Sanctions Training To Help Strengthen Implementation Efforts

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Office of the Governor

(PLTM) - Office of the Governor - The Government has agreed that the Virgin Islands should establish a dedicated and well resourced sanctions unit. This follows the unprecedented package of sanctions introduced against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and the recommended actions in the Virgin Island’s recent CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report. A similar approach to sanctions has already been taken by the UK and Bermuda.

Governor Daniel Pruce, and the Attorney General made the announcement on 19th March at the two-day sanctions training. Funded by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and delivered by trainers from Sanctions SOS, the training included a tabletop exercise where agencies ran through various sanction related real-life scenarios. The training was well attended and included participants from the Governor’s Office, Financial Investigation Agency, Financial Services Commission, Attorney General Chambers, the Sanctions Unit, Civil Aviation Authority, HM Customs, HM Immigration, Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Ports Authority, RVIPF and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Governor Daniel Pruce said “I’m pleased to see many agencies represented today. 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. I’m grateful for the UK’s funding support, both for today’s training and also the setup of the Sanctions Unit, including expert guidance and short-term resourcing.”

International Relations Counsel Mrs Fiona Forbes Vanterpool, on behalf of the Attorney General, said “We all have to play our part and become more efficient and more effective to ensure that we live up to our responsibilities as credible service providers - be it, for the financial services sector, in the maritime industry, the police or on issues of ownership and possession of the assets of BVI international business companies. As a jurisdiction, we have invested heavily in deterring malign actors from perceiving the Virgin Islands as exploitable. At the same time, we encourage legitimate business and investment by doing our part to ensure the integrity of the financial system.”

The Virgin Islands complies with all sanctions issued by the United Kingdom, which are extended by way of the relevant Overseas Territories Orders in Council. The Sanctions Unit will ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of these sanctions and work closely with partners across government and industry. The Sanctions Unit will sit under the leadership of the Attorney General with Ms Kisha Frett heading up the unit as Sanctions Coordinator.

There will be a six-month transition period from the Governor’s Office to the Sanctions Unit to allow for a smooth transition and relevant training. In the meantime, businesses are asked to direct all sanction queries and requests to Governor’s Office at: GOVOfficesanctions.tortola@fcdo.gov.uk.

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