The Hon. Alfred Sears, Bahamas Attorney General and Minister of Education, serves as the current Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
The CFATF is an organisation of selected Caribbean Basin States that have agreed to implement common counter-measures to address the problem of criminal money laundering. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by member countries, this mandate arises from the determination to *”preserve and maintain social, economic and political stability in the Caribbean Region.”*
Nineteen recommendations constituting the agreed upon common approach, and having specific relevance to the region, were formulated in 1990, in Aruba. They are complementary to the Forty Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force established by the Group of Seven at the 1989 Paris G7 Summit. In 1992, CFATF members signed the Kingston Declaration, which endorsed and affirmed their commitment to implement the FATF and Aruba Recommendations, the OAS Model Regulations, and the 1988 U.N. Convention.
**Global Forum On Money Laundering**
As CFATF Chairman, Minister Sears attended the recent February Plenary of the Financial Action Task Force, held in Paris, France.
He used the opportunity to initiate discussions on the mandate given him by the Ministerial Council of the CFATF to promote the convening of a global forum on money laundering, under the auspices of the United Nations. The idea is to promote a United Nations Convention on Money Laundering, allowing for the establishment of international standards, applied equally to all nations.
Minister Sears said he canvassed delegates from the CFATF Group of Cooperating and Supporting Nations on this proposal. These included representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Mexico. The matter was discussed as well with the Chairs and the Secretariat of the other regional FATF styled organisations, as well as other multilateral organisations participating in the Plenary.
Returning to The Bahamas, the CFATF Chairman says he is even more committed to the establishment of a global standard and its uniform application in the fight against money laundering. He plans to continue lobbying the international community to achieve this goal.
The Working Group established by FATF to review its 40 Recommendations met during the Plenary, with the CFATF represented on this Working Group by representatives from the Central Bank of the Bahamas. CFATF’s next Plenary is scheduled to be held in Panama from March 17 to 21. At that time, it is anticipated that the regional group will review the proposed revisions and submit its comments to the FATF before April 1, 2003. The FATF has committed to finalising the new FATF 40 Recommendations by June, 2003.
Post 9/11/01, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) introduced 8 Special Recommendations which, when combined with its Forty Recommendations on money laundering, set out the basic framework to detect, prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist acts. FATF has indicated that it will continue to strive for full compliance of these Recommendations, both with its own membership and globally.
**Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Methodology**
The FATF, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank have collaborated on developing a new methodology in the fight against money laundering and terrorism.
The Ministerial Council of CFATF discussed this new AML/CFT Methodology at a special meeting held in Barbados earlier this year. It has not endorsed the use of such in its mutual evaluation programmes as yet, pending what it considers “adequate” consideration of the methodology by its members.
CFATF has established a Special Working Group to work with the IMF in reviewing the methodology. While in Paris for the recent FATF Plenary, Chairman Sears reportedly held extensive talks with officials from the IMF and plans further discussions with CFATF member countries on the use of AML/CFT.
In the meantime, the new methodology is being used by CFATF member countries in Offshore Financial Centre (OFC) and Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) assessments by the IMF. There is significant cooperation between CFATF and the IMF and the regional task force has agreed to provide law enforcement experts for the IMF Missions to CFATF member countries. For example, the Deputy Director of CFATF participated in IMF missions to the Netherlands Antilles and Haiti; while CFATF provided a law enforcement expert from The Bahamas for the IMF’s OFC assessment of the Turks and Caicos Islands; and an experienced mutual evaluation examiner from Trinidad and Tobago participated in IMF missions to Anguilla and Montserrat.