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NAMLC hosts Compliance Training Workshop

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The National Anti Money Laundering Committee of St. Vincent and the Grenadines recently hosted a Compliance Training Workshop at the Sunset Shores Hotel, (November 10-14th 2008). The Workshop was sponsored and facilitated by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), which is Canada’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).{{more}} The Workshop was a collaborative effort between FINTRAC and the NAMLC of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and came about due to the good working relations existing between FINTRAC and SVG’s FIU for the past few years.

The Workshop was attended by countries from the region with which FINTRAC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for mutual co-operation, with its FIU. In attendance were representatives of regulatory authorities and FIUs from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and from St. Vincent: the Registrar of Co-operatives, the Single Regulatory Unit of the Ministry of Finance, the International Financial Services Authority (IFSA) and the FIU.

In opening the Workshop, Sharda Bollers, Executive Director of IFSA and Secretary of the NAMLC, stated that FINTRAC’s training initiative was timely, relevant and topical. Bollers stated that now more than ever, recent global financial crises have led to increasing world wide awareness that the role of regulators is critical in monitoring and ensuring compliance with the law and proper regulatory practices. Bollers stated that the financial soundness and safety of our financial and other regulated institutions are tested by compliance checks and examinations, and this process has the capability of detecting deficiencies and vulnerabilities in financial systems and thus enabling regulators to take early action to avert disaster.

Jason Sass, Compliance Manager of FINTRAC, stated that his organization welcomed the opportunity to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to building capacity of the regulatory authorities in SVG and the region. The resource persons at the Workshop were Sass, Kelly Goyette, Compliance Officer of FINTRAC, Grenville Williams, Director of SVG’s FIU, Sharda Bollers of IFSA and Dougal James, IFSA’s former Acting Executive Director.

The aim of the Workshop was to provide training to FIUs and regulatory authorities on implementing compliance policies and procedures in keeping with best international practices. The Workshop focused on conducting effective compliance examinations and implementing a proper framework of ongoing monitoring for compliance by regulatory authorities and also implementing proper internal risk management and internal audit systems.

The NAMLC and the institutions which fall under this umbrella body, particularly the IFSA and the FIU, through its Secretary, commended Canada’s FIU for this initiative which represented a milestone in the development of bilateral and unilateral relationships of all those present at the workshop. The NAMLC also noted that it was gratifying to see a larger organization in the developed world making strident efforts to share its expertise with its Caribbean colleagues in such a constructive way.

This is not the first time that SVG has benefitted from technical assistance provided by FINTRAC. In October 2007, FINTRAC sponsored and hosted six participants from regulatory bodies in St. Vincent, for a similar Training Workshop, and these initiatives by FINTRAC have contributed significantly to providing compliance training for the regulatory authorities and the FIU in SVG.