An Act to facilitate the Financial Investigations Division (FID) membership in the Egmont Group was passed in the House of Representatives on May 28.
The Egmont Group provides a forum for Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) globally, to improve cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing; and to foster the implementation of domestic programmes in this regard.
In his remarks, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, who piloted the Act in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 28, explained that following the passage of the Financial Investigative Act in 2010, the Division submitted an application for membership to the Egmont Group through its sponsors, Canada, and the Bahamas.
He added that the application for membership to the Egmont group was subsequently denied as they were not in compliance with certain Egmont standards.
“Therefore the Bill seeks to amend the Act to ensure compliance since we consider it of importance for the international community that Jamaica be part of the effort to, not only prevent, reduce or eliminate money laundering, but also to combine our intelligence on global financial transactions which may facilitate terrorism or other criminal acts,” Dr. Phillips said.
Section 2 of the Act has been amended to clarify the definition of competent authority, making it an entity authorised by the Minister to monitor the compliance of business in the regulated sector, with the requirements imposed by law for the prevention of financial crimes.
In addition Section 12 (7) of the Act was also amended after the Egmont group called into question the independence of the Financial Investigations Division.
“Membership in the Egmont Group was one of those issues that needed to be addressed in order to end the close monitoring of the Jamaica anti money laundering combating the financing of terrorism standards by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force,” Dr. Phillips said.
“So these amendments, simple as they are, carry us a far way to becoming a full fledged member of the international community of financial intelligence agencies and investigative agencies that will help make Jamaica not only a place of investment, but a more secure environment,” he added.
Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Delroy Chuck, noted that the Opposition had no objection with the legislation.
“There can be no doubt that it’s an important part to bring Jamaica within the international community of financial bodies, so that when persons do business with Jamaica they don’t have to be looking behind their backs,” Mr. Chuck said.
The Bill will be sent to the Senate for approval.
Contact: Latonya Linton