Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Malone defends rushed ‘last minute’ bills coming to HOA

Malone defends rushed ‘last minute’ bills coming to HOA

Territorial At-Large Representative, Carvin Malone, has defended the lateness of 16 bills being brought before lawmakers late last week during what is believed to be the penultimate sitting of the House of Assembly (HOA).
While acknowledging the concerns raised by some residents over the issue, Malone said on the VIP Let’s Talk show last evening that the latest episode of rushed financial bills to the HOA was unfortunate.

At the same time, he said it was both prudent and critical that these bills be laid in the House at this stage.

New financial legislation was similarly rushed through the House late last year when legislators blasted the Financial Services Commission and bemoaned the fact that they were not given sufficient time to become familiar with the law they were being asked to pass.

But according to Malone, the legislation now being brought to the House through the Commission is being done in preparation for the conduct of mutual evaluations set for March 2023, as recommended by the Financial Action Task Force.

He also pointed out that those bills are expected to receive their second and third readings tomorrow March 9, when the House resumes for its final sitting before being dissolved.

“Most people, and almost everyone are very concerned of the lateness that these 16 bills being introduced to the House at this time,” Malone said. “Unfortunately, this is when they were presented both to the Cabinet and to the House of Assembly to be done, but in preparation for these mutual evaluations.”

Malone noted that lawmakers informed the Financial Services Commission on this occasion that it was unacceptable that bills were being brought to the HOA at the last minute. However, he argued that if the laws were not passed now, the territory stands the risk of not being able to meet the requirements for mutual evaluation.

“I think that we did the right thing in making sure that they come and they can be passed so that we can then go through the mutual evaluations,” Malone shared.

Just recently, concerns were raised by residents over the numerous provisions contained in the Police Act which appeared to infringe on the rights of citizens.

However, lawmakers said then that the bill was given to them at the last minute by Governor John Rankin, forcing Premier Dr Natalio to ultimately withdraw the bill before returning with it after more consultation with residents.
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