Sun | Feb 25, 2018

FID to get independent status

Published:Thursday | February 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Finance Minister Audley Shaw

The Financial Investigative Division (FID) is to be made into an independent government agency to strengthen its capacity to effectively carry out its mandate and to afford it greater autonomy, the Finance and Planning Minister Audley Shaw has said.

Shaw was speaking at yesterday's opening session of a two-day Financial Investigations Division Conference at The Pegasus hotel in Kingston under the theme 'Taking the Profit out of Crime'.

"We have decided that the FID should become a department of Government, which will afford it greater independence. We have also decided that a portion of the civil-recovery proceeds obtained by the agency can be used directly by them to fund projects within the FID that will now allow them to build capacity and meet their objectives," Shaw told the gathering, which also included British High Commissioner Asif Ahmad.

He said also that the Government would be introducing a wider asset recovery incentivisation scheme, which will see the ministries of finance, national security, and justice working jointly.

The FID, which was formed in December 2002 and celebrated its 15-year anniversary last month, sits at the centre of the Government's efforts to take the profit out of crime. The national security policy points out that the removal of the profit from crime is a critical objective in the tackling of both transnational and domestic organised crime.

"It takes persistence, collaboration, partnership, information sharing, research, skillful advocacy, courage, diligence, tenacity, and patience, and don't forget integrity, to fully take the profit out of crime," noted Shaw.

"It will also require funding and the requisite legal powers to ensure that the relevant tasks can be undertaken as career criminals are not in the business of trafficking narcotics or extortion per se, they are in the business of making money. They are adaptive, flexible, and ready to switch into more lucrative forms of criminal activities," he said.

Currently, the FID is administering almost $3.2 billion in restrained and forfeited property and assets.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com