The Hon. Alfred Sears, M.P., Bahamas Attorney General and Minister of Education has completed his year as Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The chairmanship has been passed to His Excellency Sir Ronald Michael Sanders, Chief Foreign Affairs Representative with Ministerial Rank and High Commissioner for Antigua & Barbuda to the United Kingdom.
At the time of relinquishing his role as CFATF head, Minister Sears said it is imperative that The Bahamas continue its lead in regard to being at the forefront of international standards in anti-money laundering efforts and combating the financing of terrorists. Specifically, *”..we must ensure that our legislation keeps track of the changing typologies used by money launderers and persons who finance terrorists acts. We must continue to interact meaningfully with our international partners and encourage capacity building.”*
During his tenure as President, Mr. Sears actively promoted a forum on money laundering under the auspices of the United Nations, hopefully to produce a UN Convention on Money Laundering. It is anticipated that such a Convention would allow the establishment of international standards of money laundering that would be applied equally to all nations. Importantly, this would allow all member countries of the U.N. the right to participate in the making of the rules and ensure the even application of such.
Highlights of his chairmanship included the promotion of enhanced international cooperation between CFATF members and their international counterparts and the provision of technical assistance. On the latter, Minister Sears points out that this is based on the concept that *“we live in an interdependent world and in order to defend our respective sovereign space, we need to ensure that every area of the world has adequate capacity to withstand the menace of money laundering and financing terrorism.”*
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force is an organisation of thirty states of the Caribbean Basin, which have agreed to implement common countermeasures to address the problem of criminal money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The CFATF Secretariat is hosted by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago.