El Salvador is apppointed CFATF Deputy Chair and pledges Central America as the bridge between the Caribbean Basin Region and Latin America

 The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General of El SalvadorTo the unanimous approval and the warmest applause of the Council of Ministers, The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General was elected to perform the duties of the Deputy Chair of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) on behalf of El Salvador, for the period November 2013- November 2014.

“As Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador, I feel very honored by this important appointment to such a respectable body as the CFATF” noted The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez”.

El Salvador has always held the CFATF in high esteem. By letter to the CFATF Plenary dated January 13th 2003, Honourable Belisario Artiga Artiga, Attorney General, Republic of El Salvador, outlined his country’s interest in becoming a member of the CFATF, which was presented to the Panama City, Panama Plenary in March 2003, by the then Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit.

At that stage El Salvador was already a member of EGMONT and presented to the CFATF Plenary a clear picture of a jurisdiction that was at an advanced stage of building a robust anti-money laundering framework consistent with international standards.

At the Council of Minister Meeting in Antigua and Barbuda on October 23rd 2003, The Honourable Belisario Artiga Artiga signed the memorandum of Understanding and El Salvador was formally and warmly welcomed as the thirtieth member of the CFATF family of nations.

Fast forward to August 2013, Deputy Chair Luis Martinez Gonzalez pledged that he “will assume the post with the confidence that El Salvador will work hand in hand with Madame Chair Allyson Maynard Gibson, and assured the Ministers that he will do everything in my power “to carry out all actions that the position demands of me, with great enthusiasm and fortitude”

In response to Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez’s generosity of spirit, Madame Chair Maynard Gibson  confirmed that “In implementing my Eleven Point Action Plan, I will have the valuable support of Deputy Chair the Honourable Senor Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General, El Salvador who, with the support of all our Spanish speaking Members in Central and South America, will act as the bridge between the CFATF and the Members of our sister FATF Style Regional Body, GAFISUD with whom we have had and will continue to have, strong and fruitful cooperation in terms of translating documents, participating in Mutual  Evaluation Missions, undertaking Joint Typology Exercises and engaging jointly in outreach to relevant national and international organisations operating in our hemisphere.”

One project that will immediately attract the attention and energies of Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez will be to explore with GAFISUD, the furthering of an idea advocated by Executive Director Wilson at the April 2013 Doha, Qatar meeting between EGMONT and the Secretariats of the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies, for the establishment of a Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum for the Americas.

This proposed Forum for the Americas will be modelled on the successful CFATF Heads of FIUs Forum and which is being currently considered as a model for the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum with the FATF.

In pursuit of this hemispheric wide agenda particularly as it relates to identifying new methods and trends being used by trans-national organized crime, Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez, demonstrating an acute insight into and appreciation of this pernicious saga, noted that “Money laundering, worldwide makes crime profitable, by allowing criminals to hide and legitimize profits from illegal activities, -these illicit funds allow them to finance a variety of other criminal activities, - more so, it is worrisome that this illicit practice corrodes the economy and governments, it promotes corruption, it distorts economic decision making, it aggravates social problems, it threatens the integrity of financial institutions  and strikes at the development of the population.”

“It is very reassuring to share leadership responsibilities of the CFATF with a partner who is as knowledgeable, passionate and committed to the protection of the Caribbean Basin Region as Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez,” said Madame Chair Maynard Gibson, I am extremely confident, she continued, “that the future of our organization is in very safe hands”

CFATF Members pioneer FATF new Policy on dual Membership in another FSRB

GAFIC & GAFISUD together in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financingCFATF Members Guatemala and Honduras in the pioneering spirit of the Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, current CFATF Chair, lead the way by becoming members of GAFISUD and holding dual membership in both the CFATF and GAFISUD.

The FATF in October 2013 launched a novel initiative which encourages countries that are located in the geographic, cultural or linguistic periphery of more than one FATF Style Regional Body (FSRB) to consider becoming a member of more than one FSRB.  

CFATF Members Guatemala and Honduras have all accomplished that and this now opens the way for dialogue between CFATF and GAFISUD for the development of a strategy that will reinforce the mutual presence of each organization in the other, by encouraging dual membership and enhancing cooperation by holding regular joint meetings.

The new FATF policy is designed to reinforce the global AML/CFT network as it allows countries to share experiences from one body to another. In this regard this should be easily implemented as both CFATF and GAFISUD who already have mutual Observer Status have been cooperating on an operational level for several years such as jointly translating the Revised FATF Recommendations 2012 and Mr. Esteban Fullin, the current GAFISUD Executive Secretary, led the CFATF Third round Mutual Evaluation Mission to Venezuela.

