International Embarrassment For Barbados
For over two years, personnel of the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) illegally shared confidential financial, banking and other information with law enforcement agencies and governments around the world. Just one little problem: AMLA personnel had no legal authority to do what they did.
AND THAT, my friends, means that Barbados AMLA personnel committed crimes. Lots of ’em – at least one for every time they transferred or received certain information.
According to a Barbados Advocate article, the Government of Barbados today proposed legislation to retroactively make the illegal AMLA acts “legal” – AND GET THIS – “and all matters purported to have been done under that Act shall be deemed to have been lawfully and validly performed and done as if the Authority had been lawfully and validly appointed…”
The Owen Arthur BLP Government Took The Foreign Aid Money But Failed To Legally Establish AMLA
According to the legislation proposed by the current Barbados Government, the AMLA personnel were operating illegally from August 1, 2006 to September 14, 2008 (both dates inclusive). In 2006, Owen Arthur was Prime Minister. The BLP Government had several Attorneys General with the last being Dale Marshall who famously failed to pass the required legislation to make the new $300 million Dodds Prison “official” – thus delaying its occupancy by inmates. Mia Mottley was also Attorney General under Owen Arthur. In August 2001, then Attorney General David Simmons (now Chief Justice) delivered the feature address at the launch of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority.
Each one of the BLP Attorneys General had the responsibility for AMLA but it seems that the government fouled up in August of 2006 and the unit operated without legal authority until September 15, 2008 – some eight months into the new DLP government of David Thompson.
One can hardly blame the current DLP government for failing to immediately realize that a government agency they inherited was operating without legal authority to do so. There is, however, the matter of all the money that the USA has provided to Barbados to establish and operate the Anti-Money Laundering Authority.
And there is a case to be made that, as with the European Union sugar subsidies, Barbados took the AMLA funding from the USA and then spent it on something else…
Did A Blog Article Set Off American or Barbados Government Alarm Bells?
On February 16, 2009 the Keltruth Corp’s Barbados Money Laundering and Offshore Business Advisory blog published a story that asked Does the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority Really Exist?
This excellent piece of investigative journalism made the astounding observation “I can find a little evidence to suggest that AMLA is fully operational or even that it exists…”
Barbados Free Press picked up on the article and stated…
But guess what friends? AMLA doesn’t pass the smell test for being a real and operational government entity!
Our bet… AMLA is nothing but a paper shell operating out of the Financial Intelligence Unit and is not a stand-alone organisation with independent staff as mandated and pretended by the Barbados Government.
Why would they pull off that fast one? For the U.S. aid money, of course!
Shhhhhh…. doan be tellin the US Embassy, Ok? (Original BFP story – Report: Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority A Phony Shell – Doesn’t Really Exist!)
Judging by the legislation put forward today to “legalize” the past illegal acts of Anti-Money Laundering Authority personnel, the folks at Keltruth Corp. may have raised the alarm with their February 2009 report.
While we hardly expect the Barbados or American governments to admit that an article on a blog had anything to do with this latest legislation, at the very least the legislation shows that Keltruth Corp. was spot on with their doubts about the legitimacy of the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority.
Well done, Keltruth Corp!
Here is the article from the Barbados Advocate so it will be available in full after it is pulled from the internet by the paper…
Barbados Advocate 5/5/2009
THE House of Assembly returns from recess today with Government set to ask Parliament’s approval of functions already performed by the Anti-Money Laundering Authority.
In what is the newest item on the Order Paper, Attorney General Freundel Stuart is set to move the First Reading of the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) (Validation of Functions) Bill, 2009.
It is asking Parliament to approve “certain acts performed by the Anti-Money Laundering Authority in pursuance of its functions under the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) Act, Cap. 129”.
“All functions purported to have been performed by the Anti-Money Laundering Authority in pursuance of the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) Act during the period August 1, 2006 to September 14, 2008 (both dates inclusive), and all matters purported to have been done under that Act shall be deemed to have been lawfully and validly performed and done as if the Authority had been lawfully and validly appointed under section 5 of that Act,” the notice stated.
Other matters on the Order Paper had been there prior to the Lower House rising on recess and including Stuart moving the Second Reading of the Caribbean Court of Justice (Amendment) Bill, 2009, and the Second Reading of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2009.
Additional items in the name of Prime Minister David Thompson included moving the passing of a Resolution to approve the Arts and Sport Promotion Fund (Amendment) Regulations, 2008; moving the passing of a Resolution to approve the guarantee by the Minister responsible for Finance of the payment of the principal sum of $ 50 million and interest thereon to be borrowed by the Barbados Port Inc. from BNB Finance & Trust Corporation for the purpose of financing a portion of the Company’s existing debt and its ongoing capital works programme.
Today’s session marks the 35th sitting of this current session of the 2008-2013 Parliament, which began on February 12 last year.
The House is scheduled to discuss a number of matters over the next few weeks in the lead-up to this year’s Budget, previously scheduled to be delivered by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Thompson on May 18.
Parliament has already debated and approved the 2009/2010 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. (SC)