As the United Kingdom and her overseas territories prepare for the annual Joint Ministerial Council in November in London, they sent representatives to the Virgin Islands last week for a high-level meeting aimed at combatting illicit financial flows.

The session, which started on Tuesday and continued till Thursday, was hosted by Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

“The purpose of this meeting is to provide a platform for open dialogue and collaboration focusing on themes of transparency, financial integrity, and collective efforts to combat illicit finance through enhanced cooperation,” Ms. Smith said earlier this month in the House of Assembly.

The meeting was co-chaired by the VI government and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.

“Members may recall that the establishment of a ministerial-level dialogue aimed at addressing illicit finance was agreed upon during the Joint Ministerial Council between UK and OT ministers earlier this year in May,” Ms. Smith said. “This senior officials’ meeting marks an important step leading up to the joint ministerial-level dialogue between OT governments and the UK, which is scheduled for November.”

Criminal networks

The deputy premier added that the VI and other OTs, like the UK itself, operate as global financial centres. As such, she said, they face common challenges and share mutual interests in stopping illegal cross-border financial transactions.

“Criminal networks are becoming more sophisticated in exploiting stable financial systems for illicit financial flows,” she added. “It has therefore become crucial for countries to collaborate, share expertise, and find more effective ways of working together.”


Officials from the governments of Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the UK were expected to attend the meeting in person, Ms. Smith said earlier this month.
Representatives from the Falkland Islands and St. Helena were invited to participate virtually.