The forerunner to this FATF initiative was the FATF Ad Hoc Group for the Americas which was established around 2001 after the creation of GAFISUD, as a forum where FATF members were able to meet with the Secretariats of CFATF and GAFISUD to discuss issues relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The first Chair of the FATF Ad Hoc Group for the Americas was Ms. Adrienne de Senna Nelson, Brazil, who was very instrumental in the establishment of close working relations between CFATF and GAFISUD and her efforts were rewarded with, among other things, the organization of a joint Terrorist Financing Typology Exercise between the CFATF and GAFISUD, on the margins of the CFATF April 2002 Plenary Meeting in Tobago.

Mr. Fernando Rosado, first GAFISUD Executive Secretary in his report on GAFISUD activities to the CFATF Tobago Plenary meeting, expressed his gratitude for the help and support that was extended by the CFATF Secretariat even before the birth of GAFSUD through the sharing of official documents which assisted with establishing the founding documents of GAFISUD.

Underscoring the message of hemispheric cooperation, Executive Secretary Rosado noted that both the CFATF and GAFISUD Secretariat were in regular conversation with each other, sharing ideas and exploring the preparation of joint plans for the future.

These future plans included an open invitation to attend and the acceptance and presence of GAFISUD Members at CFATF Plenary and Heads of CFATF Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum meetings.

And at the Second CFATF Forum, FIU Heads benefited from the experiences of FIUs in South America in engendering closer co-operation and were provided with an insight into the pace of developments in that region. Additionally, CFATF FIUs were invited to an Open House at the Colombian FIU.

The long standing and constructive history of CFATF/GAFISUD co-operation continues to the present day as both CFATF Executive Director Calvin Wilson and GAFISUD Executive Secretary Esteban Fullin have fostered excellent working relations and recently jointly shared the platform as Presenters on the FATF Standards and Methodology, at an Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Workshop at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington on November 15th 2013.

CFATF Deputy Chair the Honourable Senor Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General, El Salvador has been mandated to explore with GAFISUD, the establishment of a Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum for the Americas, which will be modelled on the successful CFATF Heads of FIUs Forum and which is being currently considered as a model for the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum with the FATF.

GAFISUD Members are also invited to attend the CFATF Workshop on the preparation of National Risk Assessments which will be held in Honduras during January 16-17, 2014 in Honduras.

All of which augurs well for the future dialogue for the development of a CFATF/GAFISUD strategy for ongoing cooperation and support which should include a joint approach to the international donor community for funding to facilitate the participation of GAFISUD members in the three year Euros 1.2 Million project for the training of Financial Investigators, Analysts and Supervisors at Financial Intelligence Units which should commence during the second quarter of 2014.   

Once again The Bahamas provides pioneering, visionary leadership at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force

Madame Chair The Honourable Allyson Maynard GibsonOn accepting the baton of leadership of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for a second time in eleven years, The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, launched an Eleven Point Action Plan, that will principally encourage the ongoing strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism regimes (AML/CFT) across the Caribbean Basin Region, so that CFATF members through enhanced collaboration, communication and co-operation will successfully achieve the goal of at least seventy five (75) percent compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.

“These are very exciting times for the CFATF and indeed for the global AML/CFT network” Madame Chair Maynard Gibson who engaged in a wide ranging interview with CFATF News, at the close of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting, which was held in Freeport, The Bahamas, during November  17-21 2013.
“Our organization has been warmly commended by current FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev” continued Maynard Gibson “who graciously attended our Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting.

Madame Chair Maynard Gibson confirmed that in delivering his Special Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting, President Nechaev, to the delight of the membership noted that “I am able to state without a doubt that CFATF should now be perceived as one of the best in its class”

“This is a critically important accolade for the Caribbean Basin Region and the CFATF will be forever grateful for the fearless leadership of the then CFATF Chair, Mrs Ersilia de Lannooy, who in assessing the parlous state of the organisation’s finances, and with the expertise of her position as Minister of Finance, Netherlands Antilles  as it then was, issued a call for urgent and immediate corrective action by the membership and set in motion an ambitious and intrusive three programme of introspection, reflection and reform that irrevocably changed the psychology, organizational structures and achievements of the CFATF” Maynard Gibson continued.

