The Miscellaneous Provisions (FATF Compliance) bill was passed in the House last evening, with 23 votes in favour, six votes against, with one abstention.
In delivering his closing remarks on the bill, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi praised Opposition senator Jayanti Lutchmedial for presenting a more thoughtful contribution than her colleagues.
He said in getting T&T off the FATF negative listing, the Government did not get a lot of support from the Opposition.
However, Opposition Senator, Wade Mark maintained that the Bill sought to alter 13 existing laws, and infringes on citizens’ rights using the cover of the Financial Action Task Force, FATF.
Mark had several issues with the bill, among them, what it would mean for the Central Bank.
He is of the view that government wants to control the Central Bank and turn it into a virtual division of the Ministry of Finance.
Mark questioned why government wanted to reduce the Central Bank’s tenure from five to three years and why they have yet to appoint deputy governors.
He also said the bill proposed to alter the Interception of Communication Act by allowing the authorities to access people’s “stored data.”
He said this lets a police constable seek a court order to access someone’s phone records from ten or 15 years ago. Mark said a bill for such retroactivity can only be passed by a special majority.