How to deal with angry customers who insult you? A message to all those employed in the service industry and hospitality industry

I am well on my way to reading one book every week  pursuant to my new year’s resolution. This week, I am exploring “The magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. In one chapter he narrates a  story of an irate guest at a hotel who sent a telegram to reserve a room for a single occupant but who came to the hotel clerk requesting  hotel room with double occupancy. The customer insulted the clerk threatening to have him fired and questioned his intelligence. The young clerk apologized but declared that he was merely following instructions.

The author was next in line to deal with the clerk but was pleasantly surprised when the clerk greeted him warmly. The author told the clerk that he admired the way that he dealt with the previous customer. The clerk stated that he refused to be infuriated by a customer like that, he empathised with the man and supposed that he was having marital problems and that the man used him as a scapegoat to feel superior. The clerk added that “…underneath he is  probably a nice guy, most folks are…”

The author then suggested that we remember this statement the next time someone “declares war on us. He said the best way to deal with situations like this is to let the other person say their piece, then forget about it”.

We have nothing to lose by following this approach. Instead of responding to their insults , especially for those of us who work in the service industry, it is wise to hold our tongue. There is nothing to gain by charging with bitter words. The other person may in fact be experiencing some trying times and may simply want attention. Although you may find that your minimum wage does not pay you enough to take insults, I am sure by the following week that you will forget the exchange of words.

 

 

 

 

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Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Non Profit Organization (NPOs)

What are non profit organisations?

Non Profit Organisations are organisations that provide a public benefit such as furthering cultural, educational, religious, and professional or public service objectives.

There are three (3) main elements of a Non-Profit Organization;

  1. A mission that focuses on activities that benefit society and whose primary goal is not profit. It is to be noted that these organizations are usually profitable, once revenue exceeds expenses. But instead of re distributing profit to owners/staff/investors, the Non-Profit pursues public benefit purposes recognized and approved by the Ministry of Finance in Trinidad bad Tobago.
  2. No particular person owns shares of the company or interests in the company. The organization is not controlled by one person it is owned by the public.
  3. The income must never be distributed to any directors but is recycled back into the Non Profit’s mission. Non-profits typically depend primarily on grants and mission-related earned income to fund its socially oriented activities.

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF NON-PROFITS

Staff in a NPO consists of volunteers and paid staff, the former usually out numbers the latter. Accounting for a Non Profit;

Non-Profits are focused on ensuring revenue is greater than costs;

Non-profits do not use balance sheets; they will compile a “statement of financial position”, which focuses only on assets and liabilities. Non Profits do not use income statements but prepare a statement of activities each quarter. This document lists the organization’s revenues minus expenses, plus net assets Exemption from taxes;

Non-profit organizations may be exempt from taxation once they are designated as charitable organizations by the Ministry of finance.

Filing of Annual Returns: Non-profits must file annual returns with MLA Opening a bank account- By-laws are extremely important to create here.

What is available on public record ?

The  Articles of Incorporation discloses certain information such as the Name of the Non Profit, number of directors and intended employees, general nature of activities, the address of the principal office, name occupations and addresses of the first directors of the company.

The Mutual Evaluation Report 2016 and NPOs

Although NPOs are required to register with the Registrar General’s Department, there is no proper AML/CFT policy in relation to the management, supervision and monitoring of these entities. There is no targeted risk assessment for these entities nor are there adequate laws to address this which results in insufficient regulation of the sector.

The Assessors in the Mutual Evaluation Report 2016 considered NPOs to be Non Compliant for the following reasons:

  • There are no laws requiring NPOs Sector to be subject to an AML/CFT regime;
  • There is a lack of proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for violations of the standards of NPOs;
  • No evidence of outreach to the NPO Sector concerning Terrorist Financing issues;
  • There have been no adequate policies articulated concerning NPOs;

 

The non regulation of Non-Profit Organizations is cause for concern since these organizations could be used to facilitate ML/TF activity. Since the last mutual evaluation, the Assessors found that there were no AML/CFT measures in place to deal with NPOs. To date, there are still no measures in place to address AML/CFT.

 

NPOs traditionally enjoy an elevated level of trust by society at large. In light of this, NPOs must take precautions to avoid potential money laundering and terrorist financing abuse of the charitable donation process.2 

Money Laundering , Terrorist Financing and  Non Profits Organizations

Non profits can be used to launder corporate money.  “The lack of transparency around NPOs provides the donors with unfettered funding opportunities while letting them hide their identities …”3

Why are Non Profit Organisations susceptible to being used by Money Launderers?

