AG: Blacklist little more than conviction without trial
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, has defended Barbados’ anti-money laundering efforts despite the country being blacklisted by the European Union (EU) for harmful practices.
Marshall has condemned the action, noting that Government was made aware that the EU had determined that Barbados was “a significant threat to the financial systems of its member countries”, and of its intention to place the island on its blacklist.
But the Attorney General contended in a press release today that such actions amounted to “a little more than a conviction without a trial”.
“We have been given no details of this and, in fact, the first time we are hearing of it is through the overseas Press.
“Even the mighty must abide by the rules of natural justice, and give us an opportunity to be heard. We [Barbados] do not have a seat at their table when our standing is being discussed, and if you say that we are a non-cooperative jurisdiction, then tell us in which areas you consider that we are not cooperating.
“This approach of the EU is exactly the approach that was taken against us last year in relation to what they deemed to be harmful tax practices,” Marshall said.
The Attorney General noted that Barbados had made significant strides over the last two years with its anti-money laundering efforts, which were lauded by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the international standards setting body for this area.
“It was acknowledged that we have made significant progress towards addressing a number of the recommendations in the mutual evaluation report to improve both technical compliance and effectiveness, including updating the National Risk Assessment and developing mitigating measures.
“Further, an application for upgrades in a significant number of technical compliance ratings is in progress,” the Minister stated.
Marshall admitted there were still some areas that needed strengthening, but said they were in the minority, based on the FATF’s jurisdictions under increased monitoring.
“We will continue undaunted by this to strive for the highest ranking for our regulatory framework,” Marshall said.
A Reuters article on May 5 said the European Commission is set to include Panama, the Bahamas, Mauritius and nine other countries to its list of states that pose a financial risks to the bloc because of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing shortfalls, a draft document shows.
The document, seen by Reuters and expected to be published on Thursday, includes Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe to the EU listing. (BGIS)