Financial Intelligence Unit representatives from around the region recently met with the Canadian Government funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) project in Trinidad to discuss strengthening laws in the effort against financial and transnational organised crime.
This fact-finding meeting comes against the backdrop of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy which identifies financial crimes and corruption as Tier One threats to national and regional security.
Professor Velma Newton, regional project director, IMPACT Justice noted that the meeting sought to determine the region’s needs in the effort to combat transnational financial crimes and share how IMPACT Justice could assist them.
“Some countries are not in compliance with either the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recommendations. Country representatives also identified issues of not having up-to-date legislation in place to deal with the increasing problem of financial and transnational organised crimes. One of the difficulties in bringing regional laws up to date is a shortage of legislative drafters in the region,” she noted.
Professor Newton shared that the justice sector reform project, which is a jointly funded by the Government of Canada and the University of the West Indies (UWI), will assist with drafting model legislation for CARICOM and amending existing legislation to address the deficiencies relating to financial and transnational organized crimes.
“Bringing financial crimes legislation up-to-date is an exercise of great importance to the economic wellbeing and security of the region. Some work has already started and we are working with those orgnaisations to bring the region to a state of compliance. IMPACT Justice is in a position to source drafters with the requisite knowledge and training to understand the complex technical aspects of legislation in this area,” she explained.
“The objective of model laws in CARICOM is to create identical legislation across member state as far as possible to ensure that they benefit from the same approaches to trade, external investment, economic and human development. However, at the national level adaptations may be made to suit local circumstances.”
The areas highlighted for CARICOM model legislation include partnerships, non-profit and gaming sectors and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.