Chairman Manuel Gonzalez described his year as Chair of the CFATF as “an exciting, challenging and immensely valuable experience” during which time he “made new friends and learnt a lot.”
In passing the baton of leadership from his native Venezuela to the Virgin Islands AT Plenary Meeting XXXVI, Chairman Manuel Gonzalez reflected on the advances made by the CFATF during his stewardship at the helm and expressed his appreciation that “to this I owe in large part to the friendship, guidance and good counsel of Chairman Jallow in whose very capable and experienced hands I leave the CFATF.”
Recalling the process of introspection, reflection and reform in terms of its governance and structure which was started by Former Chair Mrs. Ersilia de Lannooy, Minister of Finance, Netherlands Antilles, vigourously continued under the chairmanship of Mr. Samuel Bulgin, Attorney General, Cayman Islands and fittingly brought to a successful close during Venezuela’s term as CFATF Chair, Plenary XXXVI, was encouraged by the decision by CFATF Ministers given the achievement of agreed goals, to bring the reform agenda to a close, a decision, supported by the FATF Secretariat as “a conscious decision based on good reasons given that the organisation had come a long way in a very short timeframe.”
Plenary XXXVI enthusiastically recommitted the membership to a continuous search for efficiencies in all aspects of the CFATF's operations and warmly welcomed these accomplishments some of which are outlined below:
- The preparations for CFATF Plenary Meeting XXXVI by the Secretariat, the implementation of Discussion Papers to guide the course of discussions and the outcomes on the Agenda Items and the professional fashion in which CFATF Plenary and Working Group Meetings are Chaired,
- The use of the CFATF website for the finalisation and circulation of FATF and CFATF documents and the speed with which Working Group Chairs and Co Chairs Reports to Plenary are posted to the CFATF website and available to delegations,
- The maturity of the discussions on the Mutual Evaluation Reports (See Curacao, Plenary XXXV and St. Maarten, Plenary XXXVI), and the institutionalising of the Experts Review Group process ably chaired by the Chair of the CFATF WGFI in reducing the number of issues that are brought before the Plenary,
- The value of the new meeting of the CFATF Chair with the Chairs and Co-Chairs of CFATF Working Groups on the evening before the Plenary which facilitates the conduct of the Plenary in an efficient and effective manner,
- The work of the CFATF ICRG in encouraging all CFATF Members to expedite the rectification of deficiencies identified in their Third Round Mutual Evaluation Reports with a view to exiting the FATF ICRG process or to avoid entering the FATF ICRG process through High Level Missions to (Trinidad and Tobago, Surinam, Venezuela, and Jamaica) and proposed to Belize, Dominica and Guyana,
- The participation of the CFATF WGFI and CFATF Secretariat at FATF Plenary and Working Group meeting and active participation in the process for the revision of the FATF 40 Recommendations and AML/CFT Methodology and as will be the case for the revised Mutual Evaluation Programme Process and Procedures including the Follow up Process,
- The value of the CFATF Heads of Financial Intelligence Units Forum in encouraging all CFATF Members to become Members of EGMONT and facilitate international cooperation through the signing of Memoranda of Understanding amongst CFATF members as well as between CFATF Members and members of the global AML/CFT network, and
- The valuable work undertaken by the Quality and Consistency Review Group whose review of the Third Round of Assessments will be presented to the FATF based upon the recommendation of Plenary meeting XXXVI for its potential as data to be factored into the global discussions on preparations for the Fourth Round of Assessments,
“These are unassailable, solid and substantial achievements which cannot be gainsaid and of which the CFATF should be rightly proud” noted Chairman Jallow in response.
Chairman Jallow also predicted that “the CFATF family will not rest on its laurels” but is confident of our capacity to address all outstanding issues directly and successfully”.