CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, also addressed the correspondent banking relationship issue describing it as an immediate existential threat due to the subjective and unsupported labelling of the Region as a financial high risk area for Money Laundering and Terrorism funding.
CARICOM Member States are faced with this classification, even though they are compliant with the institutional and regulatory standards established by the FATF, the Global Forum and other international bodies noted LaRoque.
“Mr. Chairman, today, our Member States face yet another existential threat and it is immediate. This arises from the withdrawal of correspondent banking services due to the arbitrary and unsubstantiated categorisation of our Region as a financial high risk area. This is despite our jurisdictions being in compliance with the institutional and regulatory standards established by the FATF, the Global Forum and other international bodies.
Yet the global banks have reacted to the heightened regulatory emphasis in their own jurisdictions with de-risking strategies which either result in the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships or restrictions on those services. Our Region is inarguably one of those most adversely affected by these de-risking strategies and our people have already begun to feel the consequences of such arbitrary decisions.
This situation threatens the financial and economic stability of our Region. It is having an impact on the ability of our people to receive their remittances and transfer their funds for trade and investment transactions.
This state of affairs demands that we act collectively to address this issue with the relevant regulatory authorities and the international community.”
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