Attorney General Dale Marshall speaking at a press conference at Government Headquarters, where Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley discussed their recent travel overseas to attend a series of high-level meetings. (GP)

Government is working assiduously to “bring Barbados up to the standard” set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Attorney General Dale Marshall said there would be very serious consequences if this country did not come up to the standard of the FATF, which is an inter-governmental policymaking body that designs and promotes rules to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Mr. Marshall made the comments while addressing a press conference at Government Headquarters, where Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley discussed their recent travel overseas to attend a series of high-level meetings.

The Financial Action Task Force had its ministerial meeting on the margins of the World Bank discussions in Washington, D.C., and Mr. Marshall, who is the chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, participated.

The Attorney General said a number of important decisions were taken, including that the FATF would now have an open-ended lifespan.  He explained that initially it had been established with a view to having a termination date, but recognizing that the issues of money laundering and terrorism financing were almost perpetual, the ministerial group took that decision.

“That is important for us because we are currently doing our follow up report. Barbados scored very, very poorly when our…evaluation was done two years ago.  We are currently engaged, very actively, in trying to score as well as we can in the upcoming evaluation,” he stated.

The Attorney General explained that there would be a plenary in Trinidad next month, and Barbados would be rated during an October plenary by the FATF in Paris. He stressed that it was important for Barbados to participate in the ministerial session and become fully engaged.

“One of the criticisms that the international arena constantly makes of jurisdictions like ours is the absence of continuous engagement.  We only raise our head above the parapet when something happens, but never take the trouble to be constantly engaging with these international bodies….

“I am optimistic that in our review, at the end of May, Barbados would score very highly in the upcoming rating.  We have done a tremendous amount of work…. Government passed two pieces of legislation, almost as we had to do in December last year.  A lot of the things that we have to comply with are in many respects statutory and on Tuesday [today] we are going to do a further three pieces of legislation relating to the financial arrangements….,” Mr. Marshall noted.

During the wide-ranging press conference, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, who also attended those meetings in Canada and Washington, D.C., said Barbados wanted to establish itself as a country that was serious about the environment.

Mr. Humphrey stated this was evident by the country’s ban on plastics, plans to develop a marine managed area and rebuild coral reefs.  He pointed out that McGill University in Canada had done “great work” in relation to coral reef and it had agreed to assist Barbados in that area.

“McGill officials have also accepted that they will help us with a number of other innovative projects.  We saw about 10 to 15 innovative things that McGill had been doing, some of which we were unaware; things that could contribute significantly to the development of this country.  So, we are going to deepen that relationship with McGill…,” he stated.

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