||Last Updated: May 6, 2020 - 3:46:46 PM
According to media reports, the European Union (EU) is set to include The Bahamas on an adverse list of countries that pose financial risks to the EU due to weaknesses in our anti-money laundering and terrorist financing framework.
- DNA condemns this course of action during global pandemic and economic crisis
- Our laws and regulations continue in line with international best practices
- Finance Minister seems to have been blindsided again
- Government needs to improve diplomacy and alliances to halt these assaults
- Officials needs to protect what’s left of our Financial Services Industry
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) condemns this course of action by the EU in the midst of a major public health and economic crisis facing our nation and world at large. This is especially disturbing because The Bahamas has carried out extensive upgrades to our laws and regulations in line with international best practices and standards. These changes have come at significant costs to the financial services industry and in some cases, have put our nation at a competitive disadvantage based on the cost of Compliance.
According to the Attorney General, “The Bahamas has not received any advance notification or warning at any diplomatic level.” Media reports quote the DPM and Minister of Finance as stating that he will “have to research and see what this is about now". Once again, we are being told by our government that we have been blindsided by the actions of EU. This is in spite of the establishment of a Bahamas Mission to the EU in Brussels last year, appointment of an Ambassador and allocation of resources to ensure that The Bahamas’ interest is represented and we are kept abreast of developments of this nature.
The government must effectively use diplomatic channels and alignment with other nations to address this ongoing assault on our financial services industry. Many will recall that the initial version of this blacklist was brought to light more than one year ago but was abandoned following its rejection by the US and other countries due to the inclusion of US territories and Saudi Arabia. What did our government do over this period to prevent this blacklist?
We are a country with a robust legislative and regulatory system to fight financial crimes. This has to count when blocs and international organizations decide to create their blacklists. In fact, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had recognized this and was in the process of removing The Bahamas from their grey list. We denounce the continuous addition of The Bahamas on blacklist after blacklist to the detriment of financial institutions and professionals within The Bahamas.
When will our government stop being blindsided and actually protect what is left of our financial services industry? We are facing an economic crisis and unemployment is set to rise significantly. Tourism – our number one industry has already been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and now the EU is further threatening financial services - our number two industry. This needs to stop. It is time for us to stand up and fight for the livelihood of our people.
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Democratic National Alliance
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