Nevis serious on combating money laundering and terrorist financing, says top Finance Official

Facilitators for the Anti-Money Laundering Awareness/Combating Terrorist Financing Awareness Seminar seated at the head table. (L-R) Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Mrs. Jacqueline Somersall-Berry, Legal Counsel in the NIA Ms. Heidi-Lynn Sutton, Director of The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy in Antigua and Barbuda Lt. Colonel Edward Croft with Regulator Ms. Patricia Reid-Waugh

NEVIS (February 05, 2010) — A top Official in the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) Ministry of Finance, reminded practitioners that it was exceedingly serious about combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Permanent Secretary of Finance on Nevis Mr. Laurie Lawrence made the statement on Tuesday at an Anti-Money Laundering Awareness/Combating Terrorist Financing Awareness Seminar for a cross section of practitioners hosted by the Nevis Financial Services Regulation and Supervision Department at Pinneys.

“This matter we take seriously and as such, we will continue our efforts to improve both the legal and regulatory infrastructure. We will continue our efforts to meet international standards, to pursue international cooperation, to focus on education and training.

“We will continue to discuss and share information at forums like these with service providers, practitioners because we want to ensure that we in Nevis are on the cutting edge of technology and knowledge,” he said.

Mr. Lawrence contended that the landscape was a changing one and therefore, they had to work hard to stay abreast with the changes taking place in both the local and international environments.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance on Nevis Mr. Laurie Lawrence

He said it was important that all remained vigilante and watchful because of the constantly changing environment.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the NIA continued to adhere to the ever changing prescribed international standards and continued to improve the regulatory structure and implement risk based assessments.

“We have started that process with the passage of the following legislations: Money Services Business Act, 2008 which will govern the licensing and regulation of all money value business; The Insurance Act, 2009, which repeals the 1968 Act and includes the IAIS Principles for the regulation, licensing and monitoring of insurance entities [and] the Financial Services Regulatory Commission Bill, 2009.

“The purpose of this Bill is to establish a single regulatory unit to license and regulate providers of non bank financial services in both St. Kitts and Nevis. These include Credit Unions, Development Banks, Real Estate Brokers, Money Management Services Business and Non Profit Companies,” he said.

However, Nevis would continue to collect its revenue and contribute to the budget of the Commission and will also retain the right to grant licenses.

Seminar participants

In the near future, Mr Lawrence further explained, the Cooperative Societies Bill to improve the regulation of the Credit Unions will be passed.

A number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) were to be signed that would improve transparency and cooperation in tax matters.

“We have already signed nine of these agreements with New Zealand, Netherland Antilles, Aruba, Belgium, Denmark, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Norway and the United Kingdom. We are hoping to sign with Germany, France, Australia and the Nordic Countries during this year. This will give us the number 12 to graduate us from the grey list to the white,” he said.

Constant revision and revitalisation was ongoing in the areas of legislation and strategies and efforts in the area of International Cooperation would be stepped up.

“We also have to continue to improve knowledge and skills and strategic planning, we want to be on the cutting edge… We need to start to plan and move in a different mode so we could think ahead, plan ahead and try to predict the changes and what is happening in the environment and make adjustments accordingly.

“There is no doubt that our survival will depend on our ability to adapt to the new order. We have to improve infrastructure, use standards expected by global regulators and respond speedily to the needs of the market,” he said.

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