CFATF 46th Plenary MeetingIn light of the Caribbean’s attractiveness to drug traffickers, money launderers, tax evaders and transnational criminal cartels, countries that form part of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) have been warned to take the necessary steps to secure the region from this becoming a major issue, as these crimes have the potential to disrupt local economies.This was President David Granger’s message as he delivered the feature addressA section of the participants at the 46th Plenary of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) at the Marriott Hotel, Guyanaat the opening ceremony of the 46th Plenary and Working Group Meeting of the CFATF at the Marriott Hotel on Wednesday.He also reminded the attendees that these activities could corrupt officials, subvert institutions, pervert youth, and spawn frightening levels of crime and violence in society.The Head of State said the CFATF recommendations are therefore necessary to insulate the region’s financial sector from the crimes of money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. “The task force’s recommendations can help to insulate the region’s economies from contamination by ‘dirty’ money, and by protecting the integrity of our financial sector from the risks associated with ill-gotten gains…,” he remarked.Granger believes that the recommendations would also help to cultivate a stable financial sector that would allow for the facilitation of international trade and investment, and enhance the “interconnectedness” between the region’s financial sector and the global banking system, in order to prevent Caribbean banks from being blacklisted.Speaking in a local context, the President said Guyana is not only part of the regional fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, but is prepared to fight.“Guyana is fit to fight. It embarked on the path of passing robust regulations and legislation to protect its financial system from financing unlawful activities seventeen years ago,” he declared, citing several pieces of legislation.The President said agencies like the Bank of Guyana, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have all been empowered with the requisite authority and autonomy, and equipped with the technical and institutional means, to discharge their functions under Guyana’s anti-money laundering and the countering of the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.Turning his attention to the region, the President said the Caribbean, due to its location and fragmented jurisdictions, is a veritable “paradise” for money launderers, tax evaders and assorted transnational criminal cartels.Meanwhile, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, in his remarks, said that hosting of the conference is an auspicious achievement for Guyana, since it puts the country in the position to lead the regional drive in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.The CFATF Plenary of November 2016 had agreed that Guyana be removed from the CFATF/ICRG process. Guyana is therefore no longer subject to monitoring by CFATF/ICRG, which means the country has been removed from the backlisted CFATF/ICRG status.CFATF is an organisation of 27 states and territories of the Caribbean Basin which have agreed to implement common counter-measures against money laundering and terrorism financing.Over 150 participants from 26 member countries are participating in the CFATF conference. The meeting began on Sunday, November 12, and ended on Thursday.