Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, is encouraging members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants to report any irregularities they believe may be from the proceeds of crime.
He issued this challenge today while addressing the body’s International Business Workshop at Hilton Barbados Resort.
He told the accountants that as professionals, they must not “yield an inch of comfort to the criminal elements in our midst”.
“You may be privy to financial transactions…not all banking if necessary…that can indicate illicit activity involving drugs and other deviant activities. You have a duty as professionals to report such…
“I wish to join with others in raising the concern, that the international business and financial services sector can come under immense pressure from this internal beast if we do not immediately join forces and wrestle it to the ground,” Mr. Inniss urged.
The Minister told his audience that there was a nexus between the regional drugs trade and an upsurge of gun-related crime across the region. He warned that if Barbados was not seen as a peaceful place, board directors would no longer come here for meetings, or, worst yet, view Barbados as no longer a domicile to conduct business.
“If we do not wrestle crime to the ground, we may find that some of our most competent professionals seek safety in other jurisdictions and take with them the businesses that we have grown accustomed to.
“For example, the reported incidents of gun-related deaths and violence and general deviant behaviour can do irreparable damage to our reputation as a safe haven for business and personal reasons,” he emphasised.
Mr. Inniss said like Barbados, other islands in the Caribbean also had their challenges with increased firearm-related crimes and increased lawlessness. He said the island had worked extremely hard to build up Barbados’ reputation to have it tarnished by a “few lawless elements”.