In a recent press release by the Premier’s Office, it noted that members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) facilitated the training and participants were educated on the Mutual Evaluation process and standards and stakeholder expectations during the assessment.
The Mutual Evaluation is based on the International Standards on Combatting Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation set out by the Financial Action Task Force.
These standards will be used to determine the effectiveness of the Virgin Islands’ anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) systems, policies, and procedures in combatting money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.
The two-day programme, which began on June 27, also highlighted money laundering and terrorist financing risk in the context of the Virgin Islands landscape, the principles and process for addressing technical compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, and principles and best practices for demonstrating effectiveness with respect to the FATF’s Immediate Outcomes.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr Natalio Wheatley, said he fully recognised and endorsed the efforts being made to ensure the territory’s preparedness for the upcoming assessment.
“My government recognises the central role the Virgin Islands plays in international finance, the obligation we owe ourselves to maintain a clean and stable society and the responsibility of cross-border cooperation we share with other countries and territories,” the Premier said.
Dr Wheatley, who serves as the Chairman of the National Anti-Money Laundering Coordinating Council (NAMLCC), reminded the participants that they are in Virgin Island’s front-line defence against illicit activity and the guardians of its reputation. He added the training should extend further than the purpose of the mutual evaluation.
“You are well-positioned to protect the financial perimeter of this territory by doing all that is necessary to deny persons engaged in financial crime from finding sanctuary within our midst,” the Finance Minister said.
In addition to the training for government officers, workshops were held for members of the private sector who will be involved in the evaluation. These sessions provided the territory’s financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professionals with an overview of the Mutual Evaluation Process while helping them to prepare for the assessment.
Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Governor John Rankin; Managing Director/CEO of the BVI Financial Services Commission, Kenneth Baker; and Senior Financial Sector Expert within the Financial Integrity Group of the IMF, Carolina Claver.