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Colleen Wainwright and Grantley Watson

Colleen Wainwright (left) and Grantley Watson after signing the Memorandum of Understanding.

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The Regional Security System (RSS) and United Kingdom have joined forces to set up an Asset Recovery Unit, which will tackle serious organised crime and corruption. The Asset Recovery Unit will be based at the RSS headquarters at Paragon, Christ Church and will support the RSS in building sustainable regional capacity in asset recovery.

The Unit is being funded by the UK’s development agency, the Department for International Development (DFID), which has committed 2.4 million pound sterling as part of its £17m Anti-Corruption Programme for the region.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out the agreement between the RSS and DFID was signed on Nov. 19 by Grantley Watson, executive director of the RSS, and Colleen Wainwright, head of DFID Caribbean.

Grantley Watson said: “Our region is negatively impacted by violence arising from drug trafficking. The Asset Recovery Unit will help countries confiscate criminals’ assets, reducing their influence and power.”

Colleen Wainwright said: “The UK recognises the importance of security and the rule of law in helping the countries of the region to develop.”

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The Unit, which opens on Dec. 1, will take over from the DFID-funded Caribbean Criminal Assets Recovery Programme (CCARP), based within the British High Commission, which has been engaged in raising the capacity and capability of practitioners, at all levels — financial investigators, prosecutors, magistrates and judges, by providing them with the knowledge and skills to recover the assets from those engaged in serious crimes.

The Asset Recovery Unit will continue CCARP’s work of promoting and strengthening legislation throughout the region to tackle the proceeds of crime. It will lobby for the establishment of a dedicated forfeiture fund to provide additional resources for law enforcement agencies, for the criminal justice system, for victim compensation and for community projects keeping youngsters off the streets.

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