Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the government made the right choice in delaying the Non-Profit Organisations Bill, 2018.
“The NPO bill was fraught with challenges, and I pointed out some of them,” Davis said.
“In the Parliamentary debate there is not sufficient time, in my view, to go through all of the issues.
“The NPO bill, I think it was prudent of them not to proceed with it, because it has its challenges.
“The churches have to be concerned about it. I know that the president of the Christian council, they have their concerns about the bill.
“The sporting communities also have concerns about the bills.
“So more thought has to be given.”
Davis added, “With such significant incursions in a pillar in our economy that has served our country well, that the prime minister has yet to make a contribution to these bills.
“Have we heard from him? Sorry, I am advised that he is in the shack.”
On Monday, Attorney General Carl Bethel said passage of the bill will be delayed.
He said the government wished to conduct further consultation with civil society.
“In short, for my colleagues opposite, we’ll put the bill off until next week,” Bethel said.
“In the meanwhile, we are going to consult further with civil society, we are going to review their suggestions, we’ll have some discussions with them, and we will seek to accommodate those prudential and well-meaning suggestions which would not disrupt the ability of the law to achieve its purpose, which is the proper regulation of nonprofits in the country.”
The non-profit bill is part of a compendium of bills that will establish new regulations to govern the financial services sector.
The bills will bring the country in line with rules set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU), which have threatened to blacklist The Bahamas.
The Non-Profit Organisations Bill seeks to regulate nonprofit organizations and mandates that each organization register with the government and provide, among other things, evidence of its gross annual income, the identities of its members and evidence of know your customer due diligence.
The bill also mandates that each NPO report donations of $50,000 or more as well as its 10 largest donations.
In a statement on Sunday, Civil Society Bahamas (CSB) said it had requested input from its base of over 300 civil societies and not-for-profit organizations and determined there are a number of areas which raise significant concerns for the future health of the civil society sector.
Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander called the bill intrusive.