Prime Minister and Minister for National Security Hon. Philip J. Pierre reaffirmed Saint Lucia’s commitment to the Regional Security System at the recently concluded Council of Ministers Meeting in Grenada.
The Prime Minister’s sentiments on mounting a unified effort to combat crime were echoed by keynote speaker and president of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr. Hyginus Leon.
More in this report:
SOURCE: Office of the Prime Minister. Headline photo (Stock image).
i want to SEE some action … not read words!!
Fix SLU’s judicial system.
Fix SLU’s prison status.
Fix SLU’s policing status.
No need to re-invent the wheel as the facts are well known, we need to enforce the established laws and measures. Good governance is for everyone and its our civic duty to keep ourselves informed – we encourage everyone to read documents that are readily available online from reputable sources – you will find it fascinating!
United States Department of State
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Excerpt for St Lucia below – page 180
St. Lucia’s main sources of revenue are tourism and the offshore banking sector. It has a diverse manufacturing sector, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. St. Lucia is a transit point for illegal drugs going toward the United States and Europe.
VULNERABILITIES AND EXPECTED TYPOLOGIES
Money laundering in St. Lucia primarily relates to drug trafficking. Illicit drug trafficking by organized crime rings and the laundering of drug proceeds by domestic and foreign criminal elements remain serious problems for St. Lucia. It is believed financial institutions unwittingly engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics trafficking proceeds. St. Lucia’s Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), its FIU, detected these new trends: large cash deposits in accounts followed by immediate withdrawals; large euro currency cash conversions; inter-account transfers without any economic rationale between related accounts either controlled by an individual or through associates; and purchase of real estate with cash and then resale.
According to St. Lucia authorities, the narcotics trade is the main source of illicit funds. These illicit proceeds are usually laundered through structured deposits and currency exchanges in the financial system. Illicit proceeds also enter the financial system through some ostensibly legitimate business operations.
St. Lucia has an offshore banking sector, which is supervised by the Financial Sector Supervision Unit of the Ministry of Finance. Onshore domestic banks are supervised by the
Caribbean Central Bank. St. Lucia also has a FTZ where investors can establish businesses and conduct trade and commerce outside of the National Customs territory. Activities may be conducted entirely within the zone or between the St. Lucia free zone and foreign countries.
St. Lucia launched an economic citizenship program (CIP) in October 2015, but changed its fees and regulations in January 2016. An individual can obtain citizenship for a minimum donation to the National Economic Fund of U.S. $100,000 per applicant, U.S. $165,000 for an applicant and spouse, or U.S. $190,000 for a family of up to four persons. Investment options include a U.S. $300,000 minimum purchase in real estate, a U.S. $3.5 million investment in an approved project, or a U.S. $500,000 purchase of government bonds (increasing to U.S. $550,000 for a family of four). Investment applicants must pay government fees of U.S. $50,000 and up, depending on the number of dependents. Applicants also pay due diligence fees of U.S. $7,500 per main applicant and U.S. $5,000 for each additional applicant over 16 years of age. Application for economic citizenship must be made through a government-approved local agent. An in-person interview is not required. Applicants must make a source of funds declaration and provide evidence supporting the declaration. The government established a Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) to manage the screening and application process. The CIU does not maintain adequate autonomy from politicians to prevent political interference in its decisions. U.S. law enforcement also is increasingly concerned about the expansion of these programs due to the exposure to local corruption and the visa-free travel and ability to open bank accounts accorded these individuals.
KEY AML LAWS AND REGULATIONS
St. Lucia has comprehensive KYC rules.
There is a Tax Information Exchange Agreement between the Governments of St. Lucia and the United States.
St. Lucia is a member of the CFATF, a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent MER can be found at: https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/index.php/documents/cfatf-mutual-evaluation- reports/saint-lucia-1.
There remains a substantial black market for smuggled goods in St. Lucia, mostly gold, silver, and other jewelry, predominantly smuggled from Guyana. There is a black market in high- quality jewelry purchased from duty free establishments in St. Lucia by both local and foreign consumers. Monies suspected to be derived from drug trafficking and other illicit enterprises are filtered into and washed through trading firms. TBML is evident in St. Lucia.
ENFORCEMENT/IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS
St. Lucia authorities state that there was sufficient progress with regard to the prosecution of money laundering offenses under the Money Laundering Prevention Act and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime in accordance with the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
successful enforcement of the laws is a result of enhanced interagency cooperation among the Police, FIA, Customs, and the Public Prosecutions Office. For the period January to October 2017, a total of 17 persons were charged with the offense of money laundering, resulting in seven convictions with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment. For the period January to October 2017, a total of 24 cash seizures totaled more than U.S. $1.8 million.
The Customs and Excise Department is routinely confronted by false declarations, false invoicing, and fraudulent evasion of duties and taxes on goods.
Law enforcement and customs authorities should be given training on how to recognize and combat trade-based value transfer, which could be indicative of both customs fraud and money laundering. The Government of St. Lucia should improve investigative capacity within the police and courts to prosecute cash seizure and forfeiture cases expeditiously and successfully.
The government should ensure its CIP is adequately supervised and monitored to prevent its abuse by criminals.
Operative word: “FIX” … Meaning: “ENFORCE” … and “ENSURE” …