People coming to and going from the Cayman Islands will soon have to make a declaration if they are transporting CI$15,000 or more.
The Legislative Assembly passed a bill last week that amends the Customs Law and gives the Cabinet the authority to make regulations concerning the declarations and disclosure of money.
Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said the bill was necessary to make the Cayman Islands compliant with international anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing standards adopted by the Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.
‘As a member of CFATF, the Cayman Islands will be undergoing the on-site portion of a third-round mutual evaluation in early June,’ Mr. Jefferson said. ‘It is necessary and desirable to introduce the regulations in time for them to be factored into that evaluation.’
In the future, people will have to declare on the Cayman Islands Customs form if they are transporting more than CI$15,000 into the country. The declaration is similar to the one on US Customs forms that must be completed on entry into that country.
‘As required by international standards and indeed as prevail in many other countries, the regulation will also provide for disclosures to be made to Customs – should Customs request same – regarding outbound transport of money in the amount of CI$15,000 or more,’ Mr. Jefferson said.
The House had to approve the suspension of Standing Orders to enable the bill to be read a first and second time.
Sister Island MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly asked why there was such an urgent need to pass the bill in a manner that required the suspension of standing orders.
Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin explained that the CFATF had identified the lack of the customs declaration for the transport of money in excess of certain amounts as an area ‘where we had a shortcoming.’
He said it was essentially a cleaning up exercise being made by recommendations by the CFATF and that the government wanted the provisions in the law to be in place by the time the CFATF conducted its follow-up exercise on 4 June.
‘It a rather straight forward matter,’ he said. ‘There are no reasons for undue concern, even by the Opposition.’