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Monday 17 June 2019
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[UPDATED] Charles: Educate Tobago youth on financial crimes

Chief Sec Kelvin Charles greets Director, Compliance and Outreach of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Avelon Perry as FIU member Kevin Radix looks on.
Chief Sec Kelvin Charles greets Director, Compliance and Outreach of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Avelon Perry as FIU member Kevin Radix looks on.

KINNESHA GEORGE-HARRY

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles has called on the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to consider partnering with the assembly’s Financial Literacy Secretariat to introduce information about money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism to high-school students and school leavers.

Addressing an audience at the 9th Annual Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Tobago Conference at the Magdalena Grand Golf and Beach Resort on Monday, Charles said he believed if change was to be truly experienced, the minds of the citizenry of an earlier age needed to be captured.

“Partner with the Youths Energised for Success (YES Programme), also under the Division of Finance and the Economy, which geared towards preparing and developing young entrepreneurs and young professionals,” he said.

“You may even want to consider partnering with the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development, and Labour, to sensitise communities and small businesses about the dangers of ML and CFT.  These are opportunities to spread your wings even more and further widen your audiences, particularly in Tobago.”

He added: “I also want to encourage you to continue ensuring that the FIU forms strategic alliances with international bodies and organisations, such as you have already done with the Egmont Group, which was formed to provide a forum for FIUs around the world to improve co-operation in the fight against ML /FT and to facilitate the rapid and secure exchange of information between FIUs.”

Reflecting on this year’s theme, Combatting ML and TF in TT: Where are we now? Charles said: “We ask ourselves the very important question regarding the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing: where are we now, TT? Have we made progress in this fight since we last met right here in this same place last year?  Have we cracked down on more cases since the last time we met?

“But I think more importantly, are we making any inroads in educating persons about money laundering and terrorism financing, as a means of making it less attractive, so as to deter or dissuade persons from getting involved in such practices.”

Charles also commended the government for recently spearheading the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill. The legislation, he said, speaks to a government that is serious about the eradication of corruption and one that is willing to not only talk but to walk the talk.

“I must also commend the efforts of the FIU.  So let me take this opportunity to congratulate you also on the systems you have put in place, which have already resulted in a 25 per cent increase in the number of suspicious transaction/activity reports, where you moved from 877 reports in 2017 to 1,100 in 2018 and an overall increase from 2013-2018, moving from 554 to 1,100 respectively.
“Your determination to ensure that non-regulated financial institutions are connected to the FIU is noteworthy.  Even more commendable is your increase to 2,756 of supervised entities, which include a wide spectrum of non-regulated financial institutions, professionals and business sectors,” he said. The Chief Secretary noted the FIU could not do it on its own.

“It requires a commitment from all levels of society, government and non-government, working alongside them, to stamp out these two evils. It requires dialogue and after the talk, a willingness to contribute and act.

“I was pleased to see that you, the FIU, are now authorised to conduct a compliance examination with the execution of a warrant by the TT Police Service, where consent to enter the business has been denied, in pursuant to the Miscellaneous Provisions Act No. 2 of 2018.  I believe that it is a step in the right direction and once again it shows this Government’s commitment to stamping out corruption.”

This story was originally published with the title "Chief Secretary challenges FIU" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


The Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit (FIU) on Monday held its 9th An­nu­al An­ti-Mon­ey Laun­der­ing (AML) and Counter Fi­nanc­ing of Ter­ror­ism (CFT) Com­pli­ance Con­fer­ence for in­di­vid­u­als and busi­ness­es.

The event was held at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Re­sort in Low­lands, Tobago under the theme: “Combatting ML and TF in TT: Where are we now?”

Addressing those gathered, Kelvin Charles, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy, used the opportunity to challenge the FIU to consider partnering with the assembly’s Financial Literacy Secretariat to introduce information about money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism to high-school students and school leavers.

Charles said he is believes if change is to be truly experienced, the minds of the citizenry from an earlier age needs to be captured.

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