Sangster Int’l tightens anti-money-laundering strings
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Karen Clarke Davis has expressed optimism that the number of money-laundering cases against airline passengers that often get thrown out of court on technical grounds will soon be reduced.
Her confidence is hinged on yesterday’s handing over of facilities at Sangster International Airport geared towards strengthening local anti-money-laundering efforts.
“No longer will travellers be able to say there were no forms. No longer will attorneys come and scour the airport to see whether or not their clients were fully au fait that the requirement is such that if they have cash in excess of US$10,000, or its equivalent, a declaration must be made,” Clarke Davis said.
“Too many times cases have been thrown out of court because of technicalities,” she added.
Clarke Davis was addressing a ceremony at the airport during which the security ministry handed over to the Jamaica Customs Agency a designated room for verifying the amount of cash leaving the country, as well as mounted signage which advertises to travellers the declaration requirements under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Under Section 101 of the 2007 Proceeds of Crime Act, the Currency Transportation Form (CTR) was established as part of the overall framework to combat organised criminal activity, particularly money laundering. This requires that all travellers leaving or entering Jamaica must declare cash or bearer negotiable instruments in excess of US$10,000 or its equivalent in any other currency.
Bearer negotiable instruments include postal orders, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques, bearer bonds, bearer shares, travel cards, bills of exchange and gift certificates.
Failure to report such to a customs officer may result in confiscation of the cash being transported, a fine not exceeding J$250,000 or treble the amount of cash transported, whichever is the greater, or imprisonment to a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Senior Director for the Western Region of the Jamaica Customs Agency Claudette Coombs said such a project will assist in strengthening the capacity of the airport in the fight against money laundering, which she says fuels international terrorism.
“We are confident that by working closely together, our success here at MBJ (Montego Bay Jamaica), operators of Sangster International Airport, and by extension those of our country will be achieved,” Coombs said.