Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called on the international community to examine the possibility of developing “one umbrella” legislation as Dominica continues its efforts to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Skerrit, whose government Monday, successfully tabled and got parliamentary approval for three pieces of legislation to strengthen systems in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, said the proposed umbrella legislation could be “standard legislation across the global space.
“We have come to Parliament numerous times to make amendments to legislation to play our part in protecting our country and protecting the global space. They sometimes appear to be nuisances, but they are important and so…we may come back here in a few month’s time to make further amendments”
Skerrit told legislators that the reality is in defence of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and to the National Advisory Unit “this is a moving target.
“The world is a dynamic world. In scenes which confronted investigative units 10 and 15 years ago, times have changed. A day is a long time and so we have to continue reviewing, assessing, evaluating and to see where we have to make changes to strengthen our capacity ..so that out people who are involved on the front line have the knowledge, the skills and the competences to counteract those actions of money laundering and criminal activity in our country,” Skerrit said.
Skerrit told legislators that despite the economic impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on the island, his administration still felt it necessary to provide funding for the acquisition of scanners for the ports here.
“It shows you our commitment Mr Speaker and the political will…that in the middle of COVID-19 when revenue dropped by 32 plus per cent and expenditure increased by 40 per cent, I authorised the purchase of scanners at EC$2.5 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in 2020 to scan every container coming into the country”.
He said that the number of “barrels” entering the country during that period had dropped “because the scanners were working to prevent drugs and ammunition coming into our country and as a means of facilitating money laundering in Dominica,” he said.
Parliament has since approved amendments to the Money laundering Prevention Bill, the Proceeds of Crime and Suppression of Financing of Terrorism Bills.