Cash out!

Regional Central Banker wants tighter controls on money transactions

In the wake of last month’s United States report in which Barbados and other Caribbean territories were blacklisted as major money laundering centres, a top regional official today called for tighter controls to be placed on cash transactions across the region.

Addressing the annual Domestic Financial Institution Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Timothy Antoine suggested that the region on the whole needed to reduce its dependence on cash transactions by as much as 50 per cent over the next five years.

“Cash is not just unsafe, it is expensive, just ask central banks and commercial banks,” he said, while acknowledging that the changeover to an electronic based system was likely to be met by resistance, given the risks associated with cyber security.

However, speaking on the theme Imperatives for Financial Sector Development in the Caribbean, Antoine stressed the need for the Caribbean to modernize its systems, raise its game and improve its competitiveness.

He also zeroed in on the challenges affecting the financial system in the Caribbean, warning that it was now a “key channel” for crimes, including counterfeiting, money laundering and corruption.

The Eastern Caribbean’s top economist further cautioned that weaknesses in one island “often impacts the reputation of all”, given that some international players neither knew nor cared  about country specifics.

His comments followed closely on the heels of last month’s release by the US State Department of the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Volume II, in which it listed over 80 countries and territories –  excluding the US – in which there were said to be serious councerns about money laundering.

Apart from Barbados, other Caribbean countries on the list include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In Barbados’ case, the report pointed out that the island’s criminal law limited Government’s ability to seize assets acquired through criminal activity, without first obtaining a conviction.

It also suggested the island’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), law enforcement, supervisory agencies, and prosecutorial authorities were not adequately staffed and lacked the necessary capacity to perform their duties.

The March 2017 report also pointed to a weakness in terms of information sharing among regulatory and enforcement agencies, and stated that the country’s susceptibility to money laundering was “primarily associated with the domestic sale of illegal narcotics and the laundering of foreign criminal proceeds”.

While not making any direct reference to the report, Antoine suggested that strengthening of the region’s monetary policies was definitely in order, but cautioned that strong policy leadership and incentives by government in partnership with the private sector would be required.

He also pointed out that Belgium was one of the most cashless countries in the world, but said based on unofficial statistics as much as 70 per cent of payments in the region were currently paper based.

“The benefits of increased use of electronic payments go well beyond the financial sector and offer prospects for higher levels of economic growth, competitiveness and employment,” he said.

“And all of us know in this region that our growth rates are unsatisfactory – too low for too long – and we have to raise the trajectory. One of the things we can do, regardless of what goes on in the external world, is to actually reduce our use of cash and use more electronic payments,” he stressed.

In addition to reducing its use of cash, Antoine called on the region to mount a vigorous campaign to “help take the profit out of crime”, while describing the rising levels of crime across the region as concerning.

marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb.

15 Responses to Cash out!

  1. jrsmith May 5, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Its all because the whole region is very corrupt , the politicians is not accountable to anyone, this will never end ..
    The political corruption comes , because the 1% of our nation is protected by the politicians….
    Enforcement of laws which means the protected people in barbados , is going to be caught out lawfully you cannot have that so what comes next , just allow the system to break down., then the blame and excuse is placed on the black masses…………….

    Why the world is covered in cheap electronic data , which adds efficiency to good and bad government, why as an educated island our politicians , keeps avoiding the same, because change would expose the corrupt behaviour from them…but the world is not taking sides, corruption is corruption, they will all get caught…

    Bajans seems to be the only ones who is scared to openly criticize our political system, which is also punishing our people who seems not to consider Barbados suppose to be a democracy….
    Our politicians has exposed barbados , to the world who in return is treating our country in many ways as a leper , allowing any body to take swipes at us………………………………………………
    The question should be ask , why the financial world and institutions , is never going after the (British Protectorates) such as (Bermuda) (Cayman ) and the (Virgin Isles) islands who control openly tax avoidance and money laundering…. others know things we dont………………………………………………………

    Reply
    • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 8:30 am

      @Jrsmith – Our politicians and that 1% is playing on the same team. Kicking the same football for years >>>>>> black people. These Zebra politicians will never try to cut the hand that is feeding them. We have a serious problem with the masses dealing with real issues, because of a variation in priorities, blindness and the needing the work mentality.

      Reply
  2. Kevin Gibson
    Kevin Gibson May 5, 2017 at 6:54 am

    We need to move away from the US dollar and fast

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston May 5, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Why?

      Reply
  3. Richard Johnston May 5, 2017 at 7:58 am

    The heritage of the British Empire. Think also Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda. “Don’t fret a bit if we raise your tax rates, Milord, you can always stash your assets in one of the tax havens we conveniently provide you.”

    Reply
  4. Alex Alleyne May 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

    The Caribbean is learning from BRAZIL.

    Reply
  5. Peter May 5, 2017 at 10:48 am

    irrespective of whatever you folks – Jennifer and jrsmith say or think, The US dollar rules the roost. and not one single soul CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. What the hell does Barbados have in terms of natural resources that can have them make demands? The only thing Barbados depend on for economic development are tourism and International investments, the latter has to do 100% with the financial or offshore banking sector. Before you both put your feet in your mouth, make sure there is room there. Seek knowledge of how the banking and financial sectors work. You’ll see how easy it can be for Barbados to be set up and used as bait.

    Reply
    • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Well Peter I cannot fault you here. N.B TIME is a great healer and RESTORATIVE TOOL of all things. And that is fact. And with all your reading etc you know exactly what I am talking about.

      Reply
  6. Ossie Moore May 5, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I have lived all over the world ( still residing outside of Buhbaydus , I love Barbados so much and that is why I don’t live there ) but I have never ever seen such a romance between the residents of a country and it’s Politicians like I have seen in Barbados.

    Bajans too love their Politicians , and to add insult to injury the Politicians know that the bajans are in love with them. I’ll bet that the politicians carry lots of KY jelly around with them.

    Now go figure out what I am trying to say.

    Reply
  7. Ossie Moore May 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Well said Peter ! ! ! You are right on the money.

    Reply
  8. Bajan May 5, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Would you believe that it is the same USA over the last 20 years that was the main anti-money laundering / financial and organized crime consultant for every one of those Caribbean countries mentioned? They sent in experts and trained our people. They helped us draft our laws and regulations. They guided us along the way to meet they ‘high’ accredited standards. Now in 2017, the same USA is saying we are money launders! Open your eyes people!

    Reply
    • Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Bajan – this people cannot open their eyes. Because they are people operating both near and far to keep them closed. NOTHING BUT STRANGERS TO THE TRUTH.

      Reply
  9. jrsmith May 5, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    @, Jennifer, hail, hail on the button as always , but when would the black masses in barbados be ever effective…………
    @, Peter, hail , hail, thanks for telling me the US dollar rules the roost didn’t know that….this matter is nothing to do with the US dollar….
    I am ever so glad to see how the US is throwing its weight around in the region about time , soon will see our corrupt politicians running for cover and the protected big up criminals , the US law enforcement is coming after every body…….thats why they set up office in Jamaica……………………………………..

    Reply
  10. Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    @Jrsmith – “but when would the black masses in barbados be ever effective…………

    NEVER – the alcohol is too strong and the drunken state IRREVERSIBLE.

    Reply
  11. gaza May 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Are all of you’ll stupid! who does more fraud and money laundering than the U.S.A

    Reply

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