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US Embassy, T&T team up against financial crimes

Friday, December 20, 2013
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Susan Francois, Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy Margaret Diop, and deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of National Security Dr Wendy Quamina-Yorke at the ceremony to authorise the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’s Regional Financial Crimes Advisor programme and donate financial crime investigative equipment to the Financial Investigations Branch and the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Financial crimes investigators and regulators received a boost to their ongoing efforts to detect, deter, and prosecute financial crimes in T&T with the donation of specialised equipment  and the provision of expertise by the US Government. Minister of National Security Gary Griffith and Chargé d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Port of Spain Margaret Diop signed an agreement to launch the Financial Crimes Advisor programme in T&T at a signing and equipment handover ceremony on Wednesday at the Ministry of National Security.  


The US-T&T Financial Crimes Advisor programme enables an experienced financial crimes investigator from the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance to mentor the Police Service’s Financial Investigations Branch (FIB), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and T&T’s public prosecutors in their preparation of financial crime cases for prosecution.  


he US Embassy also donated US$38,000 worth of investigative equipment to the FIB and FIU. The equipment includes several multi-currency discriminators which can detect counterfeit currency, optical character recognition software to read scanned documents, cameras for surveillance and evidence collection, and computer equipment. Acting Commissioner Stephen Williams and director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Susan Francois received the donations for their respective agencies.  


US chargé d’affaires Margaret Diop said the programme would help combat money laundering and prevent funds from being diverted to terrorist organisations. Griffith expressed his sincere appreciation for the continued support of the US Government in addressing critical crime concerns facing T&T. The financial crimes assistance programme is an example of the many initiatives funded under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative launched by US President Barack Obama, during his visit to T&T in 2009.


In the first four years of the initiative, the US Government provided more than US$263 million in funding to the region, providing support to T&T and its Caribbean neighbours in an effort to advance public safety and security, reduce illicit trafficking, and promote social justice.  


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