The Government is moving to sign the CARICOM Agreement on the Sharing of Recovered Assets, which is intended to strengthen regional cooperation in this area by establishing a framework for the return or sharing of illicitly acquired proceeds that have been confiscated.
Chief Technical Director (CTD) in the Ministry of National Security, Rohan Richards, said the agreement will also facilitate the provision of assistance to victims of money laundering and increased financing for regional security institutions.
Richards, who was among several guest speakers during the recent Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of the Caribbean (ARIN-CARIB) Annual General Meeting at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in St. James.
Jamaica’s signing of the regional agreement is expected to complement legislation Richards posited the ministry is pursuing to implement an asset recovery incentivisation scheme.
“This scheme will allow those agencies that work to combat money laundering to be able to utilise a portion of the funds recovered in order to improve their capacity and operational effectiveness,” he explained.
The Richards further argued this is expected to go a far way in enabling agencies, such as the Financial Investigations Division (FID), “to successfully pursue more criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act”.
Meanwhile, the CTD said the Ministry of National Security will be seeking to introduce legislation to address illegally acquired finances and assets.
This, he indicated, will target persons in possession of assets deemed disproportionate to their financial standing, who are unable to reasonably explain the source of such gains.
“The introduction of these provisions will signal to criminals and facilitators of criminal activity that the Government of Jamaica is serious about taking away illicitly acquired wealth,” Richards pointed out.
Additionally, these measures are expected to be a “significant deterrent to criminal activity, as there is a greater risk of losing the wealth criminals would have gained through illicit enrichment”.
Representatives from more than 25 member countries attended the two-day ARIN- CARIB conference, which featured presentations on several topics.
These included ‘Gold Smuggling Typologies’; ‘Best Practices in the Seizure of Cryptocurrencies’; and ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’.
The ARIN networks are globally recognised as a judicial and law-enforcement tool used in targeting persons involved in organised crime, with particular focus on financial and asset deprivation.
There are eight ARIN networks currently in operation around the world.