BUSINESS MONDAY: Attorney General devoted to the fight against Money Laundering
Mon, 03/28/2016 - 12:00am
The negative labelling of the region as jurisdictions for money laundering and banks losing their correspondent banking relationships are two issues which are of extreme concern for Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite.
The Minister addressed the launch of the Mutual Evaluation Training Workshop on International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, which took place at the Radisson Hotel recently. He said the issue of money laundering has far reaching consequences if it is not addressed. “What you are doing this week and over the next couple of weeks in terms of examining Barbados’ own anti-money laundering structure is of paramount importance.”
He continued, “This issue is not about banking or not about the financial services sector that we have in Barbados. This issue is really about our way of life. The potential to undermine our way of life because if our financial sector is not performing, if banks de-risk from our banks here, if our correspondent banking relationships are terminated, then simple things we take for granted like wiring funds to Amazon to purchase things or receiving monies from our friends and relatives from overseas, or just access to foreign currency, becomes a challenge.”
Brathwaite said his Government is committed to putting in place a robust anti-money laundering regime to prevent individuals from benefiting from crime in our country. “Barbados was evaluated in 2006, against the FATF 40 recommendations, that report was finalised in 2008. Our fourth evaluation starts on the 6th of December this year and therefore what we are about to do is to ensure that we have processes in place that we cannot only have that evaluation but that we can ensure when the report is finalised, that it can be very positive. So the work that u going to be doing this week and over the next couple weeks is of paramount importance to us as a country.
“If there are weaknesses in our regime, we need to address them. If there are weaknesses in terms of our legislation we have to address them. If there are weaknesses in terms of our structure, we have to address them.”
The Attorney General said it is imperative to understand the risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing. He said his Government will make certain that these risks are mitigated effectively. “We are contracted with the World Bank to ensure that we have a national risk assessment. Again that too will enable us to have a better idea of how our processes are doing and how we are doing legislatively against international best practices.”
In regards to “the mutual evaluation and the national risk assessment, we need to get it right as a country and we have charged our brothers and sisters from the CFATF to let us work together to ensure that this process is as seamless as possible and moreover, where there are weaknesses, we identify these weaknesses and address them,” he said.
Brathwaite confirms the support of his cabinet in the process of strengthening the legal framework. “I can commit that as Attorney General and particularly if the processes require us to address any legislative deficiencies, and of course any strengthening of our FIU itself, I can say categorically that I have the commitment of the cabinet in this regard.”
He said, “It is my intention to have this process led by a ministerial sub committee of myself, the minister of International business, and commerce and the minister for finance. That is my way of also showing the importance of the process to Barbados as a cabinet. This cabinet sub committee will have overall view of the processes over the next year to ensure that we get it right.” (KW)