“The delivery of a Special Address by FATF Presidents at the Opening Ceremony of CFATF Plenary Meetings has been a longstanding and ongoing tradition, which is indicative of the high esteem and importance that the CFATF places on its partnership with the FATF”, noted Madame Chair Maynard Gibson, and “We value the considerable and direct input that Mr. Richard Berkhout, Policy Advisor, FATF Secretariat and representatives of the CFATF Group of Co-operating and Supporting Nations (COSUNs), namely Canada, France, Mexico, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States of America, have all had, in partnering with the CFATF throughout the reform process.”

“The achievements of the CFATF over the past three years would not have been possible without the steadfast support of former Chairmen The Honourable Samuel Bulgin QC, Attorney General, Cayman Islands, Mr. Manuel Gonzalez, Advisor, International Relations, Oficina Nacional Anti Drogas, Venezuela and Immediate Past Chairman Mr. Cherno S Jallow QC, Director, Policy Development and Research, Financial Services Commission, Virgin Islands, who all embraced and implemented the call for change as part of their individual Work Programmes.” Maynard Gibson recognized. During her interview with CFATF News, Honourable Attorney General Maynard Gibson also made the following observations.

Indeed FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev in extending these encouraging words of congratulations also thanked and especially praised all former Chairs for their leadership for the results of the reform process.

Sentiments that were presaged along the way by former FATF President Mr. Giancarlo Del Bufalo who, in November 2011, “ congratulated the CFATF on the work it had undertaken to improve its performance which were seen as good steps in the right direction and the foundation for a better and stronger organization”.

Similarly in November 2012, FATF President Mr. Bjorn Aamo “congratulated the CFATF for results which will not only be of benefit to the global AML/CFT network but which will also benefit CFATF Members the most. He noted that the CFATF had come a long way and should be able and proud to market our achievements in this area to other parts of the world”

In keeping with President Aamo’s theme, FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev in delivering his Special Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting in November 2013, noted that “The FATF should be able to take into account the work that the CFATF is undertaking to increase the level of compliance of its members through the CFATF International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). The CFATF ICRG is a good example for other FATF Style Regional Bodies to follow.”

FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev’s assessment that “the CFATF should now be perceived as one of the best in its class” should be viewed within the context of the unprecedented access and insight that he, as well as President Mr. Giancarlo Del Bufalo and President Mr. Bjorn Aamo, has and would have had, as Presidents of the FATF as standard setter and protector of the FATF brand.     

The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson emphasized that, “It is also important to note that the CFATF Council of Ministers kept a firm and watchful eye on the implementation of the reform agenda and mandated that the CFATF should not rest on its laurels but that the search for organizational efficiencies should be an ongoing enterprise”, “It is therefore with this Ministerial mandate in mind and with a view to building on the achievements of the past and importantly contributing to the growth and development of the global AML/CFT network, comprising the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies, that a significant if not the central aspect of my Eleven Point Action Plan will boldly embrace cutting edge information technology that will revolutionize the entire AML/CFT Mutual Evaluation process.”

“The CFATF Vision 2022 platform will allow countries to begin the preparatory stages for the on-site visits way in advance of the arrival of the Teams of Assessors, give early access for review and guidance of these efforts, to AML/CFT experts from the CFATF as well as  those from the FATF Secretariat, FATF Members, Secretariats and Members of other FATF Style Regional Bodies, EGMONT, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and relevant agencies of the United Nations such as the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate.”

“The Vision 2022 platform will expedite the consultative mechanism between the Countries being assessed, the Assessment Teams, the global AML/CFT community and the CFATF Secretariat, all working simultaneously in one document to draft, finalize and present high quality Mutual Evaluation Reports for discussion in Plenary.”
“The potential savings in terms of human and financial resources will be enormous because this process will be applicable to all aspects of the CFATF’s operations and has the potential to significantly increase organizational efficiency and reduce operational costs.

“We will encourage our colleagues in the global AML/CFT network to support our efforts as we roll out this information technology tool in the coming months.”

“My Eleven Point Plan of Action will also include the hosting by The Bahamas of the first of a Caribbean Basin Region wide Conference to be held annually, for public sector officials and private sector executives and representatives to share and exchange developments in financial services, including the creation of a pool of Regional Experts and share resources.”

