Barbados’ decision to shut down four international business companies over allegations of money laundering and corruption is a credit to the island’s monitoring systems.
This was the view of president of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Marlon Waldron as the sector began another year of celebrating its contribution to the island.
Waldron said the action by Government was a tangible indication the country operated a clean jurisdiction for international companies.
He told Barbados TODAY that while he did not have details on the firms’ activities, he suspected that “some information came to the attention of some service providers” who were doing their own due diligence.
“The AML [anti-money laundering] rules . . . dictate once something suspicious . . . comes to light you have to report it,” he said.
“My understanding is that the information was reported and the [International Business Unit] is taking steps to make sure that Barbados as a domicile remains squeaky clean.”
The top BIBA official rejected any suggestion that the discovery would be a blot on the country’s image.
“I am not seeing this . . . as damaging Barbados. Barbados has approximately 4,000 companies doing international business [and] four companies have been caught. That is negligible,” he added.
“As the president of BIBA and for someone who has worked in this industry for 20 years, I am seeing the positive side of this. The international business and financial services sector in Barbados has very strong regulation,” said Waldron.
Last Friday, Minister of International Business Donville Inniss revealed that the licences of four international business firms were revoked after their beneficial owners were found guilty of engaging in money laundering and corrupt practices in other jurisdictions.
In this connection, Waldron was satisfied the announcement by Government was the right move and should not have come from an agency outside Barbados.
“Can you imagine if this information had come from outside, that some regulatory body from overseas had contacted our regulator here and said ‘listen, you have four companies there doing so and so’. But that is not what happened. We, Barbados as a domicile, found it because our regulation works. That is what we have to take from this,” he assessed.
“One of the questions asked is if you have all of this strong regulation, how come no companies have ever been caught before?’ What has happened in this case is that the framework . . . captured some companies. So the framework is working.”
“It is very simple, you follow the rules. We are not sending any warning. The minister had already made it clear, given what is happening internationally, companies have to make sure they are doing the right thing,” added Waldron.