Categorized | National News


Civil Society Bahamas (CSB) and Attorney General, Carl Bethel met this past Saturday with agreement that  the  controversial Non-Profit Organizations Bill  will be revised  in order to comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  

The Attorney General also expressed his intention to continue to review the bill to shrink damage to the capacity of this important sector. 

In a release, the CSB said that the bill is now scheduled to be debated in the senate in January 2019.

While the government is mindful of the many clauses suggested by CSB, including clauses from the 2015 CSO Bill, the Attorney General advised that wide scale changes requiring the bill to go back to the lower house, delaying  the objective of developing regulatory standards in the sector would not be considered. 

According to the release, “The government was prepared to consider using the St. Kitts and Nevis model of the formation of an advisory council to help with the forming of protocols and regulations to make sure that the sector is

Strengthened and invigorated.”


They also intend to simplify the registration process by requiring only organizational information and removing the requirement to provide financial requirements as previously indicated. The time  for registration will remain at 90 days.


Reviewing the language relating to Know Your Customer (KYC) is also a key point as the intention is to shrink the non-profit organization’s compliance burden, and bring it in line with other non-financial sectors.


The government also intends to waive fees for existing Non-Profit Organizations who wish to register.


It will also exempt individuals exercising personal charity from the act, so that they can continue their work without fear of a fine or imprisonment. 

They, therefore, will not be considered a non-profit organization under the act.


 The government will also raise the level of reportable donations and disbursements from their current level.


According to the release, “to retain the power of the registrar to impose fines, although the level of those fines will be reduced, and jail time would remain a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year. There will now also be no fine for failure to pay registration fees.”


It added, “the cost of conducting on-site inspections will now also be met by the registrar.”

They also plan to review the right to appeal to make it less onerous on non-profits to challenge the decision of the registrar.

 Subsequent to this constructive meeting, CSB is cautiously optimistic that the drafting language of the bill will be improved to remove ambiguities that could cause problems to the sector.

 Once the bill is redrafted and circulated by the attorney general, CSB said that they will report again.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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