“This first annual Conference to be held in the first quarter of 2014, will feature a Special Caucus by Heads of Governments and States in the Caribbean Basin Region with a view to securing expressions of support at the highest political levels, for the work of the CFATF, and the provision of the required human and financial resources both to the CFATF Secretariat as well as to national efforts to strengthen human capacity and build and implement robust AML/CFT regimes”

“In implementing my Eleven Point Action Plan, I will have the valuable support of Deputy Chair the Honourable Senor Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General, El Salvador who, with the support of all our Spanish speaking Members in Central and South America, will act as the bridge between the CFATF and the Members of our sister FATF Style Regional Body, GAFISUD with whom we have had and will continue to have, strong and fruitful cooperation in terms of translating documents, participating in Mutual  Evaluation Missions, undertaking Joint Typology Exercises and engaging jointly in outreach to relevant national and international organisations operating in our hemisphere.”

“In this regard Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez will work with me to explore with GAFISUD the furthering of an idea advocated by Executive Director Wilson at the April 2013 Doha, Qatar meeting between EGMONT and the Secretariats of the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies, for the establishment of a Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum for the Americas, which will be modelled on the successful CFATF Heads of FIUs Forum and which is being currently considered as a model for the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum with the FATF.”

To read the full text of Address by The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson Incoming CFATF Chair 2013

"Without a doubt one of the best in its class" FATF President Valdmir Nechaev´s Assessment of the CFATF

FATF President Valdmir Nechaev´s“At this meeting, I am able to state without a doubt that CFATF should now be perceived as one of the best in its class”

This was the accolade bestowed upon the CFATF by FATF President Vladimir Nechaev at the Opening Ceremony of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting which was held in Freeport, The Bahamas on Wednesday 20th November 2013.   

The setting, Grand Bahama, one of the 700 breath taking islands sprinkled over miles of ocean which boasts the clearest water on the planet and where the locals quite proudly and with alacrity confirm, It’s better in The Bahamas” seemed apt for this unique compliment.

As the first of the FATF Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs) the CFATF has a unique and unchallenged place in the global Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) firmament.

The CFATF is almost as old as the FATF itself.

Just one year after it started operating in 1989, the FATF assiduously encouraged the Caribbean Basin Region to take up the challenge of spreading the FATF’s anti money laundering message to all corners of the globe.

And the CFATF responded with enthusiasm to the challenge. Preparatory discussions were held in Aruba in June 1990 under the auspices of the Caribbean Drug Money Laundering Conference

The first CFATF meeting was held during May 1992 in Kingston, Jamaica, when the CFATF membership which included English, Spanish and Dutch speaking countries, endorsed the FATF 40 Recommendations and the Vienna Convention. In March 1996, the CFATF agreed on the extension of membership to Central American Governments and to Haiti in 1999 and to Guyana, Honduras and Guatemala in October 2002 and El Salvador in October 2003 in keeping with the mandate of the Council of Ministers to undertake outreach to Central America.  

During July 12-19 1999, within month of assuming office, Executive Director Calvin Wilson with missionary zeal, took up the invitation from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat Team and traveled to Dar es Saalam to share CFATF experiences and documents for the establishment of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

ESAAMLG was formally launched during August 26-27 1999 in Windhoek, Namibia and Executive Director Wilson attended.

Nearer home in 2002, Executive Director Wilson on the margins of various FATF Plenary Meetings, discussed CFATF experiences and shared CFATF documents with Mr. Fernando Rosado, Spain, which contributed to the establishment of the Financial Action Task Force of South America, GAFISUD. Mr. Fernando Rosado was GAFISUD’s first Executive Secretary.

In another way, although maybe not for the best of reasons, namely a high level of arrears in annual membership contributions which was impeding the proper functioning of the organisation, the CFATF stands unique in global AML/CFT network.

In May 2010, the CFATF initiated a full blown process of introspection, reflection and reform which remains unprecedented amongst the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies.

This unparalleled and at times painful exercise reflected a mature organization which was sufficiently confident to acknowledge its shortcomings and set a bold course for institutional change.

In true FATF style, the CFATF laid bare it’s Action Plan for reform in a peer review setting and was assisted and encouraged by its colleagues at the FATF Secretariat, Asia Pacific Group, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ESAAMLG and other FSRBs.    

The reform process was swift and successful.

FATF President Mr. Giancarlo Del Bufalo in November 2011, congratulated the CFATF on “the work it had undertaken to improve its performance which were seen as good steps in the right direction and the foundation for a better and stronger organization”.

