BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 18, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has fortified its legislative framework to combat and eradicate money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and use of weapons of mass destruction with the passage of the Miscellaneous (Financial Services) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the National Assembly today, Thursday, March 18.
The Miscellaneous (Financial Services) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 provides for various amendments to facilitate the comprehensive implementation of measures to boost national security, strengthen investigative techniques, and foster greater coherence within the financial services sector in keeping with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations to prevent and combat money laundering, anti-terrorism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and for related matters.
“The FATF recommendations are now recognized as the global anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing standard,” said Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
Prime Minister Harris, who moved the Bill through all stages in the National Assembly, further noted that “Compliance with these recommendations is determined at periodic intervals and countries are expected to pass what is considered the issue or the standard of technical compliance and then the effectiveness test or operational compliance. This method of evaluation is a Peer Review mechanism by which members of the global alliance, which forms the FATF and some nine other regional affiliates, are bound by. This Bill in particular is intended to ensure that we are updated and are in sync with current thinking with respect to the fundamental recommendations.”
Prime Minister Harris said that it is therefore evident that St. Kitts and Nevis, under a Team Unity Government, stands firm on the side of law and order.
“We stand and our country stands as a responsible and principled entity with the rest of the world in its effort to free the landscape of all manner of crimes but in the context of the specifics of the Bill [crimes relating to] money laundering, financing of terrorist activities, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the prime minister said.
Dr. Harris added, “We have to ensure that as the global financial space evolves that our legislative response – the legal basis on which we will act – that that also evolves so that those who commit crimes will have no shelter in terms of being able to point to deficiencies in the law which will render efforts to contain them and to disrupt their illicit activities. They should find no safe haven in any quarter in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Before its passage, the Miscellaneous (Financial Services) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 received strong support from Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Vincent Byron.