JIS News

The Proceeds of Crime Bill is to be brought before Parliament soon, as part of efforts to fight organised crime and to ensure that persons engaged in criminal activities do not profit from their illegal activities.
National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips made the announcement while addressing the closing ceremony for staff of the Financial Crimes Unit, who had participated in a two-week course conducted by consultants from the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Programme (CALP) last Thursday (Nov. 25).
He said the Act would serve to bring, within the ambit of possible forfeiture through the courts, all properties and accumulated wealth, which cannot be explained by legitimate activity.
Pointing to the recently amended Money Laundering Act, the Security Minister noted that the intent was to ensure that the necessary legislative framework was in place to represent the legitimate interests of the society.
Recently, the provisions of the Money Laundering Act were amended to include as gatekeepers, lawyers, accountants and real estate brokers among others. The amended law requires gatekeepers to file reports of suspicious transactions in much the same way that financial institutions are required to file them.In the meantime, the CALP programme is aimed at ensuring the preparedness of financial investigators to cope with the demands of new legislation. It is also geared at keeping participants abreast of current international trends in the area of money laundering.
Pointing to the “direct involvement of reputable organisations, companies and individuals in the networks of criminal transactions” Minister Phillips told the participants that they were an intrinsic part of the country’s defence chain and called on them to “remain brave in the face of intimidation, bribery or worst.”
The National Security Minister noted further, that direct link between violent organized crime and white-collar crime, could not be discounted as both carried negative consequences for society.
“Illicit enterprises require illicit protection and often times that means armed violent protection, because for the most part, you cannot seek that protection from legitimate agents of the law,” he pointed out.
Furthermore, he said, crime and money laundering minimised and thwarted the prospects for legitimate business and contributed to the “steady unraveling of the foundations of civilised society,” making it impossible to “oppose the gunman and the money launderer.”
Minister Phillips, in commending the training initiatives, said that while measures have been taken to strengthen intelligence and direct operations against violent criminals and the drug trade, the country also had to strengthen its ability to deal with money laundering. He encouraged the officers to execute their duties without fear and maintain their integrity.