Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has now been removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATA) dark-grey list after being on the “brink” of being blacklisted by the intergovernmental body. As a result, the twin-island Caribbean republic will no longer be directly monitored by the organization,
In making the announcement this week, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar noted that in February 2010, FATF publicly identified the country as having strategic anti-money laundering combating financing of terrorism (AMLCFT) deficiencies and was rated “partially compliant or non-compliant” with 15 of the 16 key and core regulations of the FATF.
She said the FATF at its plenary in Paris agreed to move Trinidad from the list of countries with strategic AMLCFT deficiencies.
The prime minister said the FATA welcomed this country’s “significant progress” in improving AMLCFT regime and had established the legal and regulatory framework to honor commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in February 2010.
She also read a correspondence from the director of AMLCFT compliance unit, Sherene Murray-Bailey who said that the FATF had agreed “that we will no longer be under the monitoring process (and) we will be removed from the list of countries with strategic AMLCFT deficiencies.”
Persad-Bissessar said this was “no small feat” and there were several larger countries that were deficient and continued to be monitored.
She recalled back in 2010 there were reports, including from opposition members, expressing concern that T&T could face sanctions internationally for failing to deal with anti-money laundering and the picture painted was “very dark and very gloomy for our prospects”.
“Indeed, our image was sullied by predicting that we were on the verge of being blacklisted by the FATF,” she added.
Persaud-Bissessar said the government chose to take deliberate steps to ensure immediate action to remedy the situation, including setting up a national AMLCFT committee and legislative amendments including the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Amendment Act 2011, the Anti-Terrorism Amendment Act 2011, the Trafficking in Persons Act 2011, the Financial Obligation Financing of Terrorism regulations 2011, the FIU Regulations 2011 and the Anti-Terrorism Act 2012.