Mr Speaker, I rise to move the Second Reading of the Bill entitled Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The overall intent of this Bill is to criminalize all of the conduct outlined in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 through sections 12 and 14 of our Anti-Terrorism Act, chapter 4.02 of 2001. An independent evaluation of our legislation by (FATF) revealed that:
“Section 14 criminalises the funding or making available of property to be used for terrorist purposes. Terrorist purposes is not defined in the Anti-Terrorism Act, and it is unclear whether the term terrorist purposes (as opposed to terrorist act) is broad enough to cover all conduct envisaged in UNSCR 2178. In the absence of specific references to the provision of funds for the purpose of travel to partake in terrorist training,” St. Kitts and Nevis is obliged to review its laws to ensure that it fully criminalises all of the conduct envisaged in UNSCR 2178.
The Bill for the Consideration of Cabinet is the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to recent Recommendations proposed by the Financial Action Task Force in respect of expressly implementing measures to provide for United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2178 of 2014 and to provide targeted financial sanctions relating to same. UNSCR 2178 among other things, addresses the issue of the threat of persons who are foreign terrorist fighters and those who support such persons and essentially requires States to criminalise the actions of all those involved in such actions. UNSCR 2178 focuses overall on the rising threat of extreme terrorist acts.
UNSCR 2014 was approved in September of 2014 and subsequently, in February of this year, the FATF launched a comprehensive questionnaire globally through the various FATF-Style Regional Bodies– our regional body being that of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). As a result of this questionnaire, the FATF flagged areas of weakness that might need to be fortified in order to address the concerns of UNSCR 2178. Recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere have spotlighted the urgency of a global response to these actions. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November, 2015 all leaders committed to do all that we could to eradicate terrorism and terrorist related activities.
St. Kitts and Nevis has criminalised terrorism in its Anti-Terrorism Act – Cap. 4.02 of 2001. However, as a result of new and evolving initiatives the need for revisiting the provisions of the Act has arisen. The legislation therefore seeks to address the three (3) areas identified by the FATF through its regional body CFATF.
Clause 3 of the Bill seeks to expand the definition of “terrorist activity” by including elements of activities that target persons travelling for the purpose of participating in terrorist acts and those who would finance that activity. The Clause also includes a proposal for a new definition, that of “terrorist purposes”which although referred to in the Act, was never specifically defined.
Clause 4 seeks to amend section 46 by providing for the “immediate freezing” of funds of a person who has been identified as being a member of a terrorist group. Additionally, the clause provides that where a terrorist has been identified, that the Director of Public Prosecutions shall without delay, apply ex parte for the freezing of such funds.
Clause 5 of the Bill proposes an increase in current penalties to make them more commensurate with current international standards.