BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Apr.29 2018 – WITH lawmakers on Tuesday (May 1) in the United Kingdom set to begin debates on a Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, it is expected that those talks when completed will have an impact on the financial services of the Overseas Countries and Territories.
Those talks have drawn quick response from the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, on the impact such sanctions will have on associate member states of the region.
In a statement, the Secretariat said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recognises that global security and financial crime are increasingly intertwined and therefore supports the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its regional bodies in developing international Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing Terrorism standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The body noted that CARICOM Associate Members are an integral part of the Caribbean Community “whose circumstances, self-governance and democratic rights should not be disregarded”.
“In that context, we are deeply concerned about the potential impact on their economies by any impositions that would go against the spirit of democracy and diminish their standard of living. A number of our Associate Members have for some time run successful financial centres that meet the high standards of regulation set by international standard setting bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and OECD Global Forum,” the body noted.
According to CARICOM, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands are the overseas territories likely to face the brunt of the bill if passed.
But Member States and Associate Members have expended considerable resources towards achieving compliance with AML/CFT standards, noted CARICOM.
It said too that countries in the region have supported global initiatives led by the OECD Global Forum and have entered the necessary international agreements to facilitate the sharing of information on beneficial ownership.
“As opposed to unilateral measures, CARICOM believes it is desirable for members of the FATF and OECD Global Forum to work together to establish new international regulatory standards in areas such as beneficial ownership and tax information exchange. Such cooperation would be in the best interest of all in the pursuit of a more economically prosperous future, underpinned by international institutions, and where all societies, their internal institutions and peoples are respected,” the CARICOM statement read.
The bill will come as no surprise to many in the region, as CARICOM member states and associates are coming under the microscope by developed countries.
St. Kitts and Nevis was among several countries recently blacklisted by the European Union for being tax havens.
The government of St. Kitts and Nevis is currently working to implement legislation to have the blacklisting removed.