Local financial action task force committee functional

POSTED: 03/21/13 12:44 PM

St. Maarten – A committee to advise on combating terrorism financing and money laundering has been established since June 2012, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said yesterday based on information that she had received from the Bureau for Unusual Financial Transactions (MOT). The committee consists of various governmental and non-governmental organizations. It is chaired by the Attorney General. Last November the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recommended that St. Maarten install such a committee because this was not communicated to the body. Although a high level delegation including the justice minister attended a regional conference to discuss implementation of CFATF regulations, no one apparently remembered that St. Maarten was not devoid of such a committee which would report to CFATF and global umbrella organization Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“It is a rather large committee and according to the resolution establishing the committee there is also a ministerial steering group ratified in the resolution that is chaired by the prime minister and consisting of the Ministers of Justice, Finance and Tourism and Economic Affairs,” the prime minister said.

The committee has been working on filling out the questionnaire to respond to CFATF.

St. Maarten has up until May to improve its rating with the regional organization which monitors the measures countries take to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Two initiatives that would score the island huge points with CFATF are the strengthening of the MOT and the implementation of a Gaming Control Board to supervise the casino industry.

Of the 49 recommendations that have been proposed by the Financial Action Task Force and the United Nations Security Council, 9 are core proposals that require critical implementation. They all exist to counter narco-trafficking, terrorism funding and money laundering. The island received a negative review based on a mutual evaluation report of its systems and laws in November.

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