Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 21, 2015 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, was the featured speaker at the Financial Services Regulatory Commission – St. Kitts Branch’s (FSRC) 2nd annual Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) seminar at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Wednesday, October 21.

The meeting was held under the theme: “Recognize, Identify, Scrutinize, Know: What is my Exposure?” Key stakeholders were called upon in the financial sector to determine risks as well as examine the necessity of developing and implementing a risk assessment model for their institutes.

Underscoring the importance of seminars such as these in light of recent negative listings of the Federation, the Federation’s Prime Minister said it is now even more important to reinforce the Federation’s regulatory system.

“These systems require all regulated entities to collect and maintain adequate due diligence information to identify your clients, beneficial owners of accounts, and entities registered in our Federation,” Prime Minister Harris said. “Our regulatory framework must therefore be robust and comprehensive. Only then can we continue to challenge the unjustified and unsubstantiated ‘black listings’ such as the ones recently imposed by European Union Member Countries on St. Kitts and Nevis and other CARICOM countries.”

Prime Minister Harris expressed the commitment of his Government towards ensuring that the Federation has the capability to combat the financing of terrorism as well as money laundering.

“My Unity Government is committed to providing the necessary support to ensure that our Federation has the required mechanisms for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism,” he said.

He indicated that it is no longer acceptable for governments to simply pass legislation with the aim of meeting required standards. He noted that these laws will be subjected to testing in order to ensure that these laws provide for the desired outcome that align with regulatory standard.

“It is in this regard that the FSRC has increased the number of onsite examinations being undertaken annually,” Dr. Harris explained. “In addition to the usual areas of assessment, the process will now include reviewing documents and files of applicants for the Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI) submitted by licensed Service Providers to the Citizenship by Investment Unit. This action is in keeping with the recommendations for improvement to the CBI Programme.”

He noted that onsite examinations are integral to the FSRC mandate and asked stakeholders present for assistance in this regard.

“Your cooperation, as our private sector partners, is of vital importance in this process. The partnership between the FSRC and regulated entities should engender the necessary outcomes to ensure that St. Kitts-Nevis remains largely compliant with international standards,” said Prime Minister Harris.

Prime Minister Harris acknowledged that the recent passage of the United States of America’s FATCA legislation will present some problems, however, he vowed his government’s assistance in mitigating these challenges.

Prime Minister Harris declared, that the Government is “committed to working with FSRC to overcome the obstacles that regulated entities may encounter as a direct result of implementation of the required changes” and said that the workshop is one initiative that demonstrates such a commitment.

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