By Alexis R. Milan , Staff Reporter
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) have removed Belize from the CFATF follow-up process and the ICRG review program after assessing the measures undertaken by Belize to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The review included scrutiny of Belize’s legislative framework and its implementation by Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Caribbean Financial Task-force (CFT) supervisors and the private sector. According to a government release, Belize now joins a vanguard of CFATF member countries who have achieved the highest levels of compliance with international standards.
CFATF member countries have expressed congratulations to Belize for making such remarkable progress in a short period of time, having only starting work on strengthening deficiencies in the country’s system since 2011. Research shows that only the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, who both only had minor deficiencies, were able to exit the follow-up in less time.
The Belize delegation to the CFATF has committed that implementation of the legislation will continue as well as efforts to enhance current enforcement measures along with international cooperation and mutual legal assistance.
The government of Belize said to avoid repeating the reputational damage of 2013, when Belize was gray-listed by the CFATF for insufficient AML legislation, it is fully committed to strengthening AML/CFT laws and Belize’s record progress is indication of the government’s commitment to the country’s reputation as a well regulated financial service center.