Non-profit organisations (NPOs) are defined by their purpose, their reliance on contributions from supporters and the trust placed in them by the wider community. They often process large amounts of cash and regularly transmit funds between jurisdictions. NPOs have also traditionally operated under less formal regulatory control and generally, a less rigorous form of administrative and financial management. It is argued that the combination of these factors exposes the sector to an elevated risk of criminal and terrorist abuse (Charity Commission 2009a; FATF 2004a, 2004b).4

 

Misuse of NPO funding to launder money

The misuse of NPO-generated funds may take any one of the following forms;

Funds may be collected in the name of a legitimate NPO but disbursed for terrorist rather than altruistic means;

NPOs may be used to launder money or provide legitimate means for the transmission of funds between multiple locations.5

NPOs may provide financial support to an organisation that provides humanitarian aid, for example, but that organisation may also provide succour to terrorist activities.

Alternatively, NPOs may raise funds for a particular cause but have those funds dispensed or support provided through a terrorist group.

Misuse of the notion of charitable status Criminal or terrorist entities may elect to establish a sham NPO (in this case, a charity) but one which is registered and engages in requisite regulatory requirements. The purpose of the NPO is ostensibly to collect and distribute charitable giving but it is in reality a front for the laundering of money, appropriation of terrorism funds or for the rallying support for terrorist activities.

Gurulé (2008) has suggested a general modus operandi for non-profit exploitation, based on sham NPOs in the United States. Such sham agencies were found to:

  • incorporate under state law;
  • apply for tax-exempt status as a charity or other type of NPO;
  • undertake fundraising activities;
  • open domestic bank accounts into which proceeds and donations are deposited; and
  • transfer funds to overseas financial institutions, diverting all or some of the funds to terrorist activity.7

 

 

FATF recommends the following best practices for non profits to prevent  abuse relating to terrorist financing and money laundering 8:

Ensure good governance practices and strong financial management , including robust internal controls and risk management procedures;

Carry out proper due diligence on individuals and organizations that give  money to, receive money from or work closely with your organization;

Enter into written agreements to outline expectations and responsibilities of grantors and grantees;

Undertake internal risk analysis to help better understand the risk you face in your operations and design appropriate risk mitigation and due diligence measures;

Establish strong financial controls and procedures and keep adequate and complete financial records of income expenses, and financial transactions;

Clearly state program goals when collecting funds and ensure funds are  applied as intended;

Ensure information about the activities carried out by grantors and grantees is publicly available;

Ensure you are informed as to the sources of your income and establish criteria to determine whether donations should be accepted or refused.

Non Profit Organisations must be closely monitored in Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere because of the abuse of same by money launderers and terrorist financiers.

The author is a certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist and an attorney at law in Trinidad. Website http//:asydneygroup.com

References:

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/non-profit-organization-NPO.html

2 https://www.baalegal.com/best-practices-for-preventing-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-abuse/

3 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lucy-bernholz/money-laundering-in-nonpr_b_773771.html

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi424.pdf

8 https://www.baalegal.com/best-practices-for-preventing-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-abuse

 

Are Lawyers required to comply with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Trinidad and Tobago?

According to the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report June 2016 “there is no evidence that the legal profession complies with AML/CFT measures in Trinidad and Tobago. This is a serious deficiency having regard for the significant role played by these professional as financial intermediaries (gatekeepers) in introducing and facilitating such a large percentage of financial transactions”.

Gatekeepers are professionals who can facilitate the entry of illicit money into the financial system . These professionals include: Accountants, Auditors, Lawyers, Notaries, Company Formation Agents.

In AML CFT terminology, lawyers fall under the umbrella term DNFB-Designated Non Financial Businesses and Professions.

The First Schedule of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) captures lawyers as listed businesses but states that the lawyer is only accountable when performing the following functions on behalf of a client:

a)Buying and selling real estate;

b)Managing of client money, securities and other assets;

c)Management of banking, savings or securities and other assets;

d)Organization of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies;

e)Creation, operation or management of legal persons or arrangements, and buying and selling of business entities.

Lawyers are susceptible to being used as a conduit to money launderers to facilitate their nefarious purposes.1

It is therefore imperative that local attorneys understand their AML/CFT obligations and comply with the FIU to safeguard their practice and to retain their reputation.

Which lawyers are at risk?

Sole practitioners, small firms and large firms are all plagued by the risk of being used by money launderers and perpetrators of other financial crimes. A risk assessment ought to be conducted to ensure that measures are put in place that are commensurate with the risks posed by the customer.

