Marriott Tackles Illicit Diamonds

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(Rapaport… March 21, 2004) In a paper written for diamond industry insiders, Martyn Marriott, executive with Diamond Counsellor International, argued that the Kimberley Process (KP) should also deal with the illicit diamond trade, reports Other Facets.

Marriott disagreed with those who say that the KP should stay away from the issue of illicit diamonds, and focus only on diamonds associated with conflict: “This seems to me to be a curious position to adopt, when in practice the successful implementation of the KP Certification Scheme (KPCS) has created a situation in which the only outlet for conflict diamonds is the illicit diamond trade. Prior to the KPCS, conflict diamonds found relatively easy access to the market in diamond cutting centers (Antwerp in particular).” Now that access is denied and Marriott explained that the diamonds must be traded clandestinely. “There is no denying that an illicit market exists and that is where conflict diamonds will be traded in future.”

Although smuggling has always plagued the diamond trade, to ignore it, Marriott says, is defeatist: “With the KPCS in place as a result of greater cooperation between all sectors of the industry, there is now an opportunity for global action against the illicit diamond trade that first and foremost will reduce the possibility of it being the end market for conflict diamonds now and in the future, but will also reduce theft and smuggling from producing countries.” Marriott added that the KPCS should create an intelligence-based mechanism to stop the illicit trade. Without such a mechanism, he says the KPCS risks becoming “an emperor without any clothes.”

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