Collective Stakeholder Efforts Key to Advancing Anti-Money Laundering Framework

The Honourable Minister of Finance and the Public Service in Jamaica, Dr. the Honourable Nigel Clarke, stated that collective stakeholder efforts are required at all levels to significantly improve the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework. While speaking in the House of Representatives on January 28th, 2020, Dr. the Honourable Clarke, noted that although extensive measures have been undertaken to improve the framework, a vast amount of work remains to be done.

The Honourable Minister emphasized that a robust AML/CFT regime will not only effectively combat Money Laundering (ML), Financing of Terrorism (FT) and Proliferation Financing (PF), but also safeguard Jamaica’s financial system and national security interest. “A strong AML/CFT framework will mean that Jamaica is seen by the world and our international partners as a diligent global citizen, intent on undercutting the underlying, primary profit-making motives related to crime, such as corruption, drug trafficking, market manipulation, fraud, tax evasion, along with any avenues used to conceal the proceeds of such crime or to further the reach of criminal enterprise,” he said.

In its last evaluation for the period 2015/2016, led by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Jamaica was found to have several deficiencies in relation to Technical Compliance and Effectiveness. Based on that Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), Jamaica was placed in Enhanced Follow-up by the CFATF, which meant that the country is obligated to report on its progress. Thus far, two reports have been provided in May 2018 and May 2019.

The Honourable Minister also stated that Jamaica established several measures to implement the required Recommendations. These included amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act; the Terrorism Prevention Act; the United Nations Security Council Resolution Implementation Act; amendment to the Companies Act; further enhancement by AML/CFT supervisors, such as Bank of Jamaica and Financial Services Commission, targeting their supervisory practices and measures to develop the required risk-based approach to supervision. Additional measures undertaken were improvement to the operational framework of law enforcement agencies and the completion of a National Risk Assessment (NRA) of its ML/TF risks in May 2016.

According to the Honourable Minister, there are still several outstanding requirements, among which are the finalization of the NRA to identify risks associated with several key financial and non-financial sectors and the inclusion of all DNFI/DNFBPs under the AML/CFT regime.