What are attorneys required to do?

  • Register with the FIU;
  • Create a Compliance Program;
  • Appoint a Compliance Officer;
  • Submit a Fit and Proper Form for the Compliance Officer to be approved by the FIU;
  • Train staff on the Compliance Program;
  • Receive internal suspicious activity and transaction memos from staff;
  • Report Suspicious Activity in the SAR/STR to the FIU;
  • Undergo Continuous training;
  • Conduct an annual internal review of the Compliance Program;
  • Conduct annual external review of the Compliance Program.

How do money launderers use the legal and professional services  law firms and sole practitioners to launder their funds?

  • Creating corporate vehicles and complex legal entities such as trusts. These obscure the links between the proceeds of crime and the perpetrator.2
  • Buying and selling property can be used in the layering stage, or in the integration stage where the asset is purchased and retained.3
  • Performing financial transactions on behalf of a client (making deposits, issuing cheques, making and receiving wires, buying and selling stock).4
  • Providing financial and tax advice. Criminals may pose as wealthy individuals who need help sheltering wealth from tax.5

The issue of lawyers  providing advice to their client is controversial, as they have a confidential relationship with their clients.6

According to the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report June 2016 at paragraph 260 “Financial Institutions (FIs) have indicated that they have particular concerns with doing business with real estate entities and lawyers that buy and sell real estate due to concerns that there is inadequate AML/CFT understanding and application of the requirements such as CDD”.

The Evaluators at paragraph 282 of the MER requested that there be collaboration between the FIU and the Law Association to make the legal fraternity aware the AML/CFT legislative requirements as well as their obligations to implement these requirements.

The Evaluators noted at paragraph 317 of the MER that there appears to be a gap in the registration of lawyers. The majority of lawyers opined that they did not qualify for inclusion as a listed business since their services did not fall withAre Lawyers required to comply with Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Trinidad and Tobago? clearly identify who should be registered.

Penalties

For the offence of Money Laundering, the penalty :

  • On summary conviction,  is  a fine of $10M & to imprisonment for 10 years
  • On Indictment, to a fine of $25M & to imprisonment for 15 years under POCA, S 53 (1)

For the offence of the Financing of Terrorism the penalty,

  • On conviction on indictment for  Individuals $5M & 25 years imprisonment;
  • On summary conviction Legal entities $5M & 5 years imprisonment  under Anti Terrorism Act s 22 A (3) (4) .

When must legal practitioners conduct Customer Due Diligence(CDD)?

When the services provided to the client falls under those services described in the First Schedule of the POCA. This CDD must be applied on a risk sensitive basis when lawyers  establish a “business relationship” with a client, when attorneys carry out an occasional transaction, when they suspect money laundering, when they suspect terrorist financing or when they doubt the veracity of identification documents.7

When must legal practitioners conduct Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)?

For ongoing matters that present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, where the client has not been physically present for identification purposes or where the client is a Politically Exposed Person (PEP).8

Kevin Shepherd back in 2002 stated that “Some believe that the special relationship between lawyers and their clients gives lawyers an early inside view into crimes that could make their insights invaluable in the war on domestic and international criminal activity.”9

Lawyers as gatekeepers must start the Know Your Customer (KYC) process. “There is just no other current way of ensuring that the information an Financial Institution (FI) receives is not just a big cobweb of complexities created by a lawyer, helping the customer protect personal identification and corporate ownership information”.10

The time is coming when lawyers will be closely observed by the regulators as powerful and effective gatekeepers. Please get your affairs in order.

 

The author is an internationally certified Anti Money Laundering specialist and  attorney at law in Trinidad .
Please see the website : http://asydneygroup.com and the associated social media pages

References

1 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/criminal-activities/anti-money-laundering-solicitors-front-line-defence

2- 6 http://aml-expert.com/study-notes/Gatekeepers:_Accountants_Auditors_Lawyers_Notaries_Company_Formation_Agents

7-8 https://www.niceactimize.com/blog/Regulation-of-UK-lawyers-as-gatekeepers-for-AML-538

9-10 http://www.cypressresources.com/blog/aml-gatekeepers-engage

 

 

When you possess great treasure within you,and you try to tell others of them,seldom are you believed 

The crazies have it. I have always wondered about the possibility of  crazy people being sane ,and sane people actually being crazy. I question the substance of western medicine and the criteria used to deem a person to be mentally unstable. What if drug addicts are able to see the world as it really is? What if the homeless man ,high on his drug is really a tourist in paradise. It would be hilarious to learn how they view us,as the crazy ones,rushing to jobs that we hate ,staying in abusive relationships. We must be crazy.

