PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In what is being viewed as an urgent push to get St. Maarten to pass the Penal Procedure Code, reports have begun to circulate of undue pressure being levied on parliamentarians to urgently pass the ordinance. The idea that Sint Maarten faces the possibility of being blacklisted allegedly has some members of Parliament advocating skipping the debate and proceeding to approve the concept ordinance Penal Procedure Code.
“They just want to vote it into law, because it is said that this will save Sint Maarten from being black listed,” Member of Parliament of the National Alliance, the Honorable drs. Rodolphe Samuel said.
“Will the passing of the Penal Procedure Code make Sint Maarten compliant with the Vienna, Palermo and 1999 UN international conventions for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism”? Samuel asked adding that concerns are however being raised that Members of Parliament are expected to vote while under pressure in clear violation of standard operating procedures.
St. Maarten lags behind in the process of being compliant with recommendations 23 and 35 of the CFATF, though Parliamentarians were recently informed that only recommendation 35 remains to be complied with, Samuel asserted. Compliance with recommendations 23 and 35 will prevent Sint Maarten being blacklisted by the CFATF and the island will have the opportunity to leave the 3rd round and go over to the 4th round of recommendations.
In its quest to become compliant and getting out of the 3rd round, the Parliament of Sint Maarten must now pass the new concept Penal Procedure Code ordinance. From the interim, it has been drilled home that the passing of this ordinance will bring Sint Maarten closer to being CFATF compliant. Now it is feared by some that this same pressure may be guiding the actions of parliamentarians as the vote edges nearer.
The Vienna Convention was ratified by the Netherlands in April 1985, the Palermo Convention was ratified in December 2000 and the 1999 United Nation Convention on Financing of Terrorism has been ratified in October 2018 by 188 states. Ratification and acceptance of treaties by the Kingdom of the Netherlands between (1954 – 2010) was also for the Netherlands Antilles. Sint Maarten would have to denounce these treaties for them not to be in place for Sint Maarten. After reviewing the above, it can be concluded that Sint Maarten complies with recommendation 35 of the CFATF.
Recommendations 23 and 35 can be read below: Recommendation 23:
“Countries should ensure that financial institutions are subjected to adequate regulation and supervision and are effectively implementing the FATF Recommendations. Competent authorities should take the necessary legal or regulatory measures to prevent criminals or their associates from holding or being the beneficial owner of a significant or controlling interest or holding a management function in a financial institution.
For financial institutions subject to the Core Principles, the regulatory and supervisory measures that apply for prudential purpose and which are relevant to money laundering, should apply in a similar manner for ant-money laundering and terrorist financing purpose.
Other financial institutions should be licensed or registered and appropriately regulated, and subject to supervision or oversight for anti-money laundering purpose, having regard to the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing in that sector.
At a minimum, businesses providing a service of money or value transfer, or of money or currency changing should be licensed or registered, and subject to effective systems for monitoring and ensuring compliance with national requirements to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.”
Recommendation 35: “Countries should take immediate steps to become party to and implement fully the Vienna Convention, the Palermo Convention, and the 1999 United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Countries are encouraged to ratify and implement other relevant international conventions, such as the 1990 Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and the 2002 Inter-American Convention against Terrorism.”