Entornointeligente.com / Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us E-Paper Not a good look for Barbados Sat, 05/29/2021 – 7:08am While this country does have legislation in place with respect to money laundering, there is concern that a lack of enforcement may be causing the international community to see the country in a negative light.
That’s according to attorney-at-law Lynette Eastmond. She made the comments during the recent ‘Debrief TV Show – Finance and Business Thursday’, hosted by economist Kemar Stuart.
Eastmond, who is a former Director of International Business, said that while this country has a “whole suite of legislation” dealing with matters such as anti-money laundering and the proceeds of crime, there is little being done by way of prosecutions. She noted that this may raise alarm bells for some of the international organisations, given that there is a perception that there is corruption in this country.
“I think that Barbadians should bear in mind that when we speak on call-in programmes, when we write on Facebook, etc., all of these things – and I’m not I’m not talking about surveillance, I’m talking about the fact that people who are here within the diplomatic corps, it is their job to report
what is happening in Barbados. So if there’s a perception of corruption within Barbados because of what people say, because people complain about having to bribe somebody, etc., etc., they’re going to be paying attention to that and they’re going to be reporting,” she stated.
Eastmond added, “So then it should not be a surprise that these institutions would say, yes, you’ve passed all the legislation, it looks really nice on the books; but how come nobody’s being prosecuted in Barbados, especially for white collar crime? Is everybody pristine clean?”.
With that in mind, she said that anti-money laundering rules and the legislation are not only targeted at financial institutions, even though she admitted that they are likely the ones who bear the brunt of it, or who the international organisations or countries might be more suspicious of.
“In any kind of transaction where you can have large amounts of cash being transferred, such as in real estate transactions, we will find that individuals or organisations in the money laundering framework are interested in those. So they’re interested in accountants; they are interested in lawyers; they’re interested in real estate; yes, the financial institutions – anyone who they consider to be a gatekeeper.”
Adding to her comments, Dr. Terence Yhip, economics and financial professional and partner of Ideal Advisory Services based in Canada, warned that perception can often be mistaken for reality, and that can have a negative impact on a country or sector. The author of ‘From Rags to Riches: Is Guyana Ready for the Oil Bonanza?’ made the point as he noted that since 2009, Barbados has been slipping on the Corruption Perceptions Index.
“The Bahamas and Barbados, they have all the legislation, there’s no question about that. But what the EU Commission faulted The Bahamas recently for was not the lack of legislation, but the lack of enforcement, that’s where they nailed them on the blacklist. And I think the same thing probably applies to Barbados, the perception that people are not brought to justice,” he said.
Yhip continued, “We could have all the legislation in the world, all the governance rules, but if you have no enforcement it is useless… They might have all the rules of governance and corruption, but what is going to happen if the courts are not powerful enough or independent enough to bring people to justice?”
LINK ORIGINAL: Barbados Advocate