Minister: Moratorium On ‘Cash Back’ Grants

September 15, 2017 | 19 Comments

[Updated with video] There will be a moratorium on the ‘Cash Back for Communities’ grants as the “Confiscated Assets Fund was substantially depleted prior to my taking office and insufficient funds remain to do so,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said in the House of Assembly today [Sept 15].

The grants, known as “Cash Back for Communities”, see community organisations receive grants from the proceeds of crime, and more specifically from the Confiscated Assets Fund.

Minister Caines said, “Since my appointment as Minister of National Security I have been presented with a number of requests by various charities for funds that were sought through the previous Minister, to be disbursed from the Confiscated Assets Fund [CAF].

“I have now responded in writing to the individual entities that have contacted the Ministry requesting that the undertakings given by the previous Administration be honoured.

“Regrettably, Mr. Speaker, I have advised these worthy organizations that the promised grants cannot be provided from the Fund at this time.

“Upon my appointment and on making the necessary inquiries of the Ministries of Finance and Legal Affairs, I found that the Confiscated Assets Fund was substantially depleted prior to my taking office and insufficient funds remain to do so.

“I am advised that the majority of the funds that were available for grants of this kind were devoted to another purpose permitted under the Act, namely to meet the expenses of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee.

“In light of the state of the Fund presently, I must advise this Honourable House and the public that a moratorium on such grants from the Fund is necessary at this time to permit them to be sufficiently replenished. Given the nature of how these funds are obtained the timeline for replenishment is unpredictable.

“Community organisations will continue to benefit from grants under this legislative provision and once the Fund is replenished this Government will aim to disburse funds in keeping with the spirit and intent of the law.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members and the public will recall the amendments of 2013 to the Proceeds of Crime Act which, with the bipartisan support of this Honourable House, gave rise to the scheme of grants under the previous Administration known as “Cash Back for Communities”.

Quite simply, Mr. Speaker, community organisations received grants from the proceeds of crime and more specifically from the Confiscated Assets Fund.

Since my appointment as Minister of National Security I have been presented with a number of requests by various charities for funds that were sought through the previous Minister, to be disbursed from the Confiscated Assets Fund [CAF].

Mr. Speaker, I have now responded in writing to the individual entities that have contacted the Ministry requesting that the undertakings given by the previous Administration be honoured.

Regrettably, Mr. Speaker, I have advised these worthy organizations that the promised grants cannot be provided from the Fund at this time.

Mr. Speaker, upon my appointment and on making the necessary inquiries of the Ministries of Finance and Legal Affairs, I found that the Confiscated Assets Fund was substantially depleted prior to my taking office and insufficient funds remain to do so.

I am advised that the majority of the funds that were available for grants of this kind were devoted to another purpose permitted under the Act, namely to meet the expenses of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee.

In light of the state of the Fund presently, I must advise this Honourable House and the public that a moratorium on such grants from the Fund is necessary at this time to permit them to be sufficiently replenished. Given the nature of how these funds are obtained the timeline for replenishment is unpredictable.

Mr. Speaker, for the information of this Honourable House, it is important to note that payments from the Fund are in fact the purview of my colleagues the Minister responsible for Justice [who sits in another place] and the Honourable Premier, the Minister of Finance only.

Therefore, neither I nor did the former Minister of National Security have authority to do so. The Ministry of National Security appears to have been engaged as a “middle man” in considering and commending grant requests for the consideration of the relevant Ministers.

Mr. Speaker, any misunderstanding in this matter is regrettable. Community organisations will continue to benefit from grants under this legislative provision and once the Fund is replenished this Government will aim to disburse funds in keeping with the spirit and intent of the law.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Community First says:

    So…what is the purpose of the Proceeds of Crime Act and who are the beneficiaries outlined in the Act?

    It would appear that the terms are open to interpretation and the expectations created from previous Governments and Ministers are now off the table.

    • Clint Eastwood says:

      The purpose is to take money/assets away from anyone who earned them through criminal activity, and cannot prove otherwise.

      The beneficiaries are community organizations that can apply for grants which come from the confiscated assets fund. The money can also be used to support government programs in need of funds.

      The point of this announcement is that most of the available funds were used to meet the ‘expenses of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee’.

      So right now there is no money left to give out grants, until more criminal assets are confiscated, which is an ongoing process.

      So HELP THE POLICE BY GIVING THEM INFORMATION THAT LEADS TO MORE DRUG BUSTS, WHICH WILL LEAD TO MORE CONFISCATED ASSETS/MONEY. THEN THERE WILL BE MONEY TO GIVE OUT TO THE COMMUNITY.

      • Community First says:

        Thanks Clint:

        What are the expenses of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee? Are these expenses reported to the public? Why are these committee expenses a priority over community services? Who gets paid on this committee and for what?

        • Grizz says:

          @Community First – You are spot on! My questions exactly. I understand that money laundering is a crime; but the state the community is in, due to lack of money, is mind blowing. How could their needs be dismissed and all the money given to to the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee; why wasn’t the money divided between NALC and charities? I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that money was used to help with all of those ridiculous suits launched by the previous Gov’t; a bill that is still climbing, I’m sure. There are people on our Island truly suffering and until more empathy is given towards that; things won’t change.

    • Thats why they got voted out.

  2. mark says:

    what about all the money that was reported problematic in that commission of inquiry report a while back? port royal etc.?

  3. Do Right says:

    lol

  4. Smiths says:

    there should never be any money in the account – as soon as it comes in it should be dispersed into the community.

  5. Bolt Action says:

    Maybe Minister Caines should meet with Mr. Sinclair White, Director of the Bermuda National Anti-Money Laundering Committee (also know is FIA), at his office 6th Floor Strata ‘G’ Building, 30A Church Street, Hamilton. Telephone: 441-292-3422 and request an explanantion? web site http://www.fia.bm http://www.fia.bm/images/pdfs/audit2015.pdf
    http://www.fia.bm/images/pdfs/FIA_AnnualReport2014_2015.pdf
    Notice that FIA have not issued an annual report or Audited Financial Statements since 2015!!!???

  6. Bolt says:

    Why aren’t the Bermuda Police investigating the disappearance of $300,000.00??

  7. really says:

    Caines…stop messing around disclose the financials of the fund. Let us have a true picture.

  8. Seniors says:

    It’s very funny that the Minister’s appear to have been given clear instructions to blitz the local press with as much dirt on the OBA that they could find. Honestly, if this was the best (worst) they could come up with, then we are not in a bad place at all.

    Now, if we can still say that in 5 years time, we’ll all be happy, right?

    • Make a new plan Stan says:

      It’s not a media blitz in the sense that they all called the media individually and told separate stories…..all of these issues came up in the first meeting of the house…..the media is reporting what was said there and elaborated outside regarding what was mentioned within.

  9. Rocky5 says:

    Smoke & mirrors already

  10. Real Onion says:

    tough $h!t plp!
    none left for de family n friends.

  11. Jose says:

    The kitty is empty we know they gonna use this as an excuse to say no money to complete their 100 day promises

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