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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Oct 14, 2021 - 8:08:16 PM


Remarks by Attorney General Ryan Pinder - BACO Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLRO) Day
Oct 14, 2021 - 4:15:29 PM

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Speaking Notes – Attorney-General
BACO Money Laundering Reporting Officers (“MLRO”) Day 14 October 2021
Theme - “Critical Time = Decisive Measures. Effective Financial Crime Compliance Programs for 2021 and Beyond”

Good morning to the senior executives of BACO, President Maria Dorsett and team, members of this august body. It is indeed my pleasure to bring remarks and I wish to thank the President and her team of officials for inviting me to address you on this your annual MLRO Day. As you know, I claim to be a longtime friend of this great organization. BACO is an institution that has demonstrated itself to be maybe one

of the most successful and effective professional associations if not in this hemisphere, certainly this region. Because of the efforts of BACO, and events like we are holding today, Bahamian compliance professionals are thought of as the very best in their field, where colleagues from throughout the world call you to consult, get advice and answers. I want to congratulate the executive of BACO for keeping up the tradition of excellence, causing our Bahamian compliance professionals to be the very best.

Your theme for today - “Critical Time = Decisive Measures. Effective Financial Crime Compliance Programs for 2021 and Beyond” – is a most timely one. Certainly ensuring compliance with international best practices does demand decisive measures, but I also want to emphasize survival in this era of what seems to be constant change also requires decisive measures in product development, new offerings and active promotions in order to effectively differentiate

ourselves and ensure a growing industry. I don’t want you to forget that as we advance ourselves as an industry and as a country. Innovation is still the tool of success and growth.

I want to touch on our recent history of compliance as a country, compliance with the various international initiatives that we face daily. Over the last 5 - 6 years, The Bahamas has been in a ‘Fight for our Lives” mode. We have endured 3 black or Grey Listings aimed at our financial services sector - The EU non-cooperative countries on Tax Matters, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey Listing and the EU Anti-money laundering (AML) Blacklisting. I am pleased to say that we have been delisted from all except the EU AML Blacklist with the tremendous efforts of the public and private sectors working together to tackle the challenges that face us. We are working with the EU Director General for Financial Stability to get the country delisted from this last list. We hope to receive some feedback in short order.

During this crucial period The Bahamas have passed a compendium of legislation –

a) updating financial sector regulatory, company