Dear Editor,

  This article is to educate the electorate of St. Maarten more about money-laundering and the consequences that affect St. Maarten if our government does not do all in its powers to enforce this law.

  The term “money laundering” was only applied to financial transactions related to organized crime in the past. But today the definition is expanded by government regulators to include any financial transaction which produces assets of an illegal act, which may involve actions such as tax avoidance or false accounting. In a simple meaning, money-laundering refers to illegal or dirty money put through a cycle of transactions or cleansed, so that it comes out the other end as legal or clean money.

  Based on these facts, money-laundering is a serious problem in the new era and the laws against money-laundering are not completely effective because the biggest problem arises concerning enforcement. Launderers are continuously looking for new routes for laundering their funds. Economies with growing or developing financial centers, but inadequate controls, are particularly vulnerable as established financial center countries implement comprehensive anti-money-laundering regimes.

  Differences between national anti-money laundering systems will be exploited by launderers, who tend to move their networks to countries and financial systems with weak or ineffective countermeasures.

  What is the connection with society at large? The possible social and political costs of money-laundering, if left unchecked or dealt with ineffectively, are serious. Organized crime can infiltrate financial institutions, acquire control of large sectors of the economy through investment, or offer bribes to public officials and indeed governments.

  Most importantly, however, targeting the money-laundering aspect of criminal activity and depriving the criminal of his ill-gotten gains means hitting him where he is vulnerable. Without a usable profit, criminal activity will not continue.

  FATF blacklist: The FATF blacklist was the common shorthand description for the Financial Action Task Force list of “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” (NCCTs). Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority compiling a list (or blacklist) of people, countries or other entities to be avoided or distrusted as not being acceptable to those making the list. A blacklist can list people to be discriminated against, refused employment, or censored.

  My point is, any candidate who does not understand or who does not care about ensuring St. Maarten upholds and enforces the money-laundering laws is a person not credible and worthy of your vote.

  These are some of the consequences that can happen. St. Maarten’s economy is based on tourism. If St. Maarten is blacklisted and it appears to the United States of America that St. Maarten is not complying or intentionally not enforcing the money-laundering laws they can block all US airlines from flying to St. Maarten, they can establish a trade embargo, which is a governmental order to restrict trade of certain goods or all goods entirely with St. Maarten. This typically stems from political differences between the two nations or economic circumstances that make commercial trade undesirable.

  God forbid, if that happens St. Maarten’s economy will go in a freefall which will have dire consequences for the people living in St. Maarten.

  The electorate of St. Maarten, make it your business to make sure all political parties take the FATF seriously. Choices have consequences, choose wisely.


The Patriot Miguel Arrindell