THE HAGUE–The liberal democratic VVD party and the Christian Democratic Party CDA are seeking clarity on St. Maarten’s reluctance to adopt anti-money-laundering legislation and the threat of a blockade of international monetary traffic based on reports from the Financial Action task Force (FATF).
Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Chris van Dam (CDA) and André Bosman and Roald van der Linde (both VVD) on Wednesday and Thursday respectively submitted written questions to Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra and State Secretary Raymond Knops.
It was reported in the media earlier this week that FATF would take measures against St. Maarten if the St. Maarten Parliament did not quickly adopt legislation to combat money-laundering and that FATF would call on countries to block international monetary transfers with the commercial banks in St. Maarten.
The members of the Dutch Parliament asked if these reports were true and what the consequences would be for St. Maarten residents, and by extension people living in St. Eustatius and Saba as these islands depend on the services of the commercial banks in St. Maarten.
“Is it true that St. Maarten needs to adopt six laws before September to prevent these measures? If so, is St. Maarten able to achieve this in time?” asked Van Dam.
“Can you provide a summary and a timeline of the anti-money-laundering legislation that has not been implemented as yet?” Bosman and Van der Linde wanted to know.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) also inquired about media reports that money was being laundered via the casinos in St. Maarten.
“What measures are being taken considering that St. Maarten is an international centre for laundering of profits from the trafficking of drugs, human beings and weapons via the casinos and that these proceeds are transferred to organisations that are linked to terrorism?” asked Van Dam.
Bosman and Van der Linde asked Hoekstra and Knops to give an indication of the money-laundering actions in St. Maarten. “Do you agree that it is a shame that the St. Maarten government doesn’t seem to take the combating of criminal proceeds and money-laundering seriously? How do you view the political reluctance in St. Maarten to implement anti-money-laundering legislation?”
Bosman and Van der Linde further enquired whether there was a connection between corruption and the St. Maarten Parliament’s reluctance to adopt anti-money-laundering legislation. They asked why some St. Maarten MPs did not show up for the meeting to adopt this legislation.
The VVD MPs urged Hoekstra and Knops to discuss the matter with the St. Maarten government and to make sure that the anti-money-laundering legislation was implemented as soon as possible.