KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Jun 5, CMC – St Vincent and the Grenadines was Tuesday praised for its role in the fight against money laundering as Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves reiterated his administration’s zero tolerance approach to organised crime.
Speaking at the launch of a”Guide to Investigations and Prosecutions of Serious Organised Crime”, Gonsalves said his administration had long signalled its intention to deal firmly with money laundering and organised crime through the passage of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Prevention Act, which he described as “one of the most comprehensive, strongest pieces of proceeds of crime and money laundering laws enacted anywhere in the Commonwealth”.
“Our intention is clear also in our passage of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act which established the Financial Intelligence Unit which is reputed to be the finest FIU in the Caribbean and within the year of its operation as invited to become a member of the Egmont Group which is an elite group internationally of financial intelligence units”.
The publication was written by the husband and wife team of Daniel and Nicola Sutar, with the former being the Criminal justice Adviser to the Eastern Caribbean and the latter a money laundering expert.
In his address to the launch, United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Larry Palmer, said that fight against trans-national crime could only be successful through a unified response from regional law enforcement agencies.
He said Washington is committed to assisting regional countries deal with trans-national crime and paid tribute to the government’s fight against organised crime.
“In 2009, President (Barak) Obama announced the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, founded on the idea of true partnership between the United States of America and the countries of the America.”
He said through this partnership “we have agreed to share the responsibilities for ensuring our common security,” noting that “only through a unified response can we begin to combat this powerful and relentless forces.
“Our partnership seeks to implement sustainable solutions,” he said, adding that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was the first country in the region to sign on to the Co-operative Sensor Integration Initiative (CCSI) and is updating its Criminal Code to incorporate modern best practices.
The CSII seeks to integrate partner nations with the United States into a regional Web based, unclassified information sharing system covering air land and sea domains.