Participants at the RSS ARU Heads of FIU 2021

On November 2nd and 9th, 2021, the Regional Security System Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU) hosted its annual meeting of Heads of Financial Intelligence Units of the RSS Member States. The RSS ARU convened the meeting  to encourage and facilitate greater collaboration, partnership and capacity building in the region to strengthen the strategic response to crime in the areas of financial investigations and asset recovery. This August forum supports and advances the efforts of the Regional Security System to strengthen the regions strategic response to crime and foster a zone of peace and security. The conference empowered the  FIU Directors and their representatives to more effectively execute their mandates by enhancing their knowledge and skills in evolving, emerging and dynamic trends such as Asset Management, Cryptocurrencies investigations and custody and Public-Private Partnerships. This forum provided an opportunity to showcase best practices and success stories and to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the current law enforcement environment within the Caribbean region.

Directors were immersed in robust dialogue with regional and international Law Enforcement subject matter experts in Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery.  The experts were drawn from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), the Financial Investigations Division of Jamaica, INTERPOL and  UK based consultancy firm Asset Reality.

The CFATF articulated useful guidance and recommendations that could foster a synergistic and beneficial relationship between law enforcement agencies and private entities through private-public partnerships. Other dialogues focused on tackling existing and emerging crime trends through the utilization of best practices in Asset Management and the investigation of Cryptocurrencies.

Participants learnt about INTERPOL’s existing and upcoming strategic support programs in the Caribbean region designed to assist law enforcement investigations into criminal activities, particularly in the area of tackling transnational organized crime.

The undertaking also provided an opportunity for the RSS Asset Recovery Unit and Financial Intelligence Authority of St. Lucia to introduce their collaborative project of a Cash Forfeiture handbook. The handbook is intended to serve as a guide for criminal justice practitioners, law enforcement officers and financial investigators on the seizure, detention and forfeiture of cash in St. Lucia.

Delegates to this important session were inspired and reenergized to continue their efforts to build and strengthen the framework of the region to tackle serious and organized crime through financial investigations and asset recovery. Further, the continued efforts of these key stakeholders can only lead to a safer region with a robust anti-money laundering, counter financing of terrorism and counter proliferation financing  regime.