By Latrishka Thomas
During the opening ceremony for the 50th Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) plenary and working group meetings yesterday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke persuasively to hundreds of delegates and dignitaries from across the Caribbean, advocating for the Task Force to make considerations for small islands which do not have the resources to implement Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) recommendations.
“Clearly, we have to make sure that we work together to deal with these ills but at the same time we have to protect the vulnerable countries, especially the small countries within the OECS sub-region. And we are talking about countries here with populations, in many instances, less than 100,000 people.
“In many instances, we do not have to human or financial resources to carry out some of these recommendations but because we do not wish to be blacklisted, we have to utilise resources that ordinarily would have been programmed to other aspects of our social and economic development, in order to put the necessary rules in place and the administrative arrangements to ensure compliance,” the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister stated.
More specifically, Browne recommended that the CFATF finance the implementation of its policies saying, “I am of the view, too, that one of the areas that the CFATF needs to take up with the various stakeholders, to include the cooperating and supporting countries or nations, is that they must make money available for us to make these changes.”
Browne, who is also the country’s Finance Minister, then received a standing ovation, at which time he made it clear that he is not advocating for non-compliance.
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