Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in Barbados
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Money laundering is a significant problem in Barbados because the country is a transit area for illicit narcotics. The Government of Barbados has taken several steps to prevent and deter the advancement of money laundering and terrorist financing.
In 2002, Barbados passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, which implemented the United Nations (UN) International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the UN Security Council Resolution 1373.
In 1988, Barbados criminalized money laundering through the Money Laundering (Prevention and Control) Act (MLPCA). The MLPCA made money laundering punishable by a maximum fine of approximately $1 million USD and 25 years in prison. In addition to these various acts, Barbados established the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) in 2000. The AMLA serves as Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Barbados. The AMLA was instituted in order to ensure that all financial institutions in the country properly follow and adhere to compliance issued by the MLPCA.
Financial institutions in Barbados are required to follow a strict policy of customer identification and report and maintain all transactions that exceed $5,000 USD. Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) must be reported to the AMLA every time that there is an unusually large or suspicious transaction. In addition, Barbados has issued Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines to undertake the verification of every customer’s identity and to ensure that it is followed as part of the country’s evolving AML regime.
The Economy of Barbados
Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966 and has managed to transform from a low income economy into an upper-middle income economy. Due to a vast increase in offshore finance and tourism in recent years, the nation's economy has experienced tremendous growth, and Barbados is now one of the Caribbean region’s most prosperous economies.
Banking in Barbados
The Central Bank of Barbados, located in the capital city of Bridgetown, is in charge of promoting monetary stability, maintaining a firm financial structure, fostering the development of money and capital markets, channeling commercial bank credit into productive activities, and fostering credit and exchange conditions that are favorable to the orderly and sustained economic development of Barbados.
Before the Central Bank’s establishment in 1972, the East Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) was Barbados’ main financial institution. Unlike the current Central Bank of Barbados, the ECCA did not regulate financial institutions and could not guarantee its policies.
Currency in Barbados
The Barbadian or BajanDollar (BBD) is the country’s official currency and it is issued by the Central Bank of Barbados. The BBD notes are broken down into denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. Each BBD is divided into coins of 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents and one dollar BBD coins. The Barbadian dollar is connected to the US dollar on a fixed exchange rate of 1 USD equaling 2 BBD.
In 2007, the Barbadian currency was upgraded in order to increase the durability and lifespan of the note. The numeral value on the note was raised to allow the visually impaired to more easily differentiate between denominations. Also, a new UV feature on higher notes was developed. Under ultraviolet light, the notes will glow fluorescent, distinguishing the real notes from the counterfeit ones.
Other Key Statistics of Barbados
Time Zone: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time).
Daylight Savings Time: No daylight savings time is currently in effect.
Location: Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela.
Population: 289,680 (July 2014 est.)
Labor Force: 142,800 (2014 est.). Approximately 75% work in the services industry, 15% in industry and 10% in agriculture. The unemployment rate is approximately 11.5% (2014 est.).
Languages Spoken: English.