The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in a statement on Tuesday, called on European Union (EU) member states to reject the European Commission’s (EC) latest blacklist published almost two weeks ago.
The EC’s latest list is of countries it contends has strategic anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies.
The Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica were added to that list on May 7.
CARICOM’s statement explained that the EC was wrong for not informing – against their own established protocols – the listed countries that they were being considered.
“Impacted countries were neither informed nor consulted prior to this month’s publication,” the CARICOM statement pointed out.
“The commission’s unilateral actions are, therefore, contrary to the principles of transparency and consultation reflected in the council’s conclusion, as well as its own assertions about its revised methodology, which advocates prior engagement with third countries, as outlined in its press release announcing the new list.
“Moreover, the commission has published the list of high-risk jurisdictions, even as its Action Plan for a Comprehensive Union Policy on Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing is still being subject to stakeholder consultation that will conclude by July 2020.”
CARICOM noted in its statement that member states have proven that they are continuing to strengthen their AML/CFT frameworks and continuing to participate in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) mutual evaluation process.
The Bahamas is awaiting a peer review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) this year, though the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has pushed that back.
“The Caribbean Community maintains its call for a uniform, fair and transparent assessment process that is based on an inclusive, multilateral framework,” the statement noted.
“As a longstanding partner of the Caribbean Community, the action of the European Commission is not in keeping with the collaborative and supportive relationship between CARICOM and European states.
“The Caribbean Community, therefore, calls upon the European Union member states to once again reject the commission’s proposals as callous and premature at this moment in time.”