Below par

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Barbados still has some ways to go before it can be regarded as one of the tougher anti-money laundering jurisdictions, a high-ranking official of the Central Bank of Barbados has revealed.

The Central Bank’s Deputy Director of the Bank Supervision Department Jennifer Clarke-Murrell said that in its last mutual evaluation process, Barbados scored more than 50 per cent in the area of technical compliance, but there were still key areas where the country came up short.

Clarke-Murrell revealed that in the assessment released in 2018, which compared the country’s anti-money laundering protocols against the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Barbados got low marks for effectiveness.

She said: “That process involved several questionnaires looking at the effectiveness with respect to technical compliance as well as the effectiveness on how we rolled out our programme with respect to AML CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism).” 

Clarke-Murrell, who was speaking at ACAMS Anti-Financial Crime symposium at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning further explained: “In December 2017 we also had an on-site visit by the assessors and then the issuance of the report came in February 2018.

“Barbados would have scored low effectiveness and moderate effectiveness in all 11 of the effectiveness ratings of the standard.

“With respect to technical compliance, we would have gotten 25 largely compliant and 15 partially compliant or not compliant at all.”

But while it was important to correct all deficiencies, Clarke-Murrell said she was especially concerned about the criteria relating to the risk relating to the jurisdiction and having policies in place to mitigate such risk.

“We were partially compliant as it relates to confiscation and dealing with high-risk jurisdictions. We also were partially compliant with reporting suspicious activity and these are all at the national level.

“Because of Barbados’ overall rating, we ended up in enhanced follow-up process of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. One of the key findings to me is the one relating to us understanding the risk to our jurisdiction.

“It was felt that on a national level Barbados did not have a collaborative approach as it relates to understanding its risks and vulnerabilities.

“Also, there was recognition of the fact that we did the self-assessment but at the national level, we did not have an over-arching view of trends and vulnerabilities.

“There was also concern about the levels of on-sight inspection at the national level, not just at the Central Bank or the FSC (Financial Services Commission), but also in sectors such as gaming that could have an impact.”

Clarke-Murrell explained that the assessors were of the view that gaming arcades here, which are made up mainly of slot machines and do not meet the level of casinos, still needed to be better supervised. The report also expressed concern about the deterrent factor, noting that penalties for deficient entities may not be strong enough.

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