OAS Money Laundering Workshop
National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague says the ingenuity of criminals involved in money laundering must be matched by the dedication and commitment of law enforcement personnel and prosecutors to find their ill-gotten gains, and bring them and their facilitators, particularly those who help to conceal their wealth, to justice.
Minister Montague was speaking this morning at the start of a three-day workshop on “Special Investigative Techniques applied in Money Laundering Investigations”, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
Noting that money is the primary motivator for engagement in criminal activity, the National Security Minister said as governments across the world tighten their grip on criminal organisation and pursue criminal proceeds accumulated by these individuals, they have developed new and ingenuous means of hiding their wealth.
Minister Montague said money laundering and financial crimes more generally represent an increasing threat for governments in the Caribbean, and worldwide. “Money laundering and financial crimes cannot be separated from other elements of transnational organised crime, as one automatically feeds the other, he said.
He told the participants that Jamaica has prioritized crime reduction as a main pillar of its economic growth strategy, adding that sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved in an environment characterized by high levels of fear and insecurity.
“Money laundering and financial crimes in the past may have been viewed as ‘white-collar’ crime but no longer. The corruption, murders and shootings, acts of intimidation that criminals engage in to protect their ill-gotten gains threaten the advances we have made as a nation, and as a region to create safe prosperous societies for our citizens and visitors”, said the National Security Minister.
Minister Montague pointed out that, “None of us in our individual territories or individual agencies can successfully combat money laundering. We cannot defeat this scourge by continuing to operate in silos.”
As such, he urged the participants to not only learn from the presenters, but also from each other, as nothing can replace the sharing of experiences, challenges and successes among colleagues working in the trenches.
The workshop is aimed at strengthening the technical capacities of prosecutors and law enforcement officers in charge of investigating and prosecuting money laundering and related offences, on the use of the Special Investigative Techniques in Financial Investigations.
The training aims to bring a broader perspective to examining the existing international legal frameworks governing the use of such techniques, their implementation in national framework and best practices on how to apply them, through the analysis of practical cases.
Law enforcement personnel and prosecutors from a number of regional counties including Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are attending the workshop which is organised by the Organisation of American States Department against Transnational Organized Crime, the Regional Security System Asset Recovery Unit, Governments of Canada and Jamaica.