Senator the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson, CFATF Chair, presented opening remarks at the XXXIX Plenary Meeting of the Task Force in Miami today. She said the significant number of delegates present was a clear demonstration of the ongoing commitment of member governments to the very important work that the CFATF is mandated to do in protecting the regional and international financial systems from transnational organized crime and those who engage in terrorism and proliferation financing. She specifically welcomed the representative from the CARICOM Secretariat, noting the important role the regional body has to play.

Among other things, she said, CARICOM Heads of Government have a very important role to play in:

* Raising the profile of the CFATF regionally
* Encouraging acceptance of the role that the CFATF must play with regard to compliance with the FATF recommendations and
* Ensuring that adequate human and financial resources are provided so that this work can be undertaken effectively.

The CFATF Chair reminded delegates of the first Regional AML/CFT Conference hosted in Nassau during April and, specifically, that on that occasion Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, had volunteered – as a Regional Elder – to be an advocate for CFATF in the CARICOM Heads of Government and international arenas.

Referencing the agenda items on AML/CFT deficiencies and preparation for the Fourth Round of Mutual Evaluations, Sen. Maynard-Gibson encouraged active participation in all discussions. *“This will strengthen your understanding of the requirements of the FATF standards and your value as an asset to your country, the Region and other parts of the world,”* said the Chairman. It will also strengthen the capacity and reputation of the CFATF as an outstanding FSRB and an effective and valuable partner in the global AML/CFT network, she added.

*“We continue our urgent focus and energy for CFATF to develop a pool of regional experts beyond those in the Secretariat, both from the public and private sectors who, on a case by case basis, will be mutual evaluation examiners, deliver technical assistance and training to our members. Member countries will be asked to commit the services of personnel to the CFATF Secretariat for agreed periods of on and off site secondment.”*

The Chairman concluded her opening remarks by calling upon the membership to follow the lead of Barbados, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago and the Virgin Islands in working with the Secretariat to develop a firm schedule of compliance conferences to be organized in the coming years.