The Cayman Islands decision to name a national coordinator for the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG) has brought closer local public and private sector agencies combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.
Elisabeth Lees was appointed earlier this year to co-ordinate the Cayman Islands response to recent recommendations by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) to improve the local AML/CFT regime.
The regional standard setting body placed Cayman under a one-year observation period to address the deficiencies identified in its evaluation report released in March 2019. Failure to do so could result see Cayman blacklisted with the FATF imposing a remediation plan.
The Cayman Islands has always worked hard to stay abreast of global regulatory measures"
At a recent meeting of relevant public and private sector organisations, the premier said that improving Cayman's AML/CFT framework was a matter of national priority and all agencies needed to work together on behalf of the country to successfully implement the CFATF recommendations.
"The Cayman Islands has always worked hard to stay abreast of global regulatory measures. With this role and others around the public service that focus on increased coordination and improved communication within our local financial and commercial sectors as part of this process, we are taking positive steps towards implementing the report's recommendations," premier Alden McLaughlin said.
The CFTATF requires, among other issues, a better understanding of the risks in the jurisdiction and that all entities that conduct relevant financial business implement robust anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures.
Lees has spent the last few months working, along with the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, to coordinate the actions taken by the public sector to implement the recommendations in the report and to facilitate outreach to the private sector, government said.
A new working group that concentrates on fighting proliferation financing, or the financing of weapons of mass destruction, an area of focus in the CFATF report, has also been created. The working group aims to understand and mitigate proliferation finance risk.
Lees said Cayman had continued to work closely with CFATF since the report, with CFATF representatives visiting here and Cayman officials attending relevant meetings overseas.
Justine Plenkiewicz has also been appointed as deputy national coordinator overseeing the supervisory agencies.