It is a distinct honour to be labelled as crazy by your peers. It means that you are different and you are not confirming to their silly ideals .You are clearly different . All the greats have been called crazy before. People refer to you as crazy when they are unable to see things the way you do. A young man, who grew up in a deprived household,sleeping on the same mattress with his 6 siblings may be called crazy when he declares his intention to become a lawyer. That young man has used his imagination to create a version of reality where he can be anything that he wants to become. 

The crazies are usually the ones in movies predicting the fate of mankind ,and they usually become hermits after realising how silly people can be. The majority of the time,the crazies are right, and their warnings were ignored. They are laughed at  ,told that they should get a life. Once they get an understanding person to communicate with, they reveal their wealth of knowledge. 

In the concluding pages of the Alchemist,when confronted by soldiers and asked about their journey ahead,the old man truthfully told of their purpose and where he and the young man were headed. The soldiers laughed in amusement and allowed the old man and young boy to continue. People judge you by your appearance,and when you tell them of your goals in life ,they ridicule you. The quote adapted from the Alchemist stands true. The crazies have it.

The author is an attorney at law based in the island of Trinidad,she is a certified specialist in Anti Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Website : http://asydneygroup.com

What’s app only 868 484-7778

You cannot discipline children for things that you used to do

The children that you scold are a direct reflection of you. Children learn what they live,they absorb the activities in the environment .I listened as the old man said that his grandson stole condensed milk just like he did . Instead of scolding the child ,he explained to the child the problems associated with excess sugar . As I commuted ,I listened to the stories of the old man. He said that young parents were punishing children for the same things that they were doing. He said that this practice was wrong . 

“He bought me the dress,I like it and I am keeping it” said my 16 year old neighbour to her mother. Her mother screamed at her,advising that she ought not to accept gifts from men,because something is always expected in return. Her mother,while screaming at her ,told her of men who purchased items for her and demanded her body in return. This was a clear case of prostitution,in my legal mind. She proceeded to scold her and told her to return the dress at once.I usually listen to all their quarrels and or fights,mainly for my infornational purposes. The mother told of how she saw her daughter going down the same road that she travelled. She beseeched the daughter to reconsider her choices ,or run the risk of ending up like her mother. Her mother was by no means a role model,and she admitted that life has been hard to her because of her choices. The daughter then wept,audibly. 

The mere fact that the daughter was now accepting gifts from men,spoke volumes to me. It indicated that she was vulnerable to being manipulated by persons who had economic power. It meant that she may be willing to compromise her values to acquire the latest phones and accessories. This is a critical time in her development,as this represents her last year in secondary school. She was a direct reflection of her mother and this was a nightmare for the latter.

Coincidentally,there is a 16 year old young man residing on the adjoining property. Every evening his father argues with him. The arguments range from stealing cash,tablets,lack of interest in school. Again ,the father ,although present in his life, is not a role model and the son reminds him of this . On this particular occasion,the son appeared disheveled at the end of the school day. The father shouted that the son was fixed on embarrassing him in any way possible. The father boasted of his neat decorum after the school day. The son stated that he was not his father. He was right,but in many ways,the father saw himself in his son. 

Admittedly,it is a difficult time to be a young person. In this age of social media,internet and changing trends,it is difficult to keep up. Boys are told not to cry but men are expected to be sensitive. Boys are forbidden from playing with dolls,yet men are  expected to understand the landscape of a woman. It is confusing for a young man to understand what manhood is,where there is only estrogen in the household. Being a young woman is hard, so many expectations of you,it is difficult to meet them. The hardest part is, the parents of our generation are struggling to find themselves. They are in no position to guide us. My humble advice is to let the children love and learn. The children just may teach you something.

Even a broken clock is right two or three times a day

How important is it for you to always be right ? Reality flash…You may be misguided at one point or another . I was watching Disney Christmas movies and the main character told his son that even a broken clock is right two or three times everyday. There is wisdom in everything and everyone.We should view every thing as a learning experience. There are lessons to be learned from the young and the not so young. There are lessons to be learned from the insects,the animals and from children. If we close our minds to learning from others ,then we will stop living. I observe persons who have have a chronic need to display their knowledge. They appear condescending when they highlight the flawed perceptions of others. These victims are made to feel inferior and will be reluctant to express their  opinions in the future. Their egos are deflated and they feel personally attacked. Please remember that you are not always right.

