Laws are coming to help the Government go after the proceeds of crime, Attorney General Dale Marshall has revealed.
Government is in the process of developing stronger legislation for criminal asset forfeiture, said Permanent Secretary Yvette Goddard in a speech delivered on Marshall’s behalf at a Mutual Legal Assistance workshop at Courtyard Marriot this morning.
“Barbados is critically reviewing current legislative frameworks. The Cabinet of Barbados recently agreed to revisit its legislation relating to persons who benefit from criminal conduct. The Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime Bill is currently under study,” he said.
Among areas to be considered are: the confiscation of terrorist assets, establishment of formalized asset-sharing abilities between countries, a Specific Asset Recovery Division in the Attorney General’s office and the creation of a dedicated confiscated assets fund established in accordance with the provisions of Part V of Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act 2011-3.
Government was also considering the introduction of civil forfeiture legislation and strengthening criminal confiscation regimes against those who have been reasonably suspected of having gained assets through illegal means, it was revealed.
Many criminal networks use cutting-edge information technology to orchestrate their criminal activities, to the extent that they have been able to develop prosperous business from their ill-gotten gains, the Attorney General said in the speech.
The workshop, which draws together law enforcement officers from across the region, was reminded that Barbados was by no means alone in this thought process.
Based on the recognition that crime has the potential to jeopardize the region’s stability as well as its investor confidence, most Caribbean territories were moving towards strengthening their laws to grapple with the increasing sophistication and complexities of crime, the Government’s chief legal advisor said.
It was for this reason Marshall praised the forum as an additional opportunity to “strengthen linkages while serving as a precursor to formulating joint policy and legislation”, he said.
“Let us not overlook the fact that criminal activity can damage the stability, confidence and reputation of countries within the region. It is recognized that such activities as human trafficking, fraud, insider trading, identity theft, money laundering, terrorism financing and security issues, have the potential to present the region with new challenges.
“We must remember always that investors are monitoring our activities. Correspondingly, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recognizes that this is also important to develop laws and protocols to strengthen regional responses to some of these activities,” the Attorney General’s speech continued.