Belize Cracks Down on AML/CBT Laws
Belize is gearing up for the upcoming Caribbean Financial Task Force Peer Review. This mutual evaluation report is conducted by experts who review the country’s institutional framework, and the relevant Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financial Terrorism laws and regulations, as well as examine the capacity, implementation, and effectiveness of all these systems. The third round of mutual peer review in July 2011 identified drug trafficking as the main challenge in money laundering due to Belize’s close proximity to other countries that experience this threat as well. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Christopher Coye, says since then, Belize has been steadfast in its effort to improve these shortcomings.
Christopher Coye, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance: “What I would speak to is what is coming up. What we have is the fourth round mutual evaluation peer review that will occur in December of this year. It’s a challenge I think the last time Belize went through that peer review Belize failed, this was back in 2013 or 2014 thereabouts and Belize was blacklisted. That impacted on our corresponding banking relationships very adversely. So we don’t want to go down that road and this launch here and the National Anti Money Laundering Committee’s conference tomorrow all speak to that, that there is a clear effort in this country it’s the first ever of it’s kind Anti Money Laundering Conference of its kind in Belize but it speaks to that effort of the Financial Intelligence Unit, the National Anti Money Laundering Committee and the government on a whole inclusive of all its departments to address the issue of money laundering and combating financing of terrorism and proliferation financing. All those issues are what we have to ensure that we have the laws properly in place to meet technical compliance under the peer review as well as having the competencies in place and the willingness to enforce those laws in our law enforcement authorities demonstrably so that when we are subject to that peer review that we would get a favorable review.”