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No space given to top class criminals, says Gonsalves

No space given to top class criminals, says Gonsalves

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This country’s prime minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, believes that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has made remarkable strides in stemming the flow of drug trafficking and money laundering.{{more}}

“I don’t want to say that we are out of the woods, but compared to the countries across the Caribbean, you would notice we have taken the bull by the horns… We have been able to curb, to a remarkable degree, drug trafficking and money laundering,” the Prime Minister said, as he addressed a gathering at his official residence on Independence Day, Thursday, October 27, in a “Toast to the Nation” ceremony.

The annual event, which was this year moved from the Old Montrose Police Station to the PM’s residence, was attended by several diplomatic representatives, as well as local government ministers and other officials.

Gonsalves, who is also the Minister of National Security, said they have taken a very “strong and robust” fight against crime and criminals, particularly in the crimes of violence, drug trafficking and money laundering.

The Prime Minister explained that, in efforts to curb the continuance of such crimes, they have targeted known drug traffickers and money launderers.

“They are known throughout the Caribbean and I suspect the same thing in Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister said no longer can old-fashioned police methods, that were inherited from the British, be used.

“That is to say, a crime is committed and an inquiry is made. No! We identify the main perpetrators and we go at them by using the FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit),” Gonsalves said.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was established in May 2002, pursuant to the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2001. Some of the functions of the FIU include the receipt and analysis of suspicious transaction reports that are required to be made under the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, Act No. 39 of 2001.

Describing the local FIU as “arguably one of the best” in the Caribbean, Gonsalves said, “We go for their bank accounts and property. In that way, we bring them to their knees…In giving no space to these top class criminals, we have shown them to be ordinary, mortal men…”

Gonsalves said when those persons who depend on these ‘top class criminals’ see that their benefactors are behind bars or before the law courts, they themselves learn a lesson.

“My years as a criminal lawyer have taught me that almost every single criminal is a coward,” Gonsalves noted.

The acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Lenroy Brewster also gave brief remarks at Thursday’s ceremony.(KW)

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