GIS – The Regional Security System (RSS) and the UK have joined forces to set up an Asset Recovery Unit to tackle organized crime and corruption.
The Asset Recovery Unit will be based at the RSS headquarters in Barbados, and will support the RSS in building sustainable regional capacity in asset recovery.
The Unit is being funded by the UK’s development agency, the Department for International Development (DFID). DFID has committed 2.4 million pounds as part of its 17 million anti-corruption program for the region.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the RSS and DFID was signed on 19 November. Grantley Watson, executive director of the RSS, and Colleen Wainwright, head of DFID Caribbean were signatories to the agreement.
Watson said the region is negatively impacted by violence arising from drug trafficking and the asset recovery unit will help countries confiscate criminals’ assets, reducing their influence and power.
Wainwright said the UK recognizes the importance of security and the rule of law in helping the countries of the region to develop.
The unit, which opens on Dec. 1, will take over from the DFID-funded Caribbean criminal assets recovery program (CCARP), based within the British High Commission. CCARP was engaged in raising the capacity and capability of practitioners including financial investigators, prosecutors, magistrates and judges, by providing them with the knowledge and skills to recover the assets from those engaged in serious crimes.
The asset recovery unit will continue CCARP’s work of promoting and strengthening legislation throughout the region to tackle the proceeds of crime. It will lobby for the establishment of a dedicated forfeiture fund to provide additional resources for law enforcement agencies, for the criminal justice system, for victim compensation and for community projects keeping youngsters off the streets.