Friday 29th March, 2019-Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Sir Ronald Sanders, has described the 2019 US International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) on Antigua and Barbuda as ‘the fairest report he has seen in years”.
Every year, the US State Department compiles, for the US Congress, a report in two Volumes of drug trafficking and money laundering in jurisdictions around the world.
Sir Ronald has been a critic of past reports which relied on unverified information from undisclosed sources and therefore reached inaccurate and damaging conclusions. The reports, in addition to being sent to Congress, are made public by the State Department on its website.
According to Sir Ronald, “The 2019 Report is far fairer and more balanced than previous reports”. He said it takes account of scrupulous assessments of the Antigua and Barbuda jurisdiction conducted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force that found the country to be one of the top performers in the Caribbean, in its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regimes.
The report states in its first sentence: “Antigua and Barbuda has improved its AML regime”. It also recognizes that, “The government has developed a national action plan to address the issues” noted in a National Risk Assessment and that “the National Anti-Money Laundering Oversight Committee and other relevant agencies are also amending their policies and procedures accordingly”.
With regard to drug trafficking, Antigua and Barbuda was assessed as part of the Eastern Caribbean which, the report states, “have strong working relationships with the United States on drug control operations”. The report points out that, during the first nine months of 2018, “Antigua and Barbuda reported 142 drug-related arrests with 70 prosecutions and 66 convictions”.
Ambassador Sanders said: “The 2019 US INCSR confirms that Antigua and Barbuda, as a jurisdiction, is aggressive in enforcing both its drug interdiction policies and its anti-money laundering regime”. The Ambassador said that he has written to the US State Department, commending the authors “for a fairer and more balanced report”.