In keeping with a recent recommendation from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, the Virgin Islands government is establishing a dedicated unit to handle sanctions like the ones that have been levied against Russia after it invaded Ukraine in 2022.

To help facilitate the process, which officials said will be similar to steps already carried out by the United Kingdom and Bermuda, a two-day sanctions training was held last month. Funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the session was delivered by trainers from the UK-based company Sanctions SOS, according to government.

It included a tabletop exercise where agencies ran through various sanction-related scenarios.

Agencies represented

Attendees included representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Financial Investigation Agency, the Financial Services Commission, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Sanctions Unit, the Civil Aviation Authority, His Majesty’s Customs, the Immigration Department, the VI Shipping Registry, the BVI Ports Authority, the Royal VI Police Force, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, according to a government press release issued Tuesday.

‘A vital tool’

“I’m pleased to see many agencies represented today,” said Governor Daniel Pruce. “Sanctions are a vital tool in cutting off funding streams to the Putin regime and stopping those close to the regime from benefitting from western services. That’s why today’s training is so important and will help continue to strengthen our efforts to implement sanctions effectively.”

Mr. Pruce also thanked the UK for funding support for the training and for helping to set up the new unit.

Speaking on behalf of Attorney General Dawn Smith, International Relations Counsel Fiona Forbes-Vanterpool said the territory has “invested heavily in deterring” bad actors from exploiting the territory.

“At the same time, we encourage legitimate business and investment by doing our part to ensure the integrity of the financial system,” she said.

Issued by the UK

The VI complies with all sanctions issued by the UK, which are extended by way of Overseas Territories Orders in Council, according to government.

The Sanctions Unit will work with the government and private sector to help ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of such sanctions, the press release stated. It will sit under the leadership of the attorney general and be headed by Sanctions Coordinator Kisha Frett.

There will be a six-month transition period where responsibilities currently held by the Governor’s Office are transferred to the Sanctions Unit, according to government.

In the meantime, businesses are asked to direct all sanctions-related queries and related requests to the Governor’s Office by sending an email to