Is Jamaica’s anti-money
laundering regime eﬀective?
University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
Purpose –This paper aimsto assess the effectiveness of Jamaica’s anti-moneylaundering regime.
Design/methodology/approach –The research is based on secondary sources. Existing laws and
reports of relevantagencies were reviewed.
Findings –The effectiveness of Jamaica’s anti- money laundering regime is compromised by weak
implementationof the regulations. The real estate sector and the legal professionremain vulnerable to money
laundering.Some features of the economy allow criminals to circumvent the regulations.
Research limitations/implications –The research is based on qualitative analysis because of the
absence ofdata to compute quantitative measures of effectiveness.
Practical implications –Strong enforcement is required for effective control of money laundering.
Furthermore, investigation of money laundering needs to be pro-active and not dependent solely on
suspicioustransactions reports in countries where corruption is prevalent.
Social implications –Weak money laundering control can contribute to social instability by allowing
criminalsto gain signiﬁcant economic power and inﬂuence.
Originality/value –No other study has highlighted the factors undermining the effectiveness of anti-
money launderingregulations in Jamaica.
Keywords Corruption, Organised crime, Money laundering
Paper type Research paper
Money laundering is a global concern, as it increases the economic power of transnational
criminal organisations and poses a threat to the international banking system. Small economies
with weak institutions are especially vulnerable to the effects of money laundering. In
particular, there is the danger that the ﬁnancial resources criminal organisations acquire
through money laundering could be used to inﬂuence governments (Goede, 2013). Such
inﬂuence is likely to create favourable conditions for the proliferation of criminal activity. It is
also likely to undermine the willingness of affected governments to cooperate with
international efforts to control money laundering. Effective money laundering control is critical
to reduce the proﬁtability of crime and curb the power of transnational criminal organisations.
This paper assesses the effectiveness of money laundering control in Jamaica, a small
Caribbean country exposed to transnational organised crime.
2. Money laundering in Jamaica
Money laundering in Jamaica is driven mainly by organised crime. Criminal networks
repatriate proﬁts earned abroad to Jamaicafor laundering (Young, 2014). Jamaica is a small
island with one of the highest crime rates in the world. The homiciderate in 2015 was 43.21
per 100,000 persons compared to 4.88 per 100,000 persons in the USA Criminal activity is
dominated by organised networks. The Jamaica Police Force estimates that there were
266 gangs operating in Jamaica in 2015 (Saunders, 2015). Narcotics trafﬁcking is the
Journalof Money Laundering
Vol.22 No. 1, 2019
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