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Nov 29, 2013

Caribbean Financial Action Task Force blacklists Belize; is banking sector in jeopardy

Dean Barrow

As you know by now, the European Union has blacklisted Belize for not doing enough to curb illegal fishing. That is bad, but even worse is the news of the blacklisting by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, which describes Belize as one of the countries that have not complied with addressing deficiencies in the laws on money laundering and offshore banking. That decision is giving Belize an even bigger black eye because it has serious ramifications for banking.  According to C.F.A.T.F., even though Belize has taken some steps, it has not gone far enough to improve the Anti-money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism recommendations. The C.F.A.T.F. decision is bad news because it threatens the commercial banking sector. While the Prime Minister admits that sector can collapse, he lashed out at Wednesday’s press conference.


Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“The big countries are hypocrites. They don’t practice what they preach. They tell you what you have to do, they talk about harmful tax completion, they talk about his, and they talk about that. They talk about knock off counterfeit gods, weh the place name da New York, Canal Street, China Town? The point is, in passing the legislation that we did, we had to try to stare a careful course. We recognize that these big countries and there proxies, their agencies are powerful and can collapse our system. We can complain, we can denounce them but the fact is that ultimately we have to recognize where the power lied. On the other hand, we have people in the financial services sector; we have people in the offshore sector, who have been saying to us, if you go as far as these people are demanding, you are going to shutdown the industry. So it’s a huge balancing act that’s required. Ultimately I have said to the local people, please, we will try as best we can to protect you as much as we are able. But in the end recognize that the jig will soon be up. It may be unfair but these people won’t stop until they kill off our offshore sector. Bottom-line, we have I believe another six months, they’ve made the statement against us but they have not blacklisted us.”


The draftsperson, who operates as legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance, has been tasked with producing additional legislation by February. C.F.A.T.F. will be meeting in February and the government intends to be in compliance by then.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Caribbean Financial Action Task Force blacklists Belize; is banking sector in jeopardy”

  1. Joe Blank says:

    Unbelievable, but I actually agree with Dean Barrow. Two of the biggest offshore tax havens lie in Miami and Delaware. Uncle Sam and the European Union demand standards of us that they don’t keep. Needless to say, Barrow is right on this one. We have no choice but to comply. Cudos to him for having the balls to call it as it is,

  2. Al Rich says:

    Every rock that could hide illegal actions by Belize government is being turned over by every world organization. If a country is led by a band of crooks every move is suspect.

    One thing and one things alone will wash this mess from this country and that is a change in government and for honest men and women to step up and take over.

    Let us take our country back and bring some dignity to it.

  3. busha says:

    Barrow is right that big countries and corporations control things, but at the end of the day its about doing the right thing, and that is controlling money laundering and fraud. The Belizean government (PUP nad UPD) have too much vested interest in side money.

    Without knowing enough, I still agree with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.

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