Home New York National Sports Calendar

US slams CARICOM as money launderers

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Caribbean Life on Facebook.

In one fell swoop the United States government has condemned 14 of the 15 CARICOM states as major money laundering countries, and Barbados government minister, Donville Inniss, is calling for joint regional reaction.

In its March 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the US Department of State omitted only Montserrat in its broad brush across the region that hit every CARICOM member along with other Caribbean states, and Inniss noted that such charges carry severe consequences for financial operations of these countries.

“This is an issue that affects the survival of each economy in the region,” he said recently in a comment on the issue.

“Our health-care systems in the region are at risk of not being adequately financed if we do not get it right in international finance and business. Our agricultural sector would be under immense pressure if we don’t get it right in these areas,” he told the Barbados Advocate newspaper.

The State Department stated that as of 2016 major money laundering countries included

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

Though a full CARICOM member, the nation omitted from that list, Montserrat, remains a British Overseas Territory.

Among the consequences of such labeling for the 14 states, is further unwillingness of international banks to act as corresponding financial houses for worldwide transactions coming out of and entering these CARICOM countries.

The inability to conduct, or limiting of, such transactions will affect not only macro economics considerations like international trade, but could also hurt CARICOM citizens on the individual level by hindering remittances, on which many in the region depend.

Prior to the State Department’s broad brush labeling of CARICOM countries, many international financial houses had been dropping correspondent banking services to regional countries in what is termed ‘de-risking’ because of fears of huge financial penalties from US authorities if they are found doing business with suspected money laundering entities in the Caribbean.

The US State Department’s announcement has the potential of heightening the fear of international banks that they are likely to process financial transactions for the region that could involve laundered money.

Inniss, a Barbados Commerce and Industry minister, is concerned that in reacting to this latest accusation, and others, against the Caribbean grouping, these small countries are going forward as individuals, which makes it easier for them to be picked off.

“We are still 15 nations going into the international fora, grappling with an understanding of the issues and then perhaps 15 divergent positions on the matter, and I have been saying publicly and privately in regional meetings that we really need to come together.”

For this absence of a united approach, he blames officials of the Guyana based CARICOM Secretariat and heads of government of the respective states.

“It is like pulling teeth to get the folks in Georgetown, Guyana to understand the issues and I would go as far as to suggest that I do not think the leaders in the region appreciate the gravity of the situation,” he said.

Inniss’ call for coordinated CARICOM action matched that made by Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Governor, Timothy Antoine, during a Barbados visit earlier this month.

Pointing out that the world views the Caribbean as a brand or single entity, he said, “it means that notwithstanding our heroic domestic efforts, larger countries, correspondent banks, regulators and even international institutions regard us as a homogenous region. Consequently, the weaknesses of one often impact the reputation of all.”

He added, “these international operators do not know and frankly spoken, often do not care, about our country-specific circumstances including our detailed implementation plans for certain reforms and standards”.

He said that international banks “deem it too costly and inefficient” to deal with the small states individually.

