Over 70 government and statutory body representatives were trained as the Virgin Islands prepares to undergo its Fourth Round Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Mutual Evaluation in 2023.
Members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) facilitated the training and participants were educated on the Mutual Evaluation process, and standards and stakeholder expectations during the assessment.
The two-day programme, which began on June 27, also highlighted money laundering and terrorist financing risk in the context of the Virgin Islands landscape, the principles and process for addressing technical compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, and principles and best practices for demonstrating effectiveness with respect to the FATF’s Immediate Outcomes.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, during his remarks at the opening ceremony of the training exercise, said that he fully recognised and endorsed the efforts being made to ensure the Territory’s preparedness for the upcoming assessment.
The Honourable Premier who serves as the Chairman of the National Anti-Money Laundering Coordinating Council (NAMLCC) said, “My government recognises the central role the Virgin Islands plays in international finance, the obligation we owe ourselves to maintain a clean and stable society and the responsibility of cross border cooperation we share with other countries and territories.”
Premier Wheatley reminded participants that they are the Territory’s front-line defense against illicit activity and the guardians of its reputation.
The Premier said the training should extend further than the purpose of the mutual evaluation, adding, “You are well-positioned to protect the financial perimeter of this Territory by doing all that is necessary to deny persons engaged in financial crime from finding sanctuary within our midst.”
In addition to the training for government officers, workshops were held for members of the private sector who will be involved in the evaluation. These sessions provided the Territory’s financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professionals with an overview of the Mutual Evaluation Process while helping them to prepare for the assessment.
Other speakers at the opening ceremony included His Excellency the Governor John Rankin, CMG; Managing Director/CEO of the BVI Financial Services Commission, Mr. Kenneth Baker; and Senior Financial Sector Expert within the Financial Integrity Group of the IMF, Ms. Carolina Claver.
The Government of the Virgin Islands, in recognising the importance of meeting its international obligations and maintaining the high standard of compliance achieved in the Third Round of Mutual Evaluations in 2008, said it fully endorses the efforts being made to ensure the Territory’s preparedness for the upcoming assessment.
The Mutual Evaluation is based on the International Standards on Combatting Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation set out by the Financial Action Task Force. These standards will be used to determine the effectiveness of the Virgin Islands’ anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) systems, policies and procedures in combatting money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.