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Antigua and Barbuda's Minister of Finance has responded to a statement from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which cited "strategic deficiencies" in the implementation of the country's Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) action plan.
The FATF said "Despite Antigua and Barbuda’s high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and CFATF to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, the FATF is not yet satisfied that Antigua and Barbuda has made sufficient progress in implementing its action plan, and certain strategic deficiencies remain. Antigua and Barbuda should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address these deficiencies, including by continuing to improve the overall supervisory framework. The FATF encourages Antigua and Barbuda to address its remaining deficiencies and continue the process of implementing its action plan."
The FATF statement accompanied the placement of Antigua and Barbuda on the dark grey list of countries that still have deficiencies in their AML/CFT programs.
The Minister of Finance said in response: "This outcome is a consequence of Antigua and Barbuda not having fully completed the implementation of its AML/CFT action plan. In February 2010, the FATF's International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) endorsed Antigua and Barbuda's action plan. The plan comprised 14 specific legislative and institutional reforms and a timetable for their implementation.
"These interventions were intended to address all AML/CFT deficiencies and improve the country's overall supervisory structure. However, a number of issues have prevented full implementation of the plan. To date, eleven of the fourteen reforms have been completed. They include amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, improving the scope and content of inspections of financial institutions, strengthening the Insurance Act, and establishing arrangements for sharing of information among domestic and regional regulatory agencies.
"The three outstanding issues relate to the implementation of amendments to the Banking Act (which is a uniform piece of legislation in all the OECS States), establishment and entry into force of Guidelines for the Co-operatives Societies Act, and restructuring the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) to include enactment of stand-alone legislation for the entity. Progress on these reforms, especially the new FSRC legislation, has been delayed due to a limited number of legal draftsmen attached to the Office of the Attorney General. Following the resignation of the Parliamentary Counsel, the services of a legal draftsman from outside Antigua and Barbuda had to be obtained on a consultant contract to specifically address the required legislation."
He concluded by saying "The government remains committed to ensuring that Antigua and Barbuda continues to build a strong AML/CFT regulatory regime for its financial sector. The government is currently in the process of fully implementing its AML/CFT action plan as it paves the way for Antigua and Barbuda’s removal from the FATF listing by year end."
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