Updated 5:02 pm, May 10, 2017
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Caribbean Life on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Berle Sinnappan says:
CARICOM without prejudice, should look into these allegations
May 12, 5:57 am
En Jay from St Lucia says:
Cheapening the CIP program (Dominica ,St Lucia) has aggravated this situation. DSH ..... a race to the bottom
May 12, 1:53 pm
Mike Al from Georgetown says:
The CARICOM bigwigs in Guyana only like to fly here there and everywhere attending conferences and collecting their undeserved USD salaries and per-diems. What have they done for the region in the 40 years? A passport with their name on it. Big deal. Routinely there are countries who flaunt the CARICOM rules and business is dominated in the region by 1 or 2 players at the detriment of the 13 million CARICOM citizens. Abolish CARICOM and let's get true banking transparency to address this very real issue. Send home the current batch of CARICOM fat cats who are doing NOTHING for decades except traveling free and sucking the system dry.
May 12, 3:30 pm
Bouta Czar from Suriname says:
I agree send them home. There are 14 CARICOM agencies and what have they done to really deserve anything. They are free riding and 'eating ah food'.
May 12, 3:33 pm
Rash is Kalida from Stlucia says:
Saint lucias money laundering issues centers around one individual. Richard fredrick a former minister who got his visa revoked by the US authorities.
May 12, 8:53 pm
Rueben says:
The Caribbean islands need power economics. We also need to capitalise on one of our main form of generating finance argriculture, which must consist of medical cannabis. We also need to begin manufacturing- for example mango is packaged and sold as many different products in England.
May 13, 6:20 am
Twiss Patat from Dominica says:
The CARICOM countries are very divided and protecting turf cannot move the region.
The CARICOM secretariat needs to rebrand itself and get off their lazy horses and get some positive action to shake the region especially the smaller States.
Too many issues. Too many questions abd no answers. I have not heard a word from CARICOM about the CBI Programme which has certain Government Officials throwing money all over the place. Wasting resources and the health care system, roads and other infrastructure, Agriculture are in a deplorable condition.
Where are all these funds coming from? Is that a way of laundering?
CARICOM SECRETARIAT wake up and say or do something.
May 13, 6:50 am
Do Better from CARICOM says:
Is this information factual? If so, CARICOM needs to embrace it and deal with. Too often we tacitly endorse undesirable behaviors until some major interest blows the whistle which causes us to shift into emotional gear. We act as if these issues are unknown. The solution is simple: DEAL WITH IT! Develop a culture where you own your outcomes. Empower and harness the vast potential of your people to drive excellence within our shores. Bring more to the global table where there can be value based benefits to eradicate this beggar-man cancer of a mindset gripping the leaders of the region. An inept, uninspiring leadership across the governments of the region who cannot empower because they do not believe in their people is the cause of this. So what do they do? They latch unto the scums of the earth for handouts who hold them ransom of sorts, creating that enabling environment for all kinds of nonsense!
May 13, 9:15 am
Jerry from Dominica says:
This is the US playing bully as usual there is more money laundering in the United States than all the caricom countries put together. Make sure you understand their description of money laundering, it's another way of bullying countries that don't agree with them in their way of life don't bend to U S pressure even isolated North Korea is surviving without them and all their sanctions, china is quickly replacing theUS as the leading trade and economic power and so they are clinging to straws and this attempt by the US should be rebuffed by the caricom heads in a joint statement, notice how the British colony is exempted they need England on their side so they playing favorite just like when they issue visas
May 13, 12:15 pm
Benton Poponne from Dominica says:
Crime is not the issue. Slackness and revolt is. People are not patriotic to us laws, not because they want to promote crime, but caribbean laborers rebel and slack off for political, money or other religious reasons is why they pop up on the money laundering chart. There should be a reason chart to distinguish them from other countries who do it willfully because they want to. And that's not the only place they take a ——. Justice for the battered, assaulted, violated and oppressed gets a good one too. Money laundering laws just proves it. The problem is a deeper root.
May 14, 9:06 am
DR Jose emmanual from Montserrat says:
Caribbeans are selling the passports for money, Utterly Shamefull and dangerous action.
Basically A lazy/cunning grreeed kind mindset
In their 1973 song “For the Love of Money,” the O’Jays—a black R&B soul/funk group out of Canton, Ohio—sing about the almighty dollar. For and with money, people “do things, do things, bad things,” as the lyrics go.
May 21, 5:07 pm
DR Jose emmanual from Montserrat says:
In their 1973 song “For the Love of Money,” the O’Jays—a black R&B soul/funk group out of Canton, Ohio—sing about the almighty dollar. For and with money, people “do things, do things, bad things,” as the lyrics go.
May 21, 5:07 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not CaribbeanLifeNews.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to CaribbeanLifeNews.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.