Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2022. 1:39 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, testified in Washington DC this week before the United States House Committee of Financial Services on de-risking in the Caribbean banking sector, sharing some of the major impacts US financial legislation can have on countries in the region.
Mottley stressed that there are “unfair and unjust reports, and requirements”, in place that present the potential blacklisting, which poses very serious consequences for all aspects of society and threatens the region’s ability to trade and do business with its neighbors and allies.
“Our economies cannot function on their own. We do not make enough clothes, we do not produce our own food, we do not produce our own equipment and therefore unless we are able to trade with the rest of the world we are at risk of becoming financial pariahs,” Mottley said.
Mottley suggested to the Committee that the US Treasury focus legislation on areas that tackle the core issues associated with money laundering as opposed to enacting roundabout laws that in turn cause more pressure on the Caribbean and other countries that end up being victimized in place of entities that need to be brought to justice.
“…the Treasury ought to be truthful to its mandate. It says it wants to be risk-sensitive, well if it wants to be risk-sensitive then it needs to focus on where the money is rather than creating rules that act as a proxy to money laundering or terrorism financing and it has found the answer, even if fortuitously or scientifically this year…,” Mottley added.
Belize is no stranger to the fallout Motley spoke about, having lost 2/3 of the country’s correspondent banking relationships between 2015 and 2016, due to legislative changes that put Belize in a position of non-compliance.
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