Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Passed to Bring the Legislation in Line With the Federation’s Constitution
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 04, 2022 (SKNIS) – At the Friday, November 04 Sitting of the National Assembly, the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was successfully passed, effectively bringing the legislation in line with the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis and international best practices.
Mover of the Bill, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew said the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 resolves a constitutional issue created by the 2021 Amendment which allowed for the permanent dissolution of exempt companies to comply with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) recommendations.
Section 8.1 of the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis states that “No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of, and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired, except for a public purpose and by or under the provisions of a law that prescribes the principles on which and the manner in which compensation therefor is to be determined and given.”
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said, “Madam Speaker, the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 proposed today simply seeks to bring the Companies Act into compliance with the Constitution by providing a mechanism by which creditors, directors and shareholders of struck exempt companies can apply to the High Court for orders to deal with the assets of the exempt companies at the time that they were struct.”
Dr. Drew added, “In simple terms, there were these types of companies as described above who would have done business registered in St. Kitts and Nevis and when looked at from for example the EU when they would have done their assessment, they thought that St. Kitts might have been a non-compliant country. And I would say that the necessary steps were made to bring our country in line with good governance as far as this type of business is concerned. However, there were a number of companies that were struck and these companies had in their possession monies, bank accounts, assets and so forth, and so they are asking why they can’t get their assets. So, what this seeks is not to go back, because we think it was a good thing to make sure that these companies are struck, but it is giving them an opportunity to say you had assets when you were struct so we are going to create a pathway for you to get your assets back and let’s move on.”
The Bill received unanimous support in the National Assembly before being passed.