SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Government has submitted three draft National Ordinances to Parliament for approval, that if not passed can place St. Maarten on the list of high-risk or non-cooperative jurisdiction. Those laws awaiting approval are as follows:
- The National Ordinance to amend the National Ordinance obligation to report cross-border money transfers;
- The National Ordinance to combat money laundering and terrorism financing;
- The National Ordinance Meldpunt Ongebruikelijke Transacties;
The fact that Sint Maarten is not in compliance with the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations may lead to a public statement that can be issued by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) plenary meetings which will take place next May in Trinidad & Tobago. To prevent this, Government has worked on the amendment of the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws to prevent the issuance of a public statement.
This, because a public statement places a country on the list of high-risk or non-cooperative jurisdictions due to its non-compliance with the 40 recommendations of the FATF. This would obligate 205 member-countries and -jurisdictions of the FATF to monitor and if deemed necessary, sever all financial relations with that country within a period of six months to a year; to protect their financial systems. This would be devastating for Sint Maarten’s financial and socio-economic system.
These laws are not partisan and are solely for the general interest of St. Maarten – locally, regionally and internationally. Should any member of parliament have any reservation -after having the additional time to review these laws – I ask that their objections be reflected in amendments to the laws rather than voting against them- with the clear understanding of the consequences of their actions and the negative impact it will have on our economy.
After everything that St. Maarten has been through since the passing of hurricane Irma we cannot, and our economy cannot afford any negative listing. Many of us would or should have taken note of Aruba and the Netherlands being listed and the consequences are still to follow, a situation that we should all avoid.
The ministry looks forward to the rescheduling of the meeting in order to meet our deadlines and ensure that the translation of the legislation takes place within the window of opportunity.