Through the efforts of the Regional Security System’s Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU) some US $26.8 million of criminal assets have been identified and restrained, while approximately 120 money-laundering investigations are being undertaken.
This was brought to the fore during a plaque unveiling ceremony at the RSS’ Fusion Centre at Paragon, Christ Church, which was held to mark the transition of the RSS ARU from a UK-funded project to an integrated department of the RSS.
British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Her Excellency Janet Douglas, lauded the department for its work in ensuring that criminals are not allowed to keep the illicit gains of their criminal activities.
She also noted that with the ARU’s achievements came the realisation that it was necessary for the RSS to assume responsibility for the ARU’s operations.
“I want to commend Captain Errington Shurland, Executive Director of the RSS, for his governance and stewardship over the ARU since its formation in December 2015. I must also commend his team for their hard work and personal commitment to the growth and sustainability of the ARU.
“The simple fact that the RSS Member States took on responsibility for the ARU, demonstrates its perceived value and importance to the region. We are proud of the contribution that the former UK Department for International Development (DFID) made towards this vital work on asset recovery across the Eastern Caribbean. We look forward to the continuation of a close partnership between the RSS and the UK under the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO),” the British High Commissioner maintained.
With reports showing that US $7.5 million has been forfeited by the courts and an additional US $4.5 million has been seized and is in the court process, the RSS ARU continues to exceed its performance targets and make its stamp on the fight against serious organized crime and corruption.
Through the years, the RSS ARU has worked to build capacity and capability within regional law enforcement agencies and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).
It has provided mentoring on live cases; facilitated training for law enforcement and criminal justice practitioners in financial investigations and asset recovery; raised awareness of the magistracy and judiciary; regularly engaged with and provided advice to stakeholders; advocated for and aided in the implementation of standardised and updated Proceeds of Crime legislation across the seven RSS Member States.