Similarly in November 2012, FATF President Mr. Bjorn Aamo “congratulated the CFATF for results which will not only be of benefit to the global AML/CFT network but which will also benefit CFATF Members the most. He noted that the CFATF had come a long way and should be able and proud to market our achievements in this area to other parts of the world”

And in November 2013, FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev noted that “The FATF should be able to take into account the work that the CFATF is undertaking to increase the level of compliance of its members through the CFATF International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). “The CFATF ICRG is a good example for other FATF Style Regional Bodies to follow.”

FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev’s assessment that “the CFATF should now be perceived as one of the best in its class” should be viewed within the context of the unprecedented access and insight that he, as well as President Mr. Giancarlo Del Bufalo and President Mr. Bjorn Aamo, have and would have had, as Presidents of the FATF as standard setter and protector of the FATF brand.

The CFATF process of introspection, reflection and reform is commended to our colleagues in the global AML/CFT network and is being used by the FATF as standard setter to encourage positive action for change within the FSRB community.

In many other important ways the CFATF has been leading the way within the global AML/CFT family.

One pioneering was launched on Friday 18th October 2002 on the margins of the CFATF October 2002 Ministerial Meeting when former CFATF Chairman Alfred Sears, The Bahamas,  authorized exploratory steps for a mechanism to resolve difficulties being experienced due to the lack of prompt and effective responses to requests for judicial and regulatory co-operation. These steps were initially taken, through a meeting on International Co-operation Co-ordination, which was arranged between CFATF Members and some of their FATF counterparts.

Delegates included officials from Attorneys General Chambers, regulatory and supervisory departments, Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and other law enforcement agencies.  The meeting was an attempt to identify and explore avenues to eradicate practices which were proving inimical to the expeditious handling of requests for judicial, regulatory and law enforcement assistance between CFATF Member countries and their international partners.

That first step led to a meeting on October 20th, 2003, to assess whether there was support to establish a regular Forum of FIU’s for CFATF member states. During the CFATF Thirty Eight November 2013 Plenary Meeting in The Bahamas, the CFATF held its nineteenth  Heads of FIUs Forum when fifteen Memoranda of Understanding were signed between CFATF Members.

Following the CFATF lead, EGMONT and the FATF are discussing the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum for FATF Members.

The CFATF would be proud to continue sharing its experiences for the benefit of the growth and development of the global AML/CFT community.

Another idea which was ahead of its time, was the thrust for the establishment of a Compliance Officers Association of the Caribbean Basin Region which was part of the Chairman’s Work Programme for 2002-2003, when the Commonwealth of The Bahamas first held the CFATF Chair.

Initial steps were taken towards making this idea a reality, through the organizing of a Conference for Caribbean Basin Compliance Officers at the Atlantis Hotel, Nassau in October 2002.

The Caribbean Regional Compliance Association is now a reality, with national Compliance Associations operating in eight CFATF Members Countries with the Bahamas Compliance Officers Association (BACO) leading the way.

Additionally, in 2000 with the approval of the Council of Ministers, the CFATF launched the first Compliance Conference for fee paying participants principally from the private sector but also open to public sector officials. This was in keeping with the CFATF’s remit to build capacity in the region even though the commercial aspect was not the norm for the times.

With the full support of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Virgin Islands, these Compliance Conferences in 2013, a sterling example of self- help measures, continue to be a source of considerable revenue for the CFATF.

This move is of critical importance at this stage, given the ongoing effects of the global economic and financial crisis, which continues to impact the availability of resources from the international donor community.

FATF President’s Nechaev’s commendation is a boost to the Caribbean Basin Region and undoubtedly will spur the CFATF on to even more pioneering initiatives.  

Read More for President’s Nechaev’s Special Address:   Successful Reform of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force

CFATF Pioneers Cutting Edge Technology To Revolutionise The Global AML/CFT Assessment Process

Vision 2022 platform

In keeping with her views that “These are very exciting times for the CFATF and indeed for the global AML/CFT network”, CFATF Chair the Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, in a bold embrace of cutting edge information technology, sets in motion the central plank of her Eleven Point Action Plan, the Vision 2022 Platform, that will revolutionize the entire global AML/CFT Mutual Evaluation process.”

The CFATF Secretariat has begun the collaborative process with its partners within the global AML/CFT network to construct the Vision 2022 Platform and to chart the course for an epic adventure whose mission will be the successful achievement by all CFATF Members of at least seventy five (75) percent compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.

The CFATF Vision 2022 platform will allow CFATF Members and other countries in the global AML/CFT community, to begin the preparatory stages for the on-site visits way in advance of the arrival of the Teams of Assessors.