The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General of El Salvador and The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Commonwealth of The Bahamas.In another forward thinking move which is becoming the hallmark of The Bahamas’ leadership of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Madam Chair Allyson Maynard Gibson, Attorney General the Commonwealth of The Bahamas hosted the First Annual Regional Anti Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Conference on April 2-3, 2014 at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel Nassau, The Bahamas.

The result was the Nassau Re-Affirmation on Anti Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Financing. 

This Conference provided national authorities in all CFATF Members with pertinent information on how to successfully undertake the Fourth Round of Mutual Evaluations which will begin in January 2015 and to achieve the goal of at least seventy five (75) percent compliance with the FATF Recommendations. The event was attended by high ranking Ministerial officials, Attorneys General and designated Representatives who embraced this challenge positively.

The issues included among others, the need for all CFATF Members to develop a serious approach to educating all regional stakeholders including the private sector, on the importance of the Fourth Round of Mutual Evaluations, the critical role of the National Risk Assessments as well as the Technical Assistance and Training Programmes for Secretariat staff, Mutual Evaluation Examiners and national stakeholders that are vital to achieving a high level of compliance with the revised FATF Recommendations.

Opening Remarks were delivered by the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, whose presence underscored the importance of this regional dialogue on the Fourth Round of Mutual Evaluations and the critical necessity of the Governments of each and every CFATF Member signaling to our international partners, the commitment at the highest political levels, to provide adequate human and financial resources for the Mutual Evaluation Programme.

In another significant development, Prime Minister Christie announced his readiness to undertake the very important commitment of being a patron to the CFATF, championing its work within CARICOM and around the world, strengthening its relationship with other Regional Bodies such as CARICOM and ensuring an adequate flow of resources so that the CFATF could do its work effectively. See Opening Remarks here. Remarks by Rt. Hon. Perry Christie

In keeping with the close working relationship between the CFATF and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Madam Chair Maynard Gibson extended a special invitation to Mr. Vladimir Nechaev, President, FATF, her co-parent of this Conference who delivered the Keynote Address.

President Nechaev spoke about the FATF Mandate, its strong partnership with the CFATF, its relationship with the Private Sector, and the importance of complying with FATF Standards. For speech delivered click here. http://www.fatf-gafi.org/pages/aboutus/fatfpresidency/

The Commonwealth Secretariat is a founder CFATF Observer Organisation and has contributed significant financial resources to the growth and development of the CFATF with regard to strengthening AML/CFT capacity in the Caribbean Basin Region.

The CFATF owes the Commonwealth Secretariat a considerable debt of gratitude and a Special Address was delivered by Legal Advisor, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, on behalf of Ms. Katalaina Sapolu, Director, Legal & Constitutional Division, which highlighted the longstanding relationship between both organizations and the mechanisms by which such close collaboration could continue during the Fourth Round of Assessments and beyond.

Jefferson Clarke, Law Enforcement Advisor at the CFATF SecretariatThe Caribbean Criminal Assets Recovery Programme (CCARP) are organising a conference for Lead Financial Investigators and Prosecutors, which is to be held in the Fort Young Hotel in Dominica during April 9-10 2014.

The main themes of the conference are money laundering prosecutions and the preparation of a ‘Prosecutor’s Statement’ for confiscation. Participants will come from twenty jurisdictions, with eighteen CFATF Members invited to attend along with attendees   from Martinique and United States of America.

Jefferson Clarke, Law Enforcement Advisor at the CFATF Secretariat has been invited to attend this conference to make a presentation on the CFATF Training and Accreditation Programme which is intended to deliver five training modules for the benefit of two hundred and seven (207) Financial Investigators, Financial Analysts and Supervisors at Regional Financial Intelligence Units.  

The aim of this three year project which is funded by the European Union is to ensure that participation by these officials, all of whom will be working in country and regionally, will facilitate the improved quality in the filing of suspicious transaction reports, improved quality of financial intelligence and information through effective analysis and data matching, encourage the use of financial investigative tools, and enhance exchange of financial information and intelligence and cooperation as standard activity in the investigation of serious crimes.

CCARP is based in Barbados and has a mandate to build effective financial investigation capacity in financial intelligence units in select Caribbean jurisdictions.

The ultimate goal of the CCARP and the CFATF initiatives is to deprive criminal gangs of their illegally obtained wealth.

 The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General of El SalvadorTo the unanimous approval and the warmest applause of the Council of Ministers, The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General was elected to perform the duties of the Deputy Chair of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) on behalf of El Salvador, for the period November 2013- November 2014.

“As Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador, I feel very honored by this important appointment to such a respectable body as the CFATF” noted The Honourable Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez”.

