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Saint Lucia Government, Opposition Concerned Over International Demands On Small States

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In a rare show of agreement in Saint Lucia’s House of Parliament, the Government of Saint Lucia and the Opposition have raised concerns over stringent demands set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)—an international money laundering and financial watchdog.

During a debate on the United Nations Sanctions Amendment and the Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bills on July 19, both sides agreed that regulations being imposed on small nation states are onerous, and leaves no option but to comply.

Prime Minister Hon. Phillip J. Pierre said non-compliance can lead to the country being “black- listed.”

One area of concern for the prime minister was a demand that citizens disclose to local banks the source of their foreign currency.

The prime minister explained the difficulty with such a demand within the local traditional context.

“It is intimidating. For example, say a single mother from Choiseul goes to the bank with money she’s saved, because her children are working abroad in the US and they send her money that she saved over time. She goes to the bank with US$2000 and the bank tells her to fill out a source of funds. She may not even understand the meaning of source of funds.”

He said the legislation is necessary, but expressed frustration with the constant demand for banking and financial regulations. He said small states are being placed in positions where they can’t win.

“When the credit unions make it easier, we now want to regulate credit unions. How can we develop our people if everything we try, we are facing impediments—impediments on bananas; impediments on sugar cane; and for tourism you get warnings.”

The prime minister observed that regulations for small states do not apply to developed countries. He cited the once flourishing financial services sector in Barbados which is now almost dormant, adding: “meanwhile financial services are flourishing in Delaware, in the United States.”

Opposition parliamentarian, Hon. Bradley Felix, acknowledged the seriousness of increasing pressure on small states, warning that there is more to come.

Referencing an ultimatum given to Jamaica over a diplomatic spat with the US, Felix said we are all heading there.

He called for a united effort by Caribbean countries to combat increasing international demands.

“This is a discussion that we need to start early,” he said.

The United Nations Sanctions (Counter-Proliferation Financing) Amendment strengthens measures against money laundering and the Proceeds of Crime Amendment authorizes the confiscation of assets obtained through criminal activity.

Headline photo: Stock image.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Pip is a joke! When given an opportunity to voice his grievances against empires, past and present, on the global stage of the UN, he always sides with his very oppressors. The only time he is not grinning at them is while his mouth is agape to receive whatever is being forced down his throat by massa…go hide your face, boy!

  2. Being a small economy does not preclude us from transparency and from investigation and prosecution of corruption and money laundering. That is the point of FATF. All leaders in St. Lucia must come to term with this new reality.

  3. Isn’t this WHY there is an Eastern Caribbean Currency Bank (ECCB) and a Caribbean Confederate of Credit Unions (CCCU) who SHOULD BE the administrative bodies taking in front of the International money lenders to fight for the “small states”? Instead of governments trying to fight those international almighty powers island by island or country by country – let these organisations fight the international money mongers – sorry – lenders!! Let the other Caribbean countries with their own dollars fight for themselves or through the CCCU. My understanding is … that is one of the reasons why the Caribbean has the ECCB and the CCCU are established.

  4. @Anonymous … ALL leaders in the Caribbean have come to terms, that is one of the reason for the FATF. I get the impression that our leaders are ignorant of their role and the FATF.

  5. @Lab: You don’t get it; you’re just looking for an escape route for your party leader!

    Here’s the situation: It’s the part of the rules-based order your government signed up for; the price to be paid for the dubious honor of laying at the foot of massa’s dinner table, waiting for any scraps to fall your way.

    In other words: Rules for thee and not for me! The US bankers & the “City of London” bankers are the biggest sharks in the cesspool of off-shore banking for money laundering purposes. The rules laid down for St. Lucia & the like are expressly applied to them so they don’t even get a taste/smell of the fetid waters in massa’s money tank.

    Every now and again, a few sprats are thrown CARICOM’s way, in the name of regional security against illegal activity in the region, mostly for drug smuggling & gun-running (the CIA is the alpha predator in this domain; you don’t want to meddle in their affairs). This has the aim of keeping CARICOM’s nose out of massa’s most lucrative endeavor, money laundering, a most violence-free, white collar crime!

  6. @LAB… You are correct. That is what concerns me – “our leaders are ignorant of their role”. I would also add ignorant of their role in negotiations, nation building, and law and order. Unfortunately, that is indicative of all our institutions with exceptions to very few individuals.

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