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Jamaica AML/CTF strength to be evaluated by task force

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham

Jamaica is now due for a new mutual evaluation of its Anti Money Laundering /Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) safeguards by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, which will run for two weeks from June 1-15.
At a forum co-hosted by the Financial Investigation Division and the Financial Services Commission in Kingston to discuss what the review would entail, the Chief Technical Director of FID, Robin Sykes, said Jamaica will have to prove its readiness under 11 areas of financial regulation and administration.
They include national co-ordination of the activities of regulatory and investigative bodies whose activities impinge on the financial sector, internal cooperation in the gathering of financial intelligence, legislation, rules, regulations and implementation procedures.
“When they come they will be looking at two aspects: one has to do with the laws and the technical part of it and then importantly they will look at enforcement and effectiveness,” said Sykes of the CFATF team.
Jamaica’s AML/CTF framework was last evaluated a decade ago in 2005. Sykes recalled that Jamaica was then found to be compliant in 30 out of 48 areas of review. He said that since that time there have been many changes in financial sector legislation and a reform of the accompanying regulations in addition to the way that agencies such as the police, customs and FID cooperate with each other.
He added that while Jamaica has made significant progress in certain areas, it seems to be lagging in the implementation of various pieces of legislation that are on the books and that this shows up in the rate of convictions secured.
The FID director said that while he is optimistic that Jamaica will have a favourable outcome from the evaluation, a poor review would have serious consequences.
“Countries that have a poor framework are viewed as high risk,” said Sykes. It means that “other countries will view us with suspicion and their institutions may decide not to do business with us,” he warned at the forum held March 30.
The CFATF team is expected to comprise four persons, who are expert in the fields of financial legislation, financial operations and security. Based on their review, the CFATF will formulate a report with recommendations for action on the part of the Jamaican authorities.