El Salvador has always held the CFATF in high esteem. By letter to the CFATF Plenary dated January 13th 2003, Honourable Belisario Artiga Artiga, Attorney General, Republic of El Salvador, outlined his country’s interest in becoming a member of the CFATF, which was presented to the Panama City, Panama Plenary in March 2003, by the then Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit.

At that stage El Salvador was already a member of EGMONT and presented to the CFATF Plenary a clear picture of a jurisdiction that was at an advanced stage of building a robust anti-money laundering framework consistent with international standards.

At the Council of Minister Meeting in Antigua and Barbuda on October 23rd 2003, The Honourable Belisario Artiga Artiga signed the memorandum of Understanding and El Salvador was formally and warmly welcomed as the thirtieth member of the CFATF family of nations.

Fast forward to August 2013, Deputy Chair Luis Martinez Gonzalez pledged that he “will assume the post with the confidence that El Salvador will work hand in hand with Madame Chair Allyson Maynard Gibson, and assured the Ministers that he will do everything in my power “to carry out all actions that the position demands of me, with great enthusiasm and fortitude”

In response to Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez’s generosity of spirit, Madame Chair Maynard Gibson  confirmed that “In implementing my Eleven Point Action Plan, I will have the valuable support of Deputy Chair the Honourable Senor Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General, El Salvador who, with the support of all our Spanish speaking Members in Central and South America, will act as the bridge between the CFATF and the Members of our sister FATF Style Regional Body, GAFISUD with whom we have had and will continue to have, strong and fruitful cooperation in terms of translating documents, participating in Mutual  Evaluation Missions, undertaking Joint Typology Exercises and engaging jointly in outreach to relevant national and international organisations operating in our hemisphere.”

One project that will immediately attract the attention and energies of Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez will be to explore with GAFISUD, the furthering of an idea advocated by Executive Director Wilson at the April 2013 Doha, Qatar meeting between EGMONT and the Secretariats of the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies, for the establishment of a Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum for the Americas.

This proposed Forum for the Americas will be modelled on the successful CFATF Heads of FIUs Forum and which is being currently considered as a model for the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum with the FATF.

In pursuit of this hemispheric wide agenda particularly as it relates to identifying new methods and trends being used by trans-national organized crime, Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez, demonstrating an acute insight into and appreciation of this pernicious saga, noted that “Money laundering, worldwide makes crime profitable, by allowing criminals to hide and legitimize profits from illegal activities, -these illicit funds allow them to finance a variety of other criminal activities, - more so, it is worrisome that this illicit practice corrodes the economy and governments, it promotes corruption, it distorts economic decision making, it aggravates social problems, it threatens the integrity of financial institutions  and strikes at the development of the population.”

“It is very reassuring to share leadership responsibilities of the CFATF with a partner who is as knowledgeable, passionate and committed to the protection of the Caribbean Basin Region as Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez,” said Madame Chair Maynard Gibson, I am extremely confident, she continued, “that the future of our organization is in very safe hands”

GAFIC & GAFISUD together in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financingCFATF Members Guatemala and Honduras in the pioneering spirit of the Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, current CFATF Chair, lead the way by becoming members of GAFISUD and holding dual membership in both the CFATF and GAFISUD.

The FATF in October 2013 launched a novel initiative which encourages countries that are located in the geographic, cultural or linguistic periphery of more than one FATF Style Regional Body (FSRB) to consider becoming a member of more than one FSRB.  

CFATF Members Guatemala and Honduras have all accomplished that and this now opens the way for dialogue between CFATF and GAFISUD for the development of a strategy that will reinforce the mutual presence of each organization in the other, by encouraging dual membership and enhancing cooperation by holding regular joint meetings.

The new FATF policy is designed to reinforce the global AML/CFT network as it allows countries to share experiences from one body to another. In this regard this should be easily implemented as both CFATF and GAFISUD who already have mutual Observer Status have been cooperating on an operational level for several years such as jointly translating the Revised FATF Recommendations 2012 and Mr. Esteban Fullin, the current GAFISUD Executive Secretary, led the CFATF Third round Mutual Evaluation Mission to Venezuela.

The forerunner to this FATF initiative was the FATF Ad Hoc Group for the Americas which was established around 2001 after the creation of GAFISUD, as a forum where FATF members were able to meet with the Secretariats of CFATF and GAFISUD to discuss issues relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The first Chair of the FATF Ad Hoc Group for the Americas was Ms. Adrienne de Senna Nelson, Brazil, who was very instrumental in the establishment of close working relations between CFATF and GAFISUD and her efforts were rewarded with, among other things, the organization of a joint Terrorist Financing Typology Exercise between the CFATF and GAFISUD, on the margins of the CFATF April 2002 Plenary Meeting in Tobago.

