Special investigation methods ready for parliament approval _ Today Newspaper St. Maarten money laundering methods

St. Maarten – the ordinance that regulates special investigation methods for law enforcement is ready to go to parliament for approval after yesterday’s central committee meeting. The end report on the meetings that have been held on the subject since november 15 of last year will be forwarded to parliament. The legislation is a requirement by the caribbean financial action task force as a tool to combat organized crime, especially money laundering and the financing of terrorism. On thursday, the united states department of state mentioned st. Maarten together with curacao in its narcotics control strategy report as a major money laundering country.

Justice minister roland duncan said in the central committee yesterday that not passing the so-called BOB-legislation (BOB is the dutch acronym for bijzondere opsporings bevoegdheden) will make it impossible for aruba and curacao to implement it – even though their parliaments have already approved it.Money laundering methods

“I don’t recommend not passing this law. We would have some explaining to do to our kingdom partners. Internationally we would also get in trouble. They won’t invade us, but we would see negative evaluations that have consequences for banking and that would restrict foreign investments,” duncan said.

Minister duncan came to the central committee in the company of professor hans de doelder and chief prosecutor mr. Hans mos.

Answering questions from independent MP frans richardson who had expressed concerns about the costs of executing the law, duncan said that the first year would require an investment of $1.3 million.

“half of that is for a one-time investment in training and equipment, the other half are the annual costs,” he said.

The minister emphasized that the ordinance has built-in guarantees against abuse.

“there are measures to control and there are sanctions if the rules are not applied properly.Money laundering methods that is necessary because the methods are invasive and abuse is possible,” he said.

Duncan pointed out that the ordinance is not as far-reaching as the american patriot act and that discussions in the US are underway to expand the legislation. The netherlands implemented the legislation already twelve years ago, and an evaluation of its functioning is freely available on the internet. This evaluation has also been sent to members of parliament but in spite of this national alliance MP george pantophlet asked for a copy of this report.

Duncan said that he wants to house the technical equipment that is needed to execute the methods in one location and that he wants to limit access to it to authorized personnel only. The attorney generals of aruba and st. Maarten and curacao will have to get together to regulate the use of the legislation.

Addressing concerns from mps minister duncan said that “privacy is a fundamental right.Money laundering methods but it is not absolute.”

Especially MP louie laveist, who was the subject of (unlawful) structural observation back in 2007, hammered on the invasive character of the legislation.

“there is a possibility of abuse,” he noted.

Roy marlin said that the democratic party understands the need for the legislation.

“st. Maarten should be on board internationally with measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” he said.

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