Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

Monday 20th January 2020

 

PRESS RELEASE

        

Joint press release from, His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Nigel Dakin, the Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade, Mrs. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and the Anti-money Laundering Committee

 

CFATF finds that the TCI has made significant progress in its technical compliance but more work is required on effectiveness

 

In a Press Conference on Monday 20th January 2020, His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Nigel Dakin, and the Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson along with the Members of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee (“AMLC”) established under the Proceeds of Crime Ordinance (“POCO”), announced the publication by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (“CFATF”) of their Mutual Evaluation Report into Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (“CFT”) measures in the Turks and Caicos Islands (the “Report”).

 

The CFATF evaluated the measures in place in the Turks and Caicos Islands as at the date of their onsite visit (September 2018). The Report analyses the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations, the level of effectiveness of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ AML/CFT system, and provides recommendations on how the regime could be strengthened.

 

In general, the Report found that there are structural elements in place for an effective AML/CFT system, including that–

 

  1. The TCI is politically stable and has demonstrated a high-level commitment in addressing ML/TF issues; and

 

  1. The rule of law is effective, and the Judiciary is capable and independent.

 

The above structural elements for an effective AML/CFT system provide confidence to the business sector operating within the TCI and those interested in investing in the TCI that the Turks and Caicos Islands, as a member of the international financial community, is committed to implementing and maintaining an appropriate, effective, and risk-based framework and strategy.

 

The Report noted that the TCI has a fair understanding of its money laundering risks based on its National Risk Assessment, prepared in collaboration with the private sector and that since the last Mutual Evaluation in 2008, the TCI has progressively advanced its legislative framework to address gaps in the country’s AML/CFT framework.

 

An Anti-Money Laundering Committee established under POCO, and chaired by the Hon. Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles OBE QC (AMLC), coordinates Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) risk assessments and national AML/CFT policies. In the months preceding the on-site visit, the TCI made a significant number of amendments to its AML/CFT laws and other subsidiary legislation and issued guidance notes. More than fifteen pieces of legislation were implemented.

 

Technical compliance

The Report recognises that the legislative measures implemented by the TCI have significantly enhanced its technical compliance framework and the TCI has been rated Compliant on 15 recommendations, Largely Complaint on a further 9 and Partially Compliant on 16 of the 40 recommendations.

 

Effectiveness

Similar to the TCI, all countries around the world undergoing this 4th round FATF Mutual Evaluations are confronting new standards on ‘Effectiveness Ratings’ and have experienced substantial challenges in ensuring that ‘sufficient progress’ is being made to comply with these newly introduced international standards. In terms of effectiveness, the TCI has achieved a moderate level of effectiveness for 6 Immediate Outcomes (IOs) and a low level of effectiveness for 5 others.

 

Of the 9 countries assessed by the CFATF to date in the Caribbean region, the above ratings rank the TCI in 3rd place, in terms of its technical compliance and in 3rd place[1] in terms of its effectiveness, and demonstrates the efforts made by the TCI since its last assessment.

 

However, there is more work to be done as the Report noted that the AML/CFT supervisory regime is in need of further enhancement to ensure that Financial Institutions and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, such as the legal profession, dealers in precious metals, casinos and the real estate sector, implement robust risk based mitigating measures to effectively address ML/TF risks. A number of recommendations have been made to address the identified deficiencies.

 

The Hon. Premier and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, in announcing the release noted that “The Turks and Caicos Islands has formally communicated a high level of political commitment and a willingness to address the deficiencies identified in the Report. We note that there has been favourable recognition within international and regional organizations of the tremendous effort that the TCI has expended to meet the international standards. The TCI recognises that more work is required to enhance the effectiveness of our AML/CFT risk management framework and we intend to continue working collaboratively with the private sector to achieve our goal of a high level of compliance now that we have the benefit of the recommendations in the Report.”

 

HE the Governor Mr. Nigel Dakin, noted that “TCI’s AML/CFT risk management program is incorporated in the National Security Strategy recently approved by the Cabinet and assured that a programme of work is now being planned by the AMLC for Cabinet’s approval, to address the issues highlighted in the Report. With the strong and collaborative support of the private sector, it is intended that when the TCI provides its first follow up report to the CFATF in November 2020, significant progress can be shown to demonstrate the TCI’s high level of commitment.”

ENDS

 

 

Government Press Office

Waterloo Road, Grand Turk

Turks & Caicos Islands

Tel: (649) 338-3924/ 338-3925

Ext: 3924/3925

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Notes to Editor:

  1. The members of the Anti-Money laundering Committee established under the Proceeds of Crime Ordinance are the Attorney General Hon. Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles OBE QC (Chair); the Director of Public Prosecutions Eugene Otuonye QC., the Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting, the Collector of Customs Chawa Williams; the Managing Director of the Financial Services Commission Niguel Streete, and the Director of the Financial Intelligence Agency Dwayne Baker.
  2. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989. It currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations, with participation by over 180 countries through a global network of FATF- style regional bodies, such as the CFATF. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

 

  1. The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They form the basis for a co-ordinated response to these threats to the integrity of the financial system and help ensure a level playing field. First issued in 1990, the FATF Recommendations were revised in 1996, 2001, 2003 and most recently in 2012 to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, and they are intended to be of universal application.

 

  1. The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse. .
  2. The CFATF is a FATF style regional body responsible for ensuring compliance within the Caribbean region. The CFATF’s Report on the Turks and Caicos Islands can be found at https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/documents/4th-round-meval-reports

 

  1. Please refer to The FATF Recommendations 2012 and the FATF Guidance: National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment here:

 

The FATF Recommendations 2012 (October 2016 update) can be found at

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfrecommendations/documents/fatf-recommendations.html

 

FATF Guidance National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment can be found at

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/methodsandtrends/documents/ml-tf-risks.html

[1] Ranked 3rd in effectiveness along with the Cayman Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.