Categorized | National News

Senate Passes Economic Empowerment Zone Bill

The Economic Empowerment Zone Bill was passed in the Senate yesterday  with no amendments.  Progressive Liberal Party Senators  complained  that  government  Senators refused to agree with three amendments proposed by the PLP in the Committee stage of the Bill. The amendments would have ensured that the Bill will not be used by rich outsiders and unscrupulous landlords to force poor residents out of the zones.  The PLP pointed out that the legislation as presently drafted is deeply flawed and will promote the gentrification of Over-the-Hill.

A statement from the PLP  said, “The party would like to thank its Senators for providing these sensible amendments to the act which would have protected the poor. We condemn the FNM for rejecting them.

The purpose of one of the proposed amendment is to ensure that benefits are restricted only to those ordinarily resident or doing business in the zone at the time of the designation,”said  the PLP.

In Clause 5  of the Bill:  Add a new sub clause (5) as follows ” Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other law where concessions are granted under this Act relating to rental or leased premises the landlord/owner thereof shall be prohibited from increasing the rents payable therefore for a period of three (3) years or for a period that permits the tenants to enjoy seventy-five (75) per centum of the value the concessions whichever is the greater benefit.”

Another of the suggested amendments was   to avoid tenants of long standing living in the zone from being pushed out by the landlords after improvements made possible by tax concessions.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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