Money Laundering Bills to Give Govt. Access to Confidential Information


Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies has informed financial crimes investigators, that the proposed money laundering bills now before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, would allow senior personnel at the Financial Investigations Division to gain access to confidential information about citizens as they carry out their duties.
The bills titled An Act to Amend the Money Laundering Act and the Financial Investigations Act 2004, were referred to the committee during last Tuesday’s (Nov. 9) sitting of the Lower House.
Addressing consultants from the Caribbean Anti-money Laundering Programme at the Financial Crimes Division, 1 Shalimar Avenue, Vineyard Town today (Nov. 19), Dr. Davies said the two bills represented the basis on which Jamaica would be able to say to its partners “we are not afraid to have our financial sector subjected to the most rigourous of tests”.
Noting that the work of the investigators was critical, Dr. Davies said that their input would help prevent the country from being utilised for illegal transactions relating to money laundering.
On the issue of confidentiality, Minister Davies warned that the government would enforce with rigour, the clauses that deal with secrecy in the proposed legislation. According to Dr. Davies, the “Ministry of Finance and Planning will bring down the full force of the law on any one who misuses the confidential information to which he/she would be privy”.
“The information to which you are privy, relates only to your official position as officers; it’s not something you share with wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend or combination thereof. These are issues, which you are only privy to because of the job you hold and the trust placed in you because of that job,” he stressed.
The Finance and Planning Minister also told the group, that Jamaicans should recognize that persons could not be allowed to do things, which were detrimental to the society and the economy and then seek protection on the basis of human rights and the rights to privacy. “A society must determine the extent to which personal rights infringe upon the national rights and obligations, and this is the balancing act we are faced with in terms of these bills,” he declared.

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