PHILIPSBURG–Several Members of Parliament (MPs) on both sides of the aisle are not convinced that the pending draft law containing rules to prevent and combat money-laundering and terrorist-financing in response to the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are in the best interest of the country.
MPs Franklin Meyers (United Democrats) and Christophe Emmanuel (National Alliance) were the most vocal.
In their questioning of Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever and representatives of the Financial Intelligence Unit MOT and the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS), both MPs indicated that financial transactions in the country are becoming more and more cumbersome, to the extent that banks are dropping clients they consider high risks, such as Robbie dos Santos of Robbie’s Lottery.
The draft law seeks to bring the country up to date legislatively in the combating of terrorism-financing and money-laundering. It addresses a series of legislative and administrative shortcomings that put the country at risk of being used by criminal organisations.
The second draft law that was before Parliament in Wednesday’s Central Committee meeting contained rules the country needs in order to comply with FATF’s recommendation 29 concerning financial intelligence units. The law seeks to give the MOT more scope to do its work without interference from outside forces.
Meyers has indicated that he intends to submit a note of change to the second draft law when it is tabled in a plenary sitting of Parliament for approval. He did not outline what his amendment will entail, but based on his strong stance about MOT’s workings and its impact on numerous persons and businesses in the community it is expected his proposed change will be along those lines.
St. Maarten originally had until March 1 to pass the needed legislation. However, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has extended the deadline to the end of March, De Weever told Parliament.
Parliament’s failure to pass the two pending laws could result in CFATF and the global FATF listing St. Maarten as a country that has an unsafe financial structure. That would mean doing business in and with St. Maarten would be flagged as high risk for investors and for the regular residents.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/85602-some-mps-still-on-fence-about-fiu-law-changes