Mr. Fernando Rosado, first GAFISUD Executive Secretary in his report on GAFISUD activities to the CFATF Tobago Plenary meeting, expressed his gratitude for the help and support that was extended by the CFATF Secretariat even before the birth of GAFSUD through the sharing of official documents which assisted with establishing the founding documents of GAFISUD.

Underscoring the message of hemispheric cooperation, Executive Secretary Rosado noted that both the CFATF and GAFISUD Secretariat were in regular conversation with each other, sharing ideas and exploring the preparation of joint plans for the future.

These future plans included an open invitation to attend and the acceptance and presence of GAFISUD Members at CFATF Plenary and Heads of CFATF Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum meetings.

And at the Second CFATF Forum, FIU Heads benefited from the experiences of FIUs in South America in engendering closer co-operation and were provided with an insight into the pace of developments in that region. Additionally, CFATF FIUs were invited to an Open House at the Colombian FIU.

The long standing and constructive history of CFATF/GAFISUD co-operation continues to the present day as both CFATF Executive Director Calvin Wilson and GAFISUD Executive Secretary Esteban Fullin have fostered excellent working relations and recently jointly shared the platform as Presenters on the FATF Standards and Methodology, at an Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Workshop at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington on November 15th 2013.

CFATF Deputy Chair the Honourable Senor Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General, El Salvador has been mandated to explore with GAFISUD, the establishment of a Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum for the Americas, which will be modelled on the successful CFATF Heads of FIUs Forum and which is being currently considered as a model for the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum with the FATF.

GAFISUD Members are also invited to attend the CFATF Workshop on the preparation of National Risk Assessments which will be held in Honduras during January 16-17, 2014 in Honduras.

All of which augurs well for the future dialogue for the development of a CFATF/GAFISUD strategy for ongoing cooperation and support which should include a joint approach to the international donor community for funding to facilitate the participation of GAFISUD members in the three year Euros 1.2 Million project for the training of Financial Investigators, Analysts and Supervisors at Financial Intelligence Units which should commence during the second quarter of 2014.   

Madame Chair The Honourable Allyson Maynard GibsonOn accepting the baton of leadership of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for a second time in eleven years, The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, launched an Eleven Point Action Plan, that will principally encourage the ongoing strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism regimes (AML/CFT) across the Caribbean Basin Region, so that CFATF members through enhanced collaboration, communication and co-operation will successfully achieve the goal of at least seventy five (75) percent compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.

“These are very exciting times for the CFATF and indeed for the global AML/CFT network” Madame Chair Maynard Gibson who engaged in a wide ranging interview with CFATF News, at the close of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting, which was held in Freeport, The Bahamas, during November  17-21 2013.
“Our organization has been warmly commended by current FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev” continued Maynard Gibson “who graciously attended our Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting.

Madame Chair Maynard Gibson confirmed that in delivering his Special Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting, President Nechaev, to the delight of the membership noted that “I am able to state without a doubt that CFATF should now be perceived as one of the best in its class”

“This is a critically important accolade for the Caribbean Basin Region and the CFATF will be forever grateful for the fearless leadership of the then CFATF Chair, Mrs Ersilia de Lannooy, who in assessing the parlous state of the organisation’s finances, and with the expertise of her position as Minister of Finance, Netherlands Antilles  as it then was, issued a call for urgent and immediate corrective action by the membership and set in motion an ambitious and intrusive three programme of introspection, reflection and reform that irrevocably changed the psychology, organizational structures and achievements of the CFATF” Maynard Gibson continued.

“The delivery of a Special Address by FATF Presidents at the Opening Ceremony of CFATF Plenary Meetings has been a longstanding and ongoing tradition, which is indicative of the high esteem and importance that the CFATF places on its partnership with the FATF”, noted Madame Chair Maynard Gibson, and “We value the considerable and direct input that Mr. Richard Berkhout, Policy Advisor, FATF Secretariat and representatives of the CFATF Group of Co-operating and Supporting Nations (COSUNs), namely Canada, France, Mexico, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States of America, have all had, in partnering with the CFATF throughout the reform process.”

“The achievements of the CFATF over the past three years would not have been possible without the steadfast support of former Chairmen The Honourable Samuel Bulgin QC, Attorney General, Cayman Islands, Mr. Manuel Gonzalez, Advisor, International Relations, Oficina Nacional Anti Drogas, Venezuela and Immediate Past Chairman Mr. Cherno S Jallow QC, Director, Policy Development and Research, Financial Services Commission, Virgin Islands, who all embraced and implemented the call for change as part of their individual Work Programmes.” Maynard Gibson recognized. During her interview with CFATF News, Honourable Attorney General Maynard Gibson also made the following observations.

