Former chairman of the New Democratic Party Dr Linton Lewis said we as a people must always seek to distinguish between politics and reality.
Speaking on the recent indictment of Paul Manafort and the alleged involvement of SVG, Lewis said the reality is that SVG is not notorious relatively speaking for money laundering.
“ I gave an example of the 20 most notorious countries for money laundering recently and St Vincent is not on that list, as a matter of fact, there was no territory or island in the Caribbean named”.
The US State Department in there 2016 report identified 65 “Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern” and explains why they made the list Volume II: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes, St Vincent was not among those of primary concern.
Lewis said he does know why anyone would want to say with the 2.8 trillion dollars laundered throughout the world annually mainly through the top 20 nations, that SVG is notorious for money laundering.
“ If we had that sought of money coming here annually, we would have been like Monaco, so sometimes I think people ought to be realistic because they know better”.
There was a fair amount of discussion on Nice Radio following the news on Monday morning that SVG was named in an FBI probe, the former leader of the Opposition stated his concern about the country being notorious for money laundering.
Lewis said in 2000 when the country was blacklisted by the FATF as being non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering, and OECD as a country that was engaged in harmful tax competition, they argued strongly against such and he is repeating the same today in 2017.
“ If I have to say now that SVG is involved in money laundering and in 2000 I said it did not, I would be totally inconsistent”.
“ I say this because there is no justification, I have no evidence to demonstrate that St Vincent is in anyway involved in laundering money.