ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday said the European Parliament is applying sanctions to TT as a result of a “mis-characterisation” of this country’s compliance status with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He made this disclosure during debate on a motion to approve a joint select committee report on the Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill 2018. Al-Rawi warned that if the House did not pass the bill yesterday so it could proceed to the Senate for final passage, TT will not complete the timeline FATF set for this country to report on September 5.
He said right now, “The banking sector in Europe is currently stopping banking transactions and brokerage transactions with TT entities.” This situation, Al-Rawi continued, could impact on other Caricom countries which like TT, are also undergoing fourth round mutual evaluations by FATF. Government has written to Caricom, FATF and the Caribbean FATF on this matter. Al-Rawi said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will raise this matter at next week’s Caricom Heads of Government Meeting in Jamaica. He also said other Caricom attorneys general are supporting his advocacy. Saying the United States and United Kingdom have engaged Government and Opposition on FATF compliance in relation to anti-terrorism, Al-Rawi said this underscores the point that the Opposition is, “required to support the improvements to our law.”
Recalling TT began its effort to comply with international law on anti-terrorism since April 2015, Al-Rawi said the former People’s Partnership government committed TT to FATF compliance during its tenure. He indicated that Shane Crawford was one of the people arrested during the state of emergency called by former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in 2012. Crawford, a Trinidadian identified as foreign terrorist fighter with the ISIS terrorist group, was killed in Syria by US forces in April 2017.
“We are agreed that this phenomenon is something that we must treat with. There are examples in our society,” Al-Rawi said.