Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 21, 2015 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has encouraged key stakeholders of the Financial Sector in the Federation to support the efforts of the St. Kitts Branch of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) as its aim is to ensure the federation’s compliance with internationally accepted standards.
The Federation’s Prime Minister, who presented the feature address at an Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Seminar hosted by the FSRC on Wednesday, explained that evidence has indicated that the federation is at risk for international criminal activity.
Citing examples of stories which allege the involvement of Caribbean nationals in terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Prime Minister Harris said, “Over the last five years, the evidence suggests that there is a gradual increase in the detection of instances of money laundering in our region. Sadly, we can no longer say that the financing of terrorism is absent from our region as there is growing evidence of the participation of citizens from some regional jurisdictions in terrorist activity around the world.”
He underscored the importance of the FSRC as the leading financial regulatory agency.
He said the FSRC “remains the ultimate local agency responsible for ensuring that entities within the financial services industry implement the necessary controls and measures for compliance with our local anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism legislation.”
Prime Minister Harris revealed that the task of coordinating the activities of the National Financial Action Task Force (NFATF) has been assigned to the FSRC.
“The NFATF comprises of representatives from key Government entities, in leading the programme as St. Kitts and Nevis prepares for its Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation by the CFATF in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he further explained.
According to Prime Minister Harris, the process of Mutual Evaluations is extremely important to the member countries of the CFATF for two reasons.
“Firstly, the resulting reports and data are published and are used to place countries in context of compliance with international best practice,” he said. “Secondly, the reports are increasingly used by persons in the international investment arena to make a determination whether to investing our jurisdiction.”
Prime Minister Harris ended by reiterating his call for support of the FSRC.