Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley calls for changes to restrictive banking procedures instituted by the United States on Caribbean countries, including Belize

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Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2022. 2:53 p.m. CST.

By Hugh O’Brien: It is no secret that banking regulations imposed on Caribbean countries including Belize by the United States in particular have created many significant obstacles and challenges for basic and regular banking transactions for the citizen. medium. Just opening a bank account requires so much due diligence that many small customers are put off and give up, and small cash transactions are more than often over-reviewed.

These procedures aim to target money laundering and the financing of terrorism, but do they have their impact? In addition to driving many legitimate transactions underground and in cryptocurrency, online and other forms of digital currency, they have strained correspondent banking relationships and the ability to transfer money to across borders.

The US House Committee Financial Services Committee was meeting to discuss risk reduction in the Caribbean banking industry and Mottley was invited to share the Caribbean perspective with US lawmakers.

“Our economies cannot function alone. We don’t make enough clothes, we don’t produce our own food, we don’t produce our own equipment and so unless we can trade with the rest of the world we risk becoming financial pariahs,” Mottley said. at bat. for improving banking regulations and supporting correspondent banking relationships. Belize is no stranger to the fallout that Motley spoke of, having lost 2/3 of the country’s correspondent banking relationships between 2015 and 2016, due to US banks choosing a defensive stance and avoiding the risk of sanctions by simply deciding not to do business with small countries like Belize.

In an Instagram post shared after the presentation, Prime Minister Mia Mottley added, “The reality is that unfair and unfair reporting, requirements, and potential blacklists have very serious consequences for all aspects of society and threaten our ability to trade and do business with our neighbors and allies. This can and must change.

“Don’t let this be recorded as an act of unconscious bias. And why am I saying this. Look at the list of countries listed there and you will see that almost all of them are former colonies and people of color. And look at the countries that, although they can open a bank account in a few hours in Delaware or Wyoming, in a few hours in Luxembourg or Zurich, remain outside these lists which talk about the risk of money laundering, and look and see where the gap comes from,” Mottley explained.

“I believe this committee has a strong sense of justice and fairness and all we are asking for today is a level playing field… One of the solutions we leave to you is that the Treasury be faithful to its mandate. He says he wants to be risk-aware. Well, if it wants to be risk-aware, it needs to focus on where the money is rather than creating rules that act as a substitute for money laundering and terrorist financing. And he found the answer, albeit fortuitously or scientifically this year by tracking Russian sanctions money.

In Mottley’s view, the United States should prosecute individuals and oligarchs involved in money laundering and terrorist financing, rather than imposing rules that make it difficult to conduct business in former colonies where people of color live.

The Prime Minister of Barbados was hopeful noting, “We can use both technology, communication and information sharing, but above all fairness and transparency to ensure that our people are not further punished for being able to participate in his life thanks to his economy, thanks to his savings. , and with their families across borders and businesses.

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