Eyebrows are raised in Grenada over an amendment made to the island’s Terrorism Act by the New National Party (NNP) dominated Parliament.
The change now gives the Attorney General, Cajeton Hood, the power to confiscate the assets of anyone once he believes that the assets were gained through terrorist activities.
Former President of the Grenada Bar Association, Ruggles Ferguson in an appearance on the Sunday with George Grant radio programme raised concerns on whether the change that was made might not be in conflict with the local constitution.
Ferguson said that the legal profession did not have any oversight into the proposed changes before it was taken to Parliament in order to make their feelings known on the issue.
He hinted that the legal profession needed to look further into the amendment to determine whether it was not infringing on the right of the individual in which the Attorney-General an not the law court was entrusted with the right to become judge, jury and executioner.
Previously, law enforcement authorities had to prove before a court that the asset was directly linked to a terrorist group or gained through the group.
Leader of government Business in Parliament, Works Minister, Gregory Bowen disclosed that twenty-three suspected terrorist organisations may soon be “outlawed in Grenada due to changes made to the Terrorism Act No. 16 of 2012.
The organisations to be affected are Al-Qa’ida, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Al-Gama’at al-Islamiya, Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armee) (GIA), Salafist Group for Call and Combat (Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat) (GSPC), Babbar Khalsa, International Sikh Youth Federation, Harakat Mujahideen, Jaish e Mohammed, Lashkar e Tayyaba, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Hizaballah External Security Organisation, Hamas-Izz al-Din al Qassem Brigades, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi.
The others are the Abu Nidal Organisation, Islamic Army of Aden, Mujaheddin e Khalq, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party – Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtujus Partisi – Caphesi) (DHKP-C), Basque Homeland and Liberty (Euskadi ta Askatasuna) ETA, 17 November Revolutionary Organisation (N17) and Taliban.
The Bill was passed in the Lower House last week Tuesday and is expected to go before the Senate soon.
The Bill seeks to give effect to some of the recommendations made by the Examiners in Grenada’s Fifth CFATF follow-up report, which will ensure that Grenada remains compliant with its international obligations.
Minister Bowen told Parliament that the amendment made ensures that persons who assist terrorist organisation/s or individual in any way such as with financial transactions can have their assets frozen.
Parliament also gave approval to government to borrow US$3.5 million from the
CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) for the Grenada Development Bank (GDB).
The loan will be taken at interest rate not exceeding three percent per annum.