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Registered Businesses face stiffer penalties for failure to file annual returns

Members of the opposition lead by the Hon. Donaldson Romeo and supported by the Hon. Jermaine Wade opposed an amendment to the Registration of Business Names Act, (Cap11.11) before it passed in the Legislative Assembly on June 25, 2013.

The bill tabled by the Hon. Premier leader of Government business and Minister of Finance said that the amendment that dealt with the fees and penalties, relating to the Act, sought to encourage compliance.

The opponents to the amendment were specific, among other such things as the number of fees that small businesses would have to meet, but primarily what they all contend was the harshness of the fine and possible imprisonment under the law. Following is the section of the law that eventually passed without opposition, following the third reading which comes after the house discusses in ‘Committee’.

“3A. Annual returns

(1)   A business shall, not later than the 1st day of April in each year after its registration under this Act, submit to the Registrar an annual return in the prescribed form containing the prescribed information for the preceding year ending the 31st day of December, accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(2) Subject to section 15, an individual or firm who fails to comply with this section commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $1000 or to 3 months imprisonment, or to both.”

The Premier at his turn to rebut began thus: “Sometimes when we speak in this honourable house, it is prudent that when we speak to legislation that one does not just read the amendment that is being proposed but I urge that one must read the principal act and as a consequence then you will make sense in terms of your contribution.”

Listen online at www.themontserratreporter.com for the Premier’s response to the opposition to this section. Also the presentations by Romeo, Lewis and Wade.

Travellers may face higher port security charges

Another bill received its second reading but has been put on hold following the Committee stage discussions. It is the Port Security Charge Bill, 2013.

The government is seeking to impose new charges under section 3(1) of the bill:

3(1)                             Each traveller            $10.00

3(1)                             Each consignment, bag, container or similar receptacle                                     $50.00.

The tabled bill reads:

3 Imposition of Port Security Charge

(1)   Subject to section 5, a charge called a Port Security Charge shall be levied and collected from the following parties, at the rate specified in the Schedule— (as above)

(a) a traveller when that traveller leaves a port for a place outside Montserrat; and

(b) a consignor.

(2) The Port Security Charge to be collected under subsection (1)(b) shall only be levied and collected—

(a) on each consignment, bag, container or similar receptacle that contains courier items or express delivery; and

(b) where the consignment, bag, container or similar receptacle is screened by the port security staff for shipment or consignment to a place outside of Montserrat.

Opposition members again supported by the Parliamentary Secretary Wade, questioned the charge and sought clarification, which was probably not forthcoming causing the bill to be postponed.

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Members of the opposition lead by the Hon. Donaldson Romeo and supported by the Hon. Jermaine Wade opposed an amendment to the Registration of Business Names Act, (Cap11.11) before it passed in the Legislative Assembly on June 25, 2013.

The bill tabled by the Hon. Premier leader of Government business and Minister of Finance said that the amendment that dealt with the fees and penalties, relating to the Act, sought to encourage compliance.

The opponents to the amendment were specific, among other such things as the number of fees that small businesses would have to meet, but primarily what they all contend was the harshness of the fine and possible imprisonment under the law. Following is the section of the law that eventually passed without opposition, following the third reading which comes after the house discusses in ‘Committee’.

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“3A. Annual returns

(1)   A business shall, not later than the 1st day of April in each year after its registration under this Act, submit to the Registrar an annual return in the prescribed form containing the prescribed information for the preceding year ending the 31st day of December, accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(2) Subject to section 15, an individual or firm who fails to comply with this section commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $1000 or to 3 months imprisonment, or to both.”

The Premier at his turn to rebut began thus: “Sometimes when we speak in this honourable house, it is prudent that when we speak to legislation that one does not just read the amendment that is being proposed but I urge that one must read the principal act and as a consequence then you will make sense in terms of your contribution.”

Listen online at www.themontserratreporter.com for the Premier’s response to the opposition to this section. Also the presentations by Romeo, Lewis and Wade.

Travellers may face higher port security charges

Another bill received its second reading but has been put on hold following the Committee stage discussions. It is the Port Security Charge Bill, 2013.

The government is seeking to impose new charges under section 3(1) of the bill:

3(1)                             Each traveller            $10.00

3(1)                             Each consignment, bag, container or similar receptacle                                     $50.00.

The tabled bill reads:

3 Imposition of Port Security Charge

(1)   Subject to section 5, a charge called a Port Security Charge shall be levied and collected from the following parties, at the rate specified in the Schedule— (as above)

(a) a traveller when that traveller leaves a port for a place outside Montserrat; and

(b) a consignor.

(2) The Port Security Charge to be collected under subsection (1)(b) shall only be levied and collected—

(a) on each consignment, bag, container or similar receptacle that contains courier items or express delivery; and

(b) where the consignment, bag, container or similar receptacle is screened by the port security staff for shipment or consignment to a place outside of Montserrat.

Opposition members again supported by the Parliamentary Secretary Wade, questioned the charge and sought clarification, which was probably not forthcoming causing the bill to be postponed.