The Office of National Drug & Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) culminated its week-long activities with a Staff Appreciation Luncheon which was held on Friday, 7th February, 2014. This week of activities commenced on Monday, 3rd February 2014 and was done in celebration of its 17th Anniversary and in recognition of the work done by the members of the Agency. The activities included a Thanksgiving Service, a presentation on the economy by Ministry of Finance technicians, a Fun Day and Debates held among the different teams.

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(The Very Rev. Dean Smithen (left) being thanked by Lt. Col. Croft (right) for officiating the Service of Thanksgiving)

At the Appreciation Luncheon guests spanning the government, law enforcement, financial institutions, Regulators and the Judiciary along with others were present in support of the ONDCP staff.

The Director of the ONDCP, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft addressed the attendees speaking about the successes of the organisation in 2013. The Agency welcomed new staff members which led to improved operations in each department. The Financial Intelligence Unit received more Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with a notable increase in submissions from the Internet Gaming Sector and the Money Remitting Services. They also provided training to over 490 persons from various institutions. The Financial Investigation Department recorded an increased number of forfeitures and confiscations, totalling 1.1 million dollars. The Financial Compliance Unit was able to improve its efficiency by recording a 285% increase in the number of financial institutions being examined for AML/CFT compliance. Additionally, the Counter Narcotics Team arrested 18 persons, seized over 657 lbs of cannabis and 22 kilos of cocaine which were destined for the streets of Antigua and Barbuda.

Another noteworthy success was the Financial Action Task Force’s decision to move Antigua & Barbuda from the Public Statement indicating concerns about its AML/CFT (Dark Grey List) reforms to the Compliance Document which was due to improved AML/CFT measures that is Antigua and Barbuda had addressed substantially all of the technical deficiencies in its action plan and had demonstrated sustainable momentum towards implementation. However, Lt. Col. Croft spoke about the need for more resources, more training and more staff for the Agency to continue to effectively combat drug trafficking, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Following this address, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda commended the Agency on its many accomplishments over the years and pledged the continuing support of his Government. He also spoke of how instrumental the ONDCP was in creating the opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda to host regional law enforcement related courses. He commended the collaboration between the various law enforcement and regulatory entities which had greatly strengthened the fight against organised crime.

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The celebrations concluded with the presentation of awards to deserving Agency members. Ms. Sandra Joseph, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the award to the Winning Team of the Week of Activities. The Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Winston Baldwin Spencer presented the Department Employees of the Year Awards while the Governor General, H.E. Dame Louise Lake-Tack presented the Director’s Awards.

Appreciation was expressed to the all who contributed to the success of these events.

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