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Caribbean: Crime

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle drug trafficking in the British Overseas Territories of (a) Anguilla, (b) Montserrat and (c) the Turks and Caicos Islands. (256524)

Through the Governors of the respective Territories we work closely with the local police forces to help them develop and implement strategies to counter drug trafficking. Where appropriate we have provided financial support for these strategies, for example by providing co-funding for three retired UK police officers to establish the Drugs and Crime Task Force in Anguilla. We also support initiatives for cross territory and wider regional collaboration.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to minimise the potential for money laundering to occur in the British Overseas Territories of (a) Anguilla, (b) Montserrat and (c) the Turks and Caicos Islands. (256525)

My officials are working with regulators, police investigators and prosecutors in the Overseas Territories (OT) and have drawn up action plans tailored to each of the OT, which include projects to strengthen regulatory systems, laws and expertise. They also take into account independent evaluations of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing systems by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

Departmental funding has been used to strengthen the Financial Crime Unit in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and to update the proceeds of crime law. Similar projects are underway in Anguilla and Montserrat. In addition, the Department is part-funding the new head of the Anguilla Financial Intelligence Unit, which has brought about increases in the reporting and investigation of suspected financial crimes. Training for financial investigators from Anguilla and Montserrat has been arranged and external consultants are helping to boost supervisory practice in these Territories. We are also working with the authorities in TCI to help them to respond to the recommendations in the November 2008 CFATF mutual evaluation report. We are working with Anguilla and Montserrat to help them prepare for their CFATF evaluations later this year.