Over 150 delegates from various jurisdictions in the Caribbean region will be in the BVI this week to attend the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) 36th Plenary from November 12 to 15.
The main meeting of the week will take place at the Multipurpose Complex in Tortola. The CFATF, for which the BVI serves as vice chair, is a regional organisation established to address issues pertaining to the detection and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The organisation hosts plenary sessions at least twice a year, attended by its 29 member jurisdictions.
The Director of Policy, Research and Statistics of the BVI Financial Services Commission, Mr. Cherno Jallow, QC, currently occupies the vice chair post, on behalf of the BVI. Commenting on the significance of the BVI hosting the CFATF plenary meeting, Mr. Jallow said, “It is important, not only from the promotional angle, but in terms of making the public aware that we are all part and parcel of the process. We all play a key role in driving the process forward in taking our mandate seriously as a global partner in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing activities.”
Regarding the impact of the meeting on the BVI, Mr. Jallow said it is all about reputation, adding, “No jurisdiction wants to be viewed as having weak systems to effectively in combat money laundering and terrorist financing. When the systems are strong, particularly for a financial services jurisdiction like the BVI, it helps to enhance the reputation of the jurisdiction.”
Mr. Jallow added, “Public awareness is important. We can put in all the legislative measures and enforcement mechanisms – it’s not going to stop money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing...It’s the people who need to know what these things are about, so that they can detect the crime and assist law enforcement.”
Regarding the BVI’s own stance on compliance, Mr. Jallow related that the BVI has done its utmost to ensure it fully complies with the established international standards on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing; scoring 14 out of 16 when rated against the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Core and Key Recommendations, and thus placing second globally.
The BVI will assume chairmanship after the CFATF Plenary concludes this Thursday. As incoming Chair, the BVI is responsible, along with the assistance of the CFATF Secretariat, to prepare a work programme to guide the organisation during the BVI’s Chairmanship of the organisation. The CFATF is undergoing critical reforms in terms of its structure and governance and the BVI’s plans include strengthening those reforms to ensure continued excellence as a regional body.
In addition to that, the BVI hopes to engender greater participation amongst the membership to distribute the work more evenly in order to ensure a stronger and more cohesive organisation is developed. One that builds on that reputation both regionally and internationally.
Representatives from the BVI FSC, Ministry of Finance, Her Majesty’s Customs, Attorney General’s Chambers, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and other key law enforcement agencies who all have key roles in assisting the CFATF mandate will be attending the event.
Various working groups and fora will take place on Monday and Tuesday, with the actual plenary meeting commencing on Wednesday. The plenary begins with an opening ceremony with remarks by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE along with other speakers.
Hosting the Caribbean Finance Action Task Force Plenary Meeting is in line with the Government of the Virgin Islands’ mission to enhance and solidify the Territory’s reputation as a pre-eminent jurisdiction for financial services. The sector is one of the Territory’s main economic pillars, which generates 60 cents of every dollar spent by Government.
Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 8:50am