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Press Release From Independent Source

Premier says “Zero tolerance to crime and terrorist financing”

Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith, Premier of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/ File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI-The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is committed to maintaining its position of zero tolerance to organised crime and terrorist financing to ensure that the jurisdiction remains reputable.

In an interview with the Department of Information and Public Relations, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE said the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (also known as the Palermo Convention) and the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (the Terrorist Financing Convention) have both been extended to the BVI and came into force on June 20. Both conventions were extended through declarations by the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and

Northern Ireland.

According to Premier Smith, “With both conventions being extended to the BVI, we can continue to speak highly of our reputation as a compliant jurisdiction in the areas of border security, financial services and international cooperation.”

He added, “Keeping up with international standards is key in participating in the global economy.”

Prior to the extension of the two conventions, the BVI had already incorporated the requirements of the conventions as acknowledged in the Territory’s 2008 Mutual Evaluation Report by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (FATF); the international standard-setting body on money laundering and terrorist financing issues.

Premier Smith further stated, “With the extension of the two conventions, the BVI is now in compliance with the recommendation of the FATF.”

The Palermo Convention requires a commitment against all forms of organised crime, including money laundering and corruption. The convention’s supporting protocols also call for the prevention of human trafficking and smuggling, and the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms.

The Terrorist Financing Convention requires the Territory to maintain its actions in the prevention of the financing of terrorists and terrorist organisations, illicit arms trafficking, drug dealing and racketeering and the exploitation of persons for purposes of funding terrorist activities.

Director of the International Affairs Secretariat Ms. Elise Donovan echoed the

Premier, commenting on the Terrorist Financing Convention, “Compliance is critical to the continued success of the financial services sector. The Convention will indeed encourage further growth so that the BVI can be recognised as a globally integrated financial centre.”

Regarding the Palermo Convention, she said, “This further strengthens our efforts in international cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The BVI strives to maintain its commitment to its international obligations and is always eager to demonstrate to the world our ability and willingness to cooperate. The Palermo Convention signals our compliance with international standards to all our stakeholders worldwide.”

The Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Financial Services Commission worked together over the past year to have the conventions extended to the Territory.

The extension of both conventions is in line with Government’s mandate to adopt international standards to restore and safeguard the international reputation of the British Virgin Islands.

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