Barbados will take over the chairmanship of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) next month, Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, has announced.
He said Barbados will also host the next CFATF conference in November and that the relevant regulators were aggressively working on fine-tuning the anti-money laundering framework.
“You and your membership are among our gatekeepers who flag suspicious transactions and report them. I simply wish to encourage this group to support these initiatives, and strengthen your own systems and procedures that identify and weed-out these undesirable activities,” Sutherland told an awards ceremony of the Barbados Cooperative & Credit Union League Ltd.
He said the financial services sector was under increased scrutiny and that credit unions had to play their part in ensuring the threat of money laundering was adequately mitigated, if not eradicated.
He said as Barbados was poised to ascend to the chairmanship of CFATF, there was need to fully embody the guidance of that organization, by ensuring the highest standards were obtained.
Sutherland said Barbadian credit union movement is a regional beacon playing an impressive role here, and that the Mia Mottley government was committed to removing red tape and requirements that previously prohibited enterprising persons seeking to start a business.
“We, therefore, need to work with you in this sector to achieve synergies with other platforms of growth, and in turn, give you a higher return on your investments.”
He said that there are 33 registered credit unions in Barbados, with almost 210,000 members with assets have amassed to more than two billion dollars (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents). He said credit to members has reached approximately BDS$1.68 billion, and direct employment has been provided for over 500 Barbadians.
Sutherland said that as at March 31, 2018 the sector reported net profits in excess of BDS$24 million, compared to BDS$16.4 million 10 years ago.
“These statistics are by no means meagre in a country with a population of approximately 300,000 persons and a nominal gross domestic product in the region of nine billion dollars. In short, credit unions have transformed the lives of many ordinary Barbadians, and have afforded many of us a higher standard of living.”