An offer for the World Bank to assist St. Maarten with anti-money-laundering measures as part of the recovery process (see related story) is very interesting. The main concern is meeting requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The latter is a responsibility of the Dutch Caribbean country, but the Netherlands considers it important that this matter get priority. It’s also crucial to prevent being blacklisted as a fiscally-non-compliant jurisdiction, with all possible consequences for international trade and the local business climate.
Legislation to implement the recommendations was presented to Parliament recently. The law proposal on Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) was passed after adding an amendment agreed on with government to give the legislature better oversight.
The draft national ordinance with rules to fight money-laundering and the financing of terrorism was also approved, but not before the opposition faction United St. Martin Party presented amendments with mostly technical adjustments that had been generally well-received. These were subsequently withdrawn after Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever made the necessary changes in which he also addressed major reservations over the definition of a “politically exposed person” (PEP).
More will undoubtedly be needed with today’s trend of “de-risking” and combating tax fraud, so it’s good to know the World Bank’s expertise is available in this regard. This may cost a few extra dollars from the Dutch-sponsored Reconstruction Trust Fund, but –considering that there is reportedly still 200 million left to spend – seems like a worthwhile investment.