Minister of Home Affairs Chimes in On the Transparency of the Online Business Registry System
The emergence of the Online Business Registry System as a result of a merger between the Companies and Business Registry and the International Business Companies Registry has been met with much scrutiny and contempt, especially from legal practitioners. The concern stems from the fact that the new portal omits crucial information about Belizean companies and businesses which includes information regarding shareholders and directors. That information is left exclusive to the companies’ attorneys. Cabinet Minister and attorney-at-law, Kareem Musa, explains that if there are any shortcomings, they would need to be addressed to provide more transparency.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “The law firm of Musa and Balderamos did do searches of course, all law firms in the country do company searches and so in terms of the new requirements or rather the new access that will be granted I am told that it will be the usual information like share holders, the date of the company formation things like that but I think that if there is a necessity for us to allow greater access because I agree with you it should be more open and transparent as it has been with local companies then I think that legislation would have to be looked at again to see how it could be amended to allow for that access because I don’t think that should be the intention to deprive anyone of access.”
Minister Musa also chimed in on how this would affect international institutions looking to conduct business in Belize, as they have been adamant about utmost transparency to avoid falling into corruption.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “I think that we have to certainly create like I said that level of access for you to determine the true beneficial owners of companies and so like I said when we see it be put into practice if it is that you are not allowed that type of access for you to determine true ownership or beneficial ownership that is something that we’ll have to look at because like I said that is something even in the court system that it’s always asked “Who are the true beneficial owners of these companies ?” and like I said I think that the legislation would have to be tweaked or amended to allow that type of access. I can’t say that it will necessarily be frowned upon like I said I would have to actually see it being put in place and in practice. It I’m sure is similar to other jurisdictions in terms of the type of access but the intention like I said should not be to deprive us of true ownership access that is something that I think is essential for us to be able to determine and for members of the public to have that type of information as well.”