No ease on terrorist financing
AG gives firm warning to criminals of consequences if caught
Government won’t be letting up on its fight against crime –– or cracking down on people who benefit financially from illegal activities –– despite its economic challenges.
That assurance was given this morning by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite at the start of a specialized national workshop on Countering Terrorism
And Its Financing being held at the Supreme Court Complex.
“I want to stop talking about it and start some serious action . . . . We will do all within our power, notwithstanding our resource issues, to ensure that persons who benefit from illegal proceeds of crime that we are able to [deal with] them,” he said.
“We will ensure that those who benefit from crime in this country that they know that we are very serious about going after their assets,” he pledged, adding that he had seen two case studies which outlined how the Financial Intelligence Unit could be used as a catalyst to initiate investigations into criminal networks.
The two-day workshop is being organized by the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism of the Organization of American States and the Government of Barbados.
It brings together representatives of the Royal Barbados Police Force, Central Bank of Barbados, Immigration Department, and the Financial Intelligence Unit among others.
Brathwaite said, too, that the Caribbean was no longer isolated from international criminal networks, including the threat of terrorism and the time had come for Barbados and other regional countries to put the necessary legislative framework in place and conduct the relevant training to counter these acts.
“We think, ‘Terrorism, what has that to do with the Caribbean? . . . Terrorism is something that you read about in other parts of the world’. The reality, though, is that the Caribbean is no longer isolated from the rest of the world. Who would have thought that we have seen some individuals from Bulgaria being charged here recently in a scam to do with our ATM machines?” Brathwaite pointed out.
He warned that a failure to put the necessary systems in place and to conduct the required training would open the doors to Barbados being exploited.
Brathwaite, who is also Minister of Home Affairs, stressed that his ministry had a responsibility to ensure that the necessary legislative framework was in place to address issues such as terrorism, and to ensure that all personnel were trained to identify when the island’s facilities, whether corporate trust or banking, were being used for terrorist financing.
He cautioned participants, including police and immigration officers, judges and personnel from the Central Bank of Barbados, that just as they were training, so too were the terrorists and money launderers.
“They have their resources, they have the best brains possible, and they sit down and they plan just like you on how they can get around our laws, how they can get through our system. So, we therefore have to work harder because we have less,” he said.
Issues being discussed at the workshop include technical tools against the financing of terrorism, international cooperation, investigation and prosecution, mock investigations, and universal and regional legal framework against terrorism with particular focus on Barbados’ status.