Indeed FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev in extending these encouraging words of congratulations also thanked and especially praised all former Chairs for their leadership for the results of the reform process.

Sentiments that were presaged along the way by former FATF President Mr. Giancarlo Del Bufalo who, in November 2011, “ congratulated the CFATF on the work it had undertaken to improve its performance which were seen as good steps in the right direction and the foundation for a better and stronger organization”.

Similarly in November 2012, FATF President Mr. Bjorn Aamo “congratulated the CFATF for results which will not only be of benefit to the global AML/CFT network but which will also benefit CFATF Members the most. He noted that the CFATF had come a long way and should be able and proud to market our achievements in this area to other parts of the world”

In keeping with President Aamo’s theme, FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev in delivering his Special Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the CFATF Thirty Eight Plenary Meeting in November 2013, noted that “The FATF should be able to take into account the work that the CFATF is undertaking to increase the level of compliance of its members through the CFATF International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). The CFATF ICRG is a good example for other FATF Style Regional Bodies to follow.”

FATF President Mr. Vladimir Nechaev’s assessment that “the CFATF should now be perceived as one of the best in its class” should be viewed within the context of the unprecedented access and insight that he, as well as President Mr. Giancarlo Del Bufalo and President Mr. Bjorn Aamo, has and would have had, as Presidents of the FATF as standard setter and protector of the FATF brand.     

The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson emphasized that, “It is also important to note that the CFATF Council of Ministers kept a firm and watchful eye on the implementation of the reform agenda and mandated that the CFATF should not rest on its laurels but that the search for organizational efficiencies should be an ongoing enterprise”, “It is therefore with this Ministerial mandate in mind and with a view to building on the achievements of the past and importantly contributing to the growth and development of the global AML/CFT network, comprising the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies, that a significant if not the central aspect of my Eleven Point Action Plan will boldly embrace cutting edge information technology that will revolutionize the entire AML/CFT Mutual Evaluation process.”

“The CFATF Vision 2022 platform will allow countries to begin the preparatory stages for the on-site visits way in advance of the arrival of the Teams of Assessors, give early access for review and guidance of these efforts, to AML/CFT experts from the CFATF as well as  those from the FATF Secretariat, FATF Members, Secretariats and Members of other FATF Style Regional Bodies, EGMONT, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and relevant agencies of the United Nations such as the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate.”

“The Vision 2022 platform will expedite the consultative mechanism between the Countries being assessed, the Assessment Teams, the global AML/CFT community and the CFATF Secretariat, all working simultaneously in one document to draft, finalize and present high quality Mutual Evaluation Reports for discussion in Plenary.”
“The potential savings in terms of human and financial resources will be enormous because this process will be applicable to all aspects of the CFATF’s operations and has the potential to significantly increase organizational efficiency and reduce operational costs.

“We will encourage our colleagues in the global AML/CFT network to support our efforts as we roll out this information technology tool in the coming months.”

“My Eleven Point Plan of Action will also include the hosting by The Bahamas of the first of a Caribbean Basin Region wide Conference to be held annually, for public sector officials and private sector executives and representatives to share and exchange developments in financial services, including the creation of a pool of Regional Experts and share resources.”

“This first annual Conference to be held in the first quarter of 2014, will feature a Special Caucus by Heads of Governments and States in the Caribbean Basin Region with a view to securing expressions of support at the highest political levels, for the work of the CFATF, and the provision of the required human and financial resources both to the CFATF Secretariat as well as to national efforts to strengthen human capacity and build and implement robust AML/CFT regimes”

“In implementing my Eleven Point Action Plan, I will have the valuable support of Deputy Chair the Honourable Senor Luis Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, Attorney General, El Salvador who, with the support of all our Spanish speaking Members in Central and South America, will act as the bridge between the CFATF and the Members of our sister FATF Style Regional Body, GAFISUD with whom we have had and will continue to have, strong and fruitful cooperation in terms of translating documents, participating in Mutual  Evaluation Missions, undertaking Joint Typology Exercises and engaging jointly in outreach to relevant national and international organisations operating in our hemisphere.”

“In this regard Deputy Chair Martinez Gonzalez will work with me to explore with GAFISUD the furthering of an idea advocated by Executive Director Wilson at the April 2013 Doha, Qatar meeting between EGMONT and the Secretariats of the FATF and FATF Style Regional Bodies, for the establishment of a Heads of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) Forum for the Americas, which will be modelled on the successful CFATF Heads of FIUs Forum and which is being currently considered as a model for the establishment of a similar Heads of FIUs Forum with the FATF.”

To read the full text of Address by The Honourable Allyson Maynard Gibson Incoming CFATF Chair 2013