences and those related to terrorism.
“So the Proceeds of Crime legislation that we have today in Barbados and that has been here for the past 29 years, was focused solely on proceeds from drug crime or terrorism-related crime,” the Attorney General lamented.
“So that the Proceeds of Crime legislation that we have, if you put terrorism associated issues aside, effectively we look only at proceeds of drug-related crime. Now that is a glaring deficiency…”
Marshall said the new Bill would cover proceeds from corruption, money laundering, racketeering among others.
Additionally, the Attorney General said that 20 years prior to this new Bill being passed, criminals would still stand to lose their monies and properties if found guilty.
“So the limitation period is a 20-year period, 20 years after you acquire the proceeds of crime. So while you have 20 years after the ill-gotten gains are acquired… that 20 years is not only looking forward, it also looks backward.”
Marshall also revealed that a portion of the monies confiscated from such proceedings will go towards a regional account to help in the Caribbean’s fight against crime, while the remaining would go towards helping to fund law enforcement in Barbados.