Lords back Bermuda public ownership register
The UK's Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which would force British Overseas Territories to set up a public register of company beneficial ownership, was yesterday set for Royal Assent.
The legislation, already backed by the House of Commons, was approved by the House of Lords on Monday.
The UK legislation was designed to force Britain's Overseas Territories to introduce a public register of comany ownership by 2020.
The move was slammed by David Burt, the Premier, at a special sitting of Parliament on Tuesday to mark 50 years since the first General Election under universal adult suffrage.
The House of Lords debate was criticised by the Premier at the sitting as heaping “disdain” on “the residents of the colonies”.
Mr Burt told the House of Assembly at the start of this month that the British plan showed “wanton disregard” for Bermuda's Constitution.
He said the UK Parliament's power to legislate for Bermuda could only be used with the consent of Bermuda's Legislature and highlighted the abolition of capital punishment in 1999.
Mr Burt told MPs “There will be no public register of beneficial ownership in Bermuda until this honourable House, elected by the people, votes to implement one.”
Bermuda has maintained a register of beneficial ownership for decades, which is open to the authorities in other countries on request but it is not available to members of the public.