Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Washington Uni of Barbados saga a red flag for Int’l Business sector

President of BIBA Julia Hope is excitedly looking forward to this year's International Business Week.

President of BIBA Julia Hope is excitedly looking forward to this year's International Business Week.

At present, the President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) is not aware of any detrimental consequences to the International Business sector in Barbados following the recent reports and investigations surrounding the Washington University of Barbados (WUB) and its Chief Executive Officer.

However, Julia Hope says that these circumstances highlight a need for even more effort and care to be integrated when working with players looking to enter our jurisdiction.

 Speaking to Loop News she said:

"I haven’t heard anything particularly negative [since news of the WUB's CEO being charged and remanded], but I do think that we obviously have to do our due diligence very carefully before we do conduct business with anyone wanting to do business in Barbados."

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She highlighted the fact that as Barbados looks to further diversify its services and products within the International Business sector, "Education and Medical Tourism are two very, very big areas that people are very much interested in. So I think the understanding from what we have seen with the recent case is that absolutely, 100 per cent, do the due diligence and make sure that the parties that are involved are ones that you want to do business with."

The CEO of WUB, Rao Venkata Gopi is on remand in HMP Dodds from Monday, October 8. He faces charges in two jurisdictions - District A and District C. Meanwhile the WUB Director Deoraj Jaimangal Dalchand is currently assisting police with the investigations.

Barbados is a jurisdiction of integrity

With the Attorney General Dale Marshall speaking to Barbados upholding its commitment to complete Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing legislation as recently as Tuesday during parliament as he led the debate on the Law Reform and Law Revision Bill, 2018, Hope said that Barbados is a cut above some jurisdictions in this area but more can be done. 

"It is a difficult one and a challenging one with the Anti-Money Laundering legislation because what Barbados does when you look at some other jurisdictions, we’re actually doing a lot of very good and positive work. 

"And in terms of opening bank accounts and setting up companies, the amount of information that is processed and is required from people. When we’re dealing with people from overseas, they can’t believe how much information we are asking for. So we are actually already doing quite a fantastic job in terms of gathering the AML (Anti Money Landering) and KYC (Know Your Client) information, so that would be the passports, utility bills, everything you get to identify the person that you’re doing business with, however as good as you get, and as diligent as you become, the criminals also then find methods and means to undermine what you are currently doing."

Therefore, with criminals staying current, she said, she believes that there are additional measures that probably could be taken and we need to work to stay ahead of persons who wish to infiltrate with deceptive and deviant means.

Presently, she shared that we are under a "mutual evaluation peer-review," which LOOP News believes pertains to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF does mutual evaluations on an ongoing basis to check members' levels of implementation of the FATF recommendations.

And on that front she asserted:

"Right now, [with the mutual evaluation underway] the intent there is for Barbados to absolutely come out on top in terms of it is a jurisdiction of integrity, and a jurisdiction where people want to do business because they know it is very well regulated."  

Hope was talking on the sidelines of the ceremony to launch the 10th Anniversary of the international Business Week  at Invest Barbados in Hastings, Christ Church, this morning, Thursday, October 11, 2018.


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