A senior Barbados government minister has warned that the island is not immune from terrorist attacks, warning nationals that “we continue to be exposed to all of these things”.
Attorney General Dale Marshall told Parliament Tuesday that while he was not aware of any national being affected by the bombings in Sri Lanka over the Easter weekend that killed 352 people and left more than 500 injured, Barbados is working around the clock to safeguard against the possibility of an attack.
“I have to caution the Barbadian listener that the tentacles of terrorism, though they may not have seen expression in Barbados, we guard every single day against the possibility of it happening here,” he said, as he made his presentation on the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention Legislation) Amendment Bill.
“Lest Barbadians feel all this talk about anti-terrorism is of no importance in Barbados because we are a small domicile, I have to warn that we continue to be exposed to all of these things.
“We are a long way from Sri Lanka but the events of Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka must give the world pause because it is clear that terrorism continues to be a blight on modern-day humanity,” Marshall said.
Marshall reminded parliamentarians that individuals from Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica were being watched very carefully by regional and international law enforcement officials because of their association with “significant terrorism organisations”.
The Attorney General said that there had also been an increase in the number of “radicalised Muslims” in the Caribbean.
“I am not trying to scare anybody, but Trinidad is 40 minutes flying time away from Barbados. Trinidadians come and go, Bajans come and go and terrorism is something that knows no borders. Nobody’s passport has on it a stamp marked under employment ‘terrorist’. You don’t see that,” Marshall said.
Marshall said the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act had “a few deficiencies” and therefore it was necessary to “strengthen how that act works by way of updating definition and amending the list of scheduled offences”.
The amended legislation will result in changes to the Financial Services Commission Bill and the Corporate Trust Services Providers Act and Marshall explained that as part of changes under the Financial Services Commission Act, individuals who wish to acquire shares of more than 10 per cent in an entity would have to seek approval from the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
“This is especially important as we have individuals who are engaged in funding terrorism and so on taking controlling interest in many companies.”
Government legislator, Ian Gooding-Edghill, called for more categories of individuals be put under greater scrutiny as politically exposed individuals, arguing that this would further prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism.
“I only hope that the political class is not the only class that will continue to be pursued in this respect. I hope that oversight will be given to other classes as well . . . perhaps we need to expand the scope so that we hold others accountable as well as we are held to that very high standard,” he said.