Duncan: St. Maarten must move quickly on money laundering, terrorism, financing

POSTED: 06/1/11 12:17 PM

St. Maarten – St. Maarten officially became a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce (CFATF) on May 2 when Justice Minister Roland Duncan signed the Memorandum of Understanding governing the body and the documents for accession of membership. The country’s membership application was approved in the ministerial meeting held last November.
The CFTAF is the regional of the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF), which falls under the United Nations General Assembly to create and ensure compliance with international rules and regulations on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
One of the primary topics at the most recent CFTAF meeting in Honduras was the establishment of national committees to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Duncan has already begun the process to set up the commission and plans to have it ratified in the Council of Ministers after he examines if there is a need for additional legislation.
Parties at the meeting also discussed concept legislation that will govern the seizure of goods that come from criminal activity that goes further than most countries. Duncan has ordered his ministry to research how the concept law, attached to a U.N. resolution can be adopted in St. Maarten’s legal framework.
Duncan also announced that the CFATF will conduct an investigation of the island’s compliance with the international rules early in 2012. Work has already begun to adapt laws left behind by the Netherlands Antilles that need amending. Discussions are ongoing with Aruba and Curacao to ascertain their level of compliance and what lessons St. Maarten needs to learn to avoid a potentially bad assessment.
“These rules require intensive supervision and action by St. Maarten and regardless of the fact that we’re a new country, we are expected to very soon and very shortly execute all these international rules and recommendations to comply with the international standards,” Duncan said.
The meeting in Honduras also allowed for the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Financial Intelligence Unit of St. Maarten and the one of Grenada. There are plans to sign more agreements so that the Government of St. Maarten can expand its list of partners in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

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