No delay in the game

How much of human life is lost in waiting? Do not wait until the timing is perfect. Proceed with your plans . Time waits on no one . Plan and execute. You have to state your intentions to the world and put it out in the universe. It will come back to you. The elements will line themselves up. Everything will fall into place. Start today,baby steps .Do not wait until the time is right. Do not wait for conditions to be favourable,just proceed and they will follow your lead. You have to guide the way ,you will become weary in waiting . Plan ,execute and repeat . Write your plans down for your records and tell your friends about it to remain accountable . Press on.

Happiness happens when you find yourself

Have you lost your individuality by confirming to the New Age ? Are you a mindless dummy walking around on your phone 24/7 ? It is easy to fit in, just follow the crowd. Are you happy ? It is pleasing to look at the little things and be grateful. The birds in the sky laugh at us,as we rush to get to our meaningless jobs ,then we rush to return home,enduring hours of traffic,each day. What kind of life is that ? I observe the people as they pass by, long faces , no joy and a general lack of zest for living . At the end of the month,after the rent is paid,the bills are covered,the bank account loses more weight. We then wait for the next salary to repeat the process. Be brave,be strong. Now is the time for innovation,follow your passion. Sometimes when you follow your dreams,you are heart broken,then you wake up and the dream is over. But if you follow your passion and listen to your heart ,if you are disappointed,you will try again. Don’t lose yourself in the crowd . Walk in the opposite direction. Make up your mind to go on a journey of self discovery. Explore yourself ,find out exactly just how likeable you are. When you find yourself,there will be a peace within you. You will be happy,when you are happy with yourself. You must be content with the person that you became. It is a hopeless quest to find happiness in someone else.

The Return to innocence : The world through the eyes of a child

The children are the future. The children are awake and will not tolerate the injustices perpetuated by the adults of the day. I saw a child observing a homeless man on the streets of the capital city. The working class passed the gentleman with no concern for his plight. The adults were rushing to reach to their respective work places on time and could not be bothered by another human being.The child watched the homeless man as he lay on the cold ,hard street. Her mother encouraged her to increase her speed,as her little feet tried to match the long strides of her mother. The urban dweller smiled at the innocent child,with a heart filled with compassion. I ventured further up the street,and in a quick glance ,I noticed a secondary school girl giving a homeless man money. This particular homeless man was known to me,he camps closer to my area. I was shocked to see that he was plying his trade of begging in the capital city. He is known for using his salary for purchasing certain substances. It amazed me that the school girl ignored his addiction and was willing to help. The compassion displayed by these school children made me hopeful,that the future will be better.

How to determine if you are being cheated on : Look out for these signs

This generation inherited infidelity from our forefathers. We have now glamorized being the side piece and we pity the main course who is living under false assumptions. I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to a wise man. He told me that in order to discover whether you are being cheated on,take the following steps :

1.Go to sleep early ,then wake up at midnight to check if your partner is sleeping next to you or sneaking phone calls to another lover.

2. If you live together, purposely forget your keys at home,that way,your partner has to open the door for you. You can catch them off guard at this juncture.

3. Drop by their residence (if you do not live together ) unexpectedly,and carry a token of love for them,such as flowers or a meal. Ask to go inside the house and have a refreshment.Observe the surroundings carefully. 

4. Pay attention to changes in their daily routine,such as prolonged time spent at the gym or unexpected trips to the grocery that turn into a 2 hour road trip. 

5.Keep your nose open to new fragrances or body odors.Everyone has a distinct smell and when persons are romantically involved,their odors combine and may change. 

6. Changes in sexual desires or requests . Your partner may be trying to be more adventurous or simply chasing a sexual dragon on a quest for pleasure. A new lover may have exposed them to different intimate positions and they may want to try it with you.

7. Use of new slangs,or terms-we emulate the same speech patterns as those we constantly interact with,so your partner may be repeating new words that they heard from their lover. 

This may seem like a fishing expedition,but it is worth the effort to determine if your time is being wasted. The biggest step after discovering that your partner is in fact cheating,is to be willing to walk away. Indeed,you will miss your lover, but then ask yourself what exactly do you miss about them. Do an audit of the time that you two spent together. Did you give more than you received? Were you the only one inconvenienced by your meeting times or were they mutually convenient ? The end goal is to find out if you were being used. Then you have to remember your worth and walk away. If you choose to stay with your lover after you learn that they are cheating on you,then you are solely responsible for any future unhappiness. The cheating spouse may seek to exercise control over you psychologically. They may be under the impression that you cannot function without them and they will continue to hurt you.