Anti-money laundering measures risky for region, minister warns
KINGSTON – Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw says there is need for an international lobby to highlight the risk to Caribbean states of measures by developed countries and financial institutions to tackle money laundering.
He said while international rules must be followed, concerns must be registered when action is taken in an indiscriminate manner.
“We have to clean up our act, and follow international rules. At the same time, we have to register our concern that there is a push by developed countries, along with developed financial institutions, to put pressure on states like Jamaica and other Caribbean countries because of anti-money laundering concerns,” Shaw noted.
He was speaking at the 2016 ‘Outlook for the Future’ forum, hosted by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), in the United Kingdom.
The Minister told the large audience that the Caribbean region receives about US$5 billion worth of remittances annually, about US$2 billion of which goes to Jamaica.
He said despite this and the trade between Jamaica and the UK, there is the threat that major financial institutions want to “lock their doors” to Jamaica on the basis of this anti-money laundering mission.
“An international lobby has to be put in place so that we don’t go from one extreme to the other. About 40 per cent of our economy is informal. If you lock the doors to a formal economy, the informal one will take its place,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister urged the Jamaican Diaspora to become more productive.
“We are encouraging every Jamaican, wherever in the world you may be, to try to become more productive. The conversation must change from how much remittances we receive. While we recognise the importance of remittances, there is a larger opportunity out there. There is opportunity to merge our strengths, and Jamaicans abroad don’t have to come home to help us unlock the doors of potential,” he said.
The Finance Minister was in London to attend a high-level seminar and discussion on ‘Governance for Sustainable Development 2030: Supporting the Implementation of the Agenda 2030’.