Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Law of Offshore
Anti-Money Laundering Legislation
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as a result of substantive legislative and administrative review over the past few years, has an anti money-laundering regime that is on a par with the highest of international standards. The FATF has recognized the substantial progress made by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in this regard. The following are some of the laws introduced to combat money laundering and terrorist financing:
- The Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act (PCMLP) 2001, came into force on December 26, 2001. The PCMLP criminalizes the laundering of the proceeds of serious crime. It creates an obligation to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit. It imposes a record keeping and recording requirement for a wide range of financial institutions and relevant businesses. The PCMLP (section 48) also provides for the National Anti Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC).
- The Proceeds of Crime Money Laundering Regulations (the Regulations) 2002 set out the record keeping and reporting requirements of regulated institutions in detail.
- The Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2001 governs the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is primarily responsible for the processing of suspicious activity reports. It is also responsible for informing financial institutions of their obligations under the PCMLP. The FIU comprises a Director, a lawyer, an accountant, three police officers, three customs officers, a consultant/technical advisor, and support staff.
The FIU, which began operations on May 6, 2002 has developed into a model organization, both in terms of resources and results. As a result of this, in March 2003 its membership into the Egmont Group was approved.
Another significant area of progress that Saint Vincent boasts is in the establishment of a National Anti Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC). The NAMLC has been very active in organizing educational seminars both for financial institutions and for the judiciary, the magistracy and crown prosecutors. The NAMLC has hosted most of these seminars in conjunction with the Caribbean Anti Money Laundering Programme (CALP). As a result of the work of the NAMLC there is a very high level of awareness, in particular among the financial sector in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, of the obligations of the AML regime and the importance of giving effect to it.
In June, 2006, parliament enacted amendments to the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Act, 2002 and the Financial Intelligence Unit Act, 2001 to ensure compliance with recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) which stipulated that financial institutions should be compelled to report all suspicious activity related to terrorism to the Financial Intelligence Unit.