Senators from Belize and members of the Forum of Presiding Officers of Parliament of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL) which consist of the House Speakers from each country in Central America met today in Belize. The meeting was to constitute proposed legislations to strengthen institutions in the countries involved. House Speaker of Belize, Michael Peyrefitte spoke of some of the topics that were being discussed.
“Right now we are hearing presentations from consultants in Central America concerning money laundering and the trafficking of firearms and we have two consultants who are going to present to us as to what we can do to better our laws when it comes to fire arms and money laundering. I am prepared to go in there right now that Belize has some of the most stringent money laundering and firearms legislation. What he is saying that we need to do and what we need to improve on I think I may need to enlighten them as well that we are very solid in those areas.”
Peyrefitte spoke about the benefits of the legislation to improve security and safety in the Central American region. He added the procedures that they would need to follow if they have a proposed legislation they want to apply as law.
“When it comes to security and safety in terms of trafficking in persons they have helped a lot, they’ve also helped in terms of giving us insight when it comes to money laundering as well already for the trafficking in firearms and of course the transshipment of illegal drugs. So we have always been doing discussions with them, in their system they are the speakers and the different members of congress are required to present legislation to their parliament. In our system if we get an idea of a piece of legislation that would be good we pass it on to the Attorney General who is the executive member for laws in the Cabinet and then she in this case would then propose it to Cabinet for it to be tabled in the House if we find that it is necessary for the better government of the people of Belize.”
As mentioned by Peyrefitte some of the legislations being proposed, are already in Belize’s legislative system such as better ballistic testing; matching an extended shell to a firearm. He gave us an example of one of the legislations being proposed that he finds suitable for Belize.
“A proposal that I like is the whole concept of trafficking. If you are found with an illegal firearm or you are found with a firearm that you are not legally able to carry and it was not issued by any firearms dealer in Belize, and was not legally imported in any then you are deemed to be trafficking a firearm, that would be an additional charge against you not just for the possession of an illegal firearm but trafficking a firearm. Like I said personally those are the ones on the proposals that I like but like I said we have to present it to the Attorney General and see what we can do to present it to parliament.”