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Unexplained Wealth Bill “vital” says Archbishop*

By Kaelanne Jordan kjordan.camsel@rcpos.org

The move by Government, with unanimous support from the Opposition to pass the controversial Unexplained Wealth Bill in Parliament was one of the “finer” moments of politics in Trinidad and Tobago, said Archbishop Jason Gordon.

The Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019, which was passed Monday, April 8 seeks to provide for the establishment of the Civil Asset Recovery and Management Agency for the recovery of criminal property. The Bill proposes the recovery of wealth accrued by criminal activity through the use of the remedies of: restriction in dealings with civil assets, restriction and forfeiture of criminal property, management of criminal property and unexplained wealth orders.

“This was a wonderful example of how the business of T&T should be done….I think it’s a vital bill because it’s what we have not had in place to stop corruption, to stop the drug trade and to stop public officials being corrupted by big bribes,” the Archbishop said during Catholic Media Services Limited’s (CAMSEL) Ask the Archbishop Live chat on Wednesday. The chat was live streamed on ‘The Archdiocese of Port of Spain’ Facebook page and Instagram via @catholictt.

Commenting further, Archbishop Gordon recognised the Government’s “serious attempt” at dealing with crime in the country.

He opined until the bill is enforced, government cannot deal with issues such as crime or anything else: “ And while you trying to catch them for murder, for this and that, just ask them…we not telling you ‘you get your wealth badly’, all we saying we see you roll up in this nice car, but we not seeing you working, could you tell us where you got your wealth from,” Archbishop Gordon said.

The archbishop further argued that wealth generated illicitly has the power to corrupt many people at many levels.