Saint Lucia has been categorized as a “Major Money Laundering Country” by the United States Department
of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The annual report published in March 2017, details perceived deficiencies in Saint Lucia’s anti-money laundering infrastructure.
Volume II of the report on Money Laundering and Financial Crimes noted;
‘Illicit drug trafficking by organized crime rings and the laundering of drug proceeds by domestic and foreign criminal elements remain serious problems for Saint Lucia. It is believed financial institutions unwittingly engage in currency transactions involving international narcotics trafficking proceeds.’
There remains a substantial black market for smuggled goods in Saint Lucia, mostly gold, silver, and other jewelry, predominantly smuggled from Guyana. There is a black market in high quality jewelry purchased from duty free establishments in Saint Lucia by both local and foreign consumers. Monies suspected to be derived from drug trafficking and other illicit enterprises are filtered into and washed through trading firms. Trade Based Money Laundering is evident in Saint Lucia.
The Customs and Excise Department is routinely confronted by false declarations, false invoicing, and
fraudulent evasion of duties and taxes on goods, and there is a robust approach to cash seizures and forfeitures. Law enforcement and customs authorities should be given training on how to recognize and combat trade-based value transfer, which could be indicative of both customs fraud and money laundering. The Government of Saint Lucia should improve investigative capacity within the police and courts to prosecute cash seizure and forfeiture cases expeditiously and successfully. The government should ensure its economic citizenship program is adequately supervised and monitored to prevent its abuse by criminals.’