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Anti-money laundering decree awaiting St. Maarten governor’s signature


PHILIPSBURG–The country’s permanent Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT) Commission has been held up as the Justice Ministry awaits Governor Eugene Holiday’s signature on the decree to establish it.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan told Parliament Thursday the decree had been with the governor for “several months” and he did not know what had contributed to the delay. He said he would look into the matter again so the commission could be established formally and Parliament could be updated on the decree.

The commission will be headed by the joint Attorney-General of Curaçao and St. Maarten with the Solicitor-General stationed here playing the major role. The Secretary-General of the Justice Ministry will serve as the commission’s secretary.

Other commission members include the Banks Association chairman, Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, the director of taxes, and representatives of the Customs and Foreign Affairs Department, Legal Affairs Department of the Ministry of General Affairs, Justice Ministry and the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams also will designate one person to sit on the commission, as will Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto and Economic Affairs Minister Franklin Meyers.

The former Netherlands Antilles established a similar commission in 1992. The St. Maarten commission was tailored to suit the country’s needs. In addition, the representative of the Dutch Government has been included as “an observer” on the commission, Duncan explained.

The “observer” will be the link between St. Maarten and the Dutch Government to ensure “we don’t mix up signals or confuse matters” because St. Maarten, as part of the kingdom, is represented by that government in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The commission will report to and advise the country steering group comprising Wescot-Williams, Shigemoto, Meyers and Duncan. It also will ensure that the 49 FATF recommendations are adhered to and carried out.

The Financial Intelligence Unit MOT will serve as the secretariat of the commission.

Members of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force CFATF will conduct an onsite assessment of St. Maarten starting on Monday. This entails interviews with prospective committee members for the country drawn from government and from financial and non-financial businesses and professions.

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