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Legislators blast financial services sector for last-minute measures

Legislators blast financial services sector for last-minute measures

Some legislators have called out leaders of the local financial services sector, urging them to ensure they give lawmakers adequate time to review important laws the sector wants passed to improve their industry.
Legislators issued the call while debating The Virtual Assets Service Providers Act 2022, in the House of Assembly on November 24. The law sets guidelines for the handling of virtual assets such as cryptocurrency in the territory’s financial services industry.

While all legislators supported the bill, some of them bemoaned the short time the House of Assembly was given to review it. They also bemoaned the fact that they had to pass the law on the same day it was debated.

“The least that could have happened is that members of the House of Assembly could have had a briefing on this bill and we would come here informed. You can’t tell me that the people in financial services can’t afford to give us three days before it comes to the sitting, so that members of the House can have some form of debriefing on the matter,” Opposition Leader Julian Fraser pointed out. He said leaders of the financial services industry have been operating this way for years; partly because they know lawmakers will not oppose legislation they propose.

Fraser then called for a Financial Services Committe to be set up in the House of Assembly so that technocrats can brief legislators on important developments in the financial services industry.

Fraser’s cry was echoed by Territorial At-Large Representative Neville ‘Sheep’ Smith who said bills like The Virtual Assets Service Providers Act 2022 are very important and shouldn’t be debated and passed in one sitting in the House of Assembly.

He admitted that he didn’t understand all aspects of the bill because he had no time to do the required research.

“We cannot continue to do things wrong and then turn around and say we have to let it happen because it is financial services. We have to hold them to the highest level too,” Smith said frankly. “The next one that comes in here like this while I’m here, I ain’t staying. We cannot continue to do something wrong and try to make it look right,” Smith said.

Another Territorial At-Large Representative, Carvin Malone also supported his fellow legislators in their call to the financial services industry. He also said proper consultation should be done with the appropriate people before bills are drafted and presented to the House of Assembly.

In the end, all legislators supported The Virtual Assets Service Providers Act 2022. The bill was passed that same day.

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