Central Bank governor Jwala Rambarran said yesterday the bank is concerned that the National Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting Terrorist Financing Committee (AML/CTF) has not met since July 2013.
“(The committee) plays a crucial role...We are of the view that this committee needs to expeditiously recommence its activities,” Rambarran said at a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony between the bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port of Spain.
The committee needs to expeditiously recommence its activities, Rambarran said, especially as Trinidad and Tobago will be the first country in the Caribbean jurisdiction to undergo the Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation utilising the revised Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Forty Recommendations.
“Trinidad and Tobago has to remedy its Third Round deficiencies as well as prepare for the Fourth Round,” he said, noting the country had to demonstrate co-operation and co-ordination among all national stakeholders.
“As financial regulators, we have a shared responsibility when it comes to the effectiveness of the regime in place to protect our country and its citizens from organised financial crime. The law enforcement authorities also have a responsibility to adapt their efforts and capacities,” he said.
“The MOU signed today will allow the Central Bank and the TTSEC to share relevant information on corporate structure, administration, quality of organisation and systems, and any other information that may be relevant to the adequate supervision of financial entities of the securities industries.
“It is not about ego or territory; it’s about ensuring the protection of every citizen who trusts their bank, securities firm, or financial institution with their money...Through this MOU the Central Bank and the TTSEC can determine whether senior personnel and other individuals who may impact the strategic direction of a financial institution are indeed fit,” Rambarran said.
Chairman of the TTSEC Prof Patrick Watson said the commission was entering into this MOU because it recognised the need for mutual co-operation between the two entities in carrying out regulatory and supervisory functions under relevant laws, regulations and rules.
“The MOU is necessary because we understand that the laws, regulations and rules that apply to the SEC and the bank are designed to protect the legitimate interest of customers and may limit transmission of information between authorities...it is our intention by way of this MOU to establish a framework to facilitate this exchange and enforce secure compliance,” Watson said.