AML/CFT Compliance Experts warn Credit Unions that Compliance is everybody’s business

Chaguanas, Trinidad – April 15, 2021:  Mr. Wendell Lucas, Director of the Financial Investigative Branch (FIB), Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, advised credit unions that the fight against white collar crime must be a collaborative one and cannot be done in silos.  This advice was given at the Central Finance Facility’s (CFF) Anti-Money Laundering/Combatting Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Training Workshop which took place on April 12 and 13, 2021.  The CFF’s two-day virtual training was attended by over 30 participants from 11 Credit Unions. 

In its continued commitment to provide leadership and facilitate the development of organizational capacity, the CFF brought together leading experts for AML/CFT training and technical assistance. Through participation in this workshop Credit Unions learned how to develop compliance framework, policies and procedures and most importantly adhere and comply with the financial laws. Ms. Keshma Maharaj, Compliance Practitioner and Consultant was the lead facilitator for this workshop.  She addressed critical topics including Key AML legislation, Compliance best practices and the role Credit Unions and other organisations can play in ensuring an effective national AML Program.

On day one of the training Mr. Kevin Radix from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) provided an overview of the role and responsibilities held by the FIU. In collaboration with local law enforcement, regulators and international counterparts the FIU endeavors to effectively detect and deter money laundering and financing of terrorism.  These objectives in turn contributes to a safe and stable, financial, social and economic environment in Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Radix encouraged credit union participants to not take anything for granted.  He added that in the process of loan applications credit unions should be vigilant as a number of persons are exposed to fraudulent financial transactions such as romance fraud and scams. Mr. Wendell Lucas advocated this message on day two by highlighting that Trinidad and Tobago is no longer subject to monitoring by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to the significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime.  He encouraged credit unions to exert all energies in their contributions in maintaining this status by upholding a strong AML/CFT platform so that this improvement will not be reverted.

Feedback from the credit union participants was positive as many indicated the sessions were interesting and informative.  The CFF will continue to make AML/CFT training a high priority in order that the cooperative movement plays its part in making Trinidad and Tobago iron clad against Proliferation Financing, Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.