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Friday, November 17 2017 @ 10:38 PM AST

Trinidad & Tobago mulls special aircraft for crime fighting from US


(L-R) US Ambassador (advisor to commander, not resident in PoS) Liliana Ayalde, US Charge d'Affaires John McIntyre (acting US ambassador to T&T), and US Commander Admiral Kurt Tidd meet Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley today.

Prime Minister, Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley met with Commander, US Southern Command, Admiral Kurt Tidd, today (Monday 06 November, 2017) at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The discussions focussed on a number of areas which have been identified as important for the continued development and enhancement of the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to express his sympathy to the US in the wake of the recent attack in New York and the mass shooting in Texas and reiterated the need for both countries to continue to work together to combat acts of terror against innocent citizens.

Admiral Tidd commended Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to treat with radicalisation which he said plays a role in these types of incidents. He also addressed the issue of money laundering and spoke about its connection to terrorist and other organised criminal activity, stressing the need for collaboration to eradicate these types of crimes.

It was agreed that Trinidad and Tobago and the United States will continue to work closely together to dismantle drug smuggling networks. The provision of training in Information Communications Technology, cybercrime and specialised aircraft to assist in the fight against crime was also discussed.

The Honourable Stuart Young, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs and the Office of the Prime Minister also attended the meeting.

Ambassador Liliana Ayalde, Political Advisor to the Commander, K Jun Bando, Special Advisor to the Commander, John McIntyre, Charge de Affairs, US Embassy and Colonel Claudia Carrizales, Chief, Military Liaison Office, US Embassy represented the United States at the meeting.


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO PLACED ON GREY LIST FOR WEAK ENFORCEMENT OF AML/CFT

Trinidad & Tobago on FATF grey list

The Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) notes with concern the recent pronouncements by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on the Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering of the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime of Trinidad and Tobago.

The FATF public statement, which was issued on November 3rd 2017, identified Trinidad & Tobago as one of nine (9) countries as having strategic AML/CFT deficiencies with the other countries namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Vanuatu and Yemen. Trinidad and Tobago committed to the execution of an action plan, which is yet to be realized.

The text of the statement as it relates to Trinidad and Tobago is reproduced below:-

In October 2017, Trinidad and Tobago made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and CFATF [the Caribbean FATF] to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and address any related technical deficiencies. Trinidad and Tobago will work to implement its action plan to accomplish these objectives, including by: (1) adopting and implementing the relevant measures to enhance international cooperation; (2) addressing measures for transparency and beneficial ownership; (3) completing the legislative efforts to enhance the processing of ML [Money Laundering] charges before the courts; (4) taking measures to enhance tracing and confiscation of criminal assets; (5) enforcing TF [Terrorist Financing] measures and adopting appropriate measures for NPOs [Non Profit Organizations]; (6) enacting the necessary amendments related to targeted financial sanctions; and (7) developing, adopting, and implementing the necessary framework to counter proliferation financing.

BATT advises that this FATF Statement has serious implications to local banks and the national community at large and can translate into severe economic challenges generally for all. There will be impact to banking operations locally if international correspondent banking relations become strained as a result.

The FATF list is a signal to banks globally to take precautionary measures with respect to their dealings with banks, clients, and transactions from territories on the FATF list. This statement along with Trinidad and Tobago’s slow implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) will place Trinidad and Tobago businesses in a disadvantageous position when negotiating with their international counterparts.

Trinidad and Tobago will also be given a higher country risk ranking and all wire and other international transactions from and the operations of local banks will be subject to greater scrutiny. This may lead to further pressures on an already tenuous correspondent banking relationships and a greater threat of loss of same, thus endangering our already tight foreign exchange flows. There will be higher cost of doing international/ cross border transactions, which will translate into higher cost of doing business locally. A challenging situation in already challenging economic times.

We urge the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to take the requisite steps to expeditiously and urgently execute on the agreed action plan, which involves for the most part, the strengthening of the several institutions responsible for the administration and enforcement of the AML /CFT regime in Trinidad and Tobago.


About The Bankers’ Association of Trinidad & Tobago

The Bankers Association of Trinidad & Tobago, BATT, was formed in 1997. The eight (8) member banks of BATT include the Bank of Baroda (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited, Citibank (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited, First Caribbean International Bank (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited, First Citizens Bank Limited, JMMB Bank (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited, Republic Bank Limited, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Limited and RBC Royal Bank (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited. The association brings together these member banks under a common platform to address issues facing the commercial banking sector.

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