Four Bills to be Read on Friday

Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, November 2, 2022: Four Bills will be read at the Sitting of National  Assembly which takes place on Friday 4th November at 10:00am at Government Headquarters.  

The four bills to be read are the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2022, the Evangelistic Faith Church  Incorporation Bill 2022, the Small Business Development (Amendment) Bill 2022, and the Domestic  Violence (Amendment) Bill 2022.  

The Companies (Amendment) Bill 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. The  Bill seeks to allow creditors, directors, shareholders and other interested persons to apply to the  High Court to deal with any assets previously held by the struck exempt companies. The Bill  therefore seeks to bring the Act into compliance with the Constitution, so that assets are not vested  in the State without alternative options available to the beneficial owners of those assets. 

The Evangelistic Faith Church St Kitts (Incorporation) Bill seeks to give the Evangelistic Faith Church  situated at the Alley, Sandy Point, St Kitts, the power to own land and otherwise have legal standing.  

The aim of the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill is to make urgent changes to protect victims of  domestic violence and provide them with swift access to justice. The Bill allows victims of domestic  violence, or persons on their behalf, to apply to the Magistrate’s Court or the High Court for  protection orders. This will rectify issues raised with the Ministry of Gender Affairs that the cost of  obtaining protection orders only in the High Court was prohibitive for many victims and their  families. The Bill also expands the definition of economic abuse to cover situations where  perpetrators have full access and control over victim’s financial resources and gives the Director of  Gender Affairs powers under the Act, rather than the Director of Social/Family Services, as  previously legislated. The approval of this Bill aligns with the Cabinet’s promise to take steps to  curtail the increased scourge of domestic violence in our society.  

The Cabinet Small Business (Amendment) Bill seeks to change the Minister with responsibility for  administering the Small Business Act and appointing the Small Business Development Advisory Committee to the Minister with specific responsibility for Small Business. Previously, the Minister  responsible was the Minister of Industry & Commerce. The definition of small business will also be  amended to include businesses in which not more than 30 persons are employed. Previously, the  number of employees was limited at 25. This decision aligns with the Government’s fundamental  goal to provide small businesses with the necessary governmental support to grow, thrive and  employ more people.

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