Judicial officers undergo training to combat money laundering, violent extremism

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Judges and Prosecutors across the Caribbean and Latin American Region Thursday commenced a two-day workshop aimed at sharpening their skills in dealing with matters relating to countering money laundering, violent extremism and financing of terrorism.

Hosted by the Guyana Government with support from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), the workshop is being held at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston in Georgetown.

Attorney General Basil Williams, in brief, opening remarks, explained that the workshop seeks to provide a platform for gathering and sharing experiences, challenges and best practices in investigating and prosecuting money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as depriving criminals of their proceeds.

He explained that while many countries in the Caribbean Region have enacted the necessary legislative measures to criminalise money laundering, as well as terrorist financing and proliferation financing, the overall rate of convictions and the confiscation of criminal proceeds have been moderate.

“If the global AML/CFT efforts are to be effective, it is absolutely necessary that countries also obtain convictions and pursue seizing and confiscating the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime for the benefit of States and victims,” Williams stated.

President David Granger, in his feature address, said the criminal justice systems of small States – like those in the region – must be safeguarded from the subversion of organised crime.

“Caribbean countries must be strengthened if they are to protect their institutions against the threats of money laundering and terrorist financing,” the Guyanese Head-of-State said.

He explained that small Caribbean States are limited, not only in size but also in human resources, technology and capital.

“These constraints could impair the capability of law enforcement agencies to combat transnational criminal cartels,” he stated.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland used the forum to urge the judicial officers to build longstanding relationships with existing regimes.

Baroness Scotland noted that “we can either swim together or drown separately,” as she underscored the importance of judicial officers in being guardians in protecting people from transnational crimes.

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