PM Briceno comments on Non-Profit Organizations Bill
The Non-Profit Organizations Bill has been a controversial topic since its inception, leading to concern expressed by the Belize Network of NGO’s.. The concerns of these groups stem from legislation that places undue restrictions on the operations of non-profit organizations and civil society groups, including the requirement for mandatory registration and reporting of all NGO activities, disclosure of information, on-site inspections, and measures imposed for breaches of obligations. After the tabling of the bill, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) held a virtual meeting with members of the NPO, where they were told that the bill would be withdrawn. However, when presented with the question today, Prime Minister, John Briceño, categorically denied any plans to repeal the NGO Bill.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “The issue with the NGO Bill is that these are things that are being forced upon us by the international community when it comes to the issue of money laundering and anti-terrorism and that kind of stuff. We have no control over it and the NGO bill is a very straightforward, all we’re saying is that we just need to give an account where you are getting your money from just for reporting to the FIU so that then the international community they can see that we’re doing our part. We cannot take any risk when it comes to the issue of the corresponding banking situation. We lost about 80% of the corresponding banking relationships that we had earlier probably ten years ago so the ones that we have we have to do everything possible to keep them and so right now the Financial Action Task Force from the Caribbean will be making a new review of our work by the end of December. They will be here in June to see how far we are and these are some of the obligations that they have imposed on us. So we’re just asking them to cooperate with us. It has nothing to do with the government that we want to control anything to do with them it’s simply that the international community is saying everybody needs to account for the monies they are getting, where it comes from and so forth. But we’ll meet with them and hear them out and if we can make any changes to make it better but at the same time meet the standard that is being asked of us we’re prepared to do it.”