Close collaboration will make region more effective in financial crimes fight

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Commonwealth countries are being urged to work closer together to clamp down on people committing trans-national financial crimes.

The appeal comes from the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who said such collaboration would be easy and useful because the nations have many common assets and factors and they’re all facing the worrying rise of financial crimes.

“Among our many commonwealth assets, is our ability to mobilise cooperation and to leverage resources and sharing of experience and expertise. The ease with which we are able to do so is the result of factors such as our language, strong cultural connections, similar systems of government and administration and of course most importantly and most valuable, our common law,” she said.

The Commonwealth Secretary General was speaking to judges and prosecutors who are in Guyana attending a regional workshop to improve the ability to successfully prosecute people who commit financial crimes.

Antigua and Barbuda is one of few countries in the Commonwealth that has successfully prosecuted money laundering and other financial crimes cases.

The country’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Armstrong, who has led those cases, is attending the workshop.

Meanwhile, The Commonwealth Secretary General thanked the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for conducting the workshop as she noted the importance of strengthening the capacity of the judges and prosecutors.

“If we are to be effective, in countering these offences and matching our responses to the rising incidents, we need continually, to improve and innovate, strengthening our capabilities and our cooperation. So this training programme is important for us all. There has never been a more important moment for us to come together,” she said.

The workshop for the judges and prosecutors comes just weeks before the Financial Action Task Force starts its fourth round of assessment of countries across the region.

The assessment is to determine if the nations have the necessary laws, regulations and other measures in place and if they are effective.