‘Real work’ needed to fight money laundering – U.S. Ambassador

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By Bibi Khatoon

U.S. Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway is urging CARICOM countries to begin “the real work” of identifying, investigating, prosecuting and convicting those who participate in money laundering and terrorist financing.

He made this remark at the opening of an Assessors training programme being hosted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) in Guyana this week at the Pegasus Hotel.

The training of Financial, Law Enforcement and Legal experts as Assessors equip them with the tools and competencies needed to undertake an assessment of the technical compliance with the revised FATF Recommendations, and for reviewing the level of effectiveness of a country’s Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

Holloway commended Caribbean countries for the strides made in updating their anti-money laundering policies but noted that in order to ensure that financial institutions are protected, countries will need to meet the stringent fourth round of mutual evaluations criteria as have Barbados, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

U.S. Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway

In addition, he outlined that countries need to “demonstrate” that they understand the vulnerabilities of their financial system and that they work together domestically and internationally to ensure proper investigations and prosecution of financial crimes.

He said too that regional jurisdictions need to ensure that financial institutions have implemented the proper rules, regulations and technology to prevent and detect money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) he said along with other investigating units need to be properly funded and equipped so that they are properly able to do their jobs.

The National Assembly on January 19, 2018, approved the appointments of Surendra Lall Boodhoo as the Accountant of the FIU and Yonette Romao Scarville as the Attorney-at-Law in keeping with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Act 2015.

Executive Director of CFATF, Dawn Spicer, also addressed the opening of the Assessors training where she noted that the session which will be held from January 22-26, 2018, is important to each CFATF member.

Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams

This was supported by Guyana’s Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, who noted that the experts will also develop the understanding needed to produce a mutual evaluation report of the required standard.

He also pointed out that illicit activities not only undermine the integrity of our financial systems but threaten the political stability and damage the reputation of countries.

“The training deals with the assessments of both technical compliance and effectiveness which will present an integrated analysis of the extent to which a country is compliant with the FATF standards and how successful it is in maintaining its strong AML/CFT system as is required by the FATF recommendations,” he noted.

Participants of the training

Expertise is provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while funding is provided by the US government.

Participants will be introduced to the use of the FATF Methodology which is used to assess a country’s technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations, and for reviewing the level of effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT system under the Fourth Round Mutual Evaluations process.

During this fourth round of mutual evaluations, the FATF has adopted complementary approaches for assessing technical compliance with the FATF Recommendations, and for assessing the level of effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT regime.

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