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FATF Clears St Vincent & The Grenadines

by Mike Godfrey,, New York

25 June 2003

At its plenary meeting in Berlin this week, the FATF took the decision to remove St. Vincent and the Grenadines from the list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories, the so-called ‘black list’. This removal of St. Vincent and the Grenadines comes as a result of the FATF’s recognition of the enactment of reforms to the anti money laundering regime, and on-going efforts to implement these reforms in the country.

The FATF have asked the Government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to continue to pay special attention to the monitoring of its offshore banking sector. While this Eastern Caribbean island state is primarily known as an IBC jurisdiction, it also has a substantial offshore banking sector.

The FATF Implementation Progress Report on St. Vincent and the Grenadines was very complimentary about the “substantial” amount of training provided to financial institutions with respect to anti-money laundering requirements. It said “the institutions appear to be fully informed and aware of their obligations.” It also states “Relationships between and among the Offshore Financial Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, other financial regulators, police, other governmental entities, as well as the private financial services sector, appears to be excellent and working well.”

The report also had high praise for the Financial Intelligence Unit, saying “cooperation provided by the FIU has been excellent.” Of the FIU it also said that it is “fully operational, active and effective.” The FIU has been endorsed for membership into the Egmont Group.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is now poised to take the international financial services sector into a new era, now that we have been given a clean bill of health by the FATF”, said Prime Minister Dr the Hon. Ralph E Gonsalves. “While we will continue to rigorously enforce our anti money laundering regime, we will also now pay more attention to ensuring that this sector continues to contribute to the development of the national economy,” he said.

Speaking on the FATF Report and Plenary decision to de-list St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Offshore Finance Inspector Ms Louise Mitchell stated “the decision is of course long overdue, however it is good to finally have our efforts recognized by the FATF. When the FATF Americas Review Group team finally made it here, they were very impressed with what they found. In particular they applauded the high level of anti-money laundering compliance of the private sector, which is in part a reflection of the excellent training conducted by the Government agencies and speaks to the excellent relationship in this country between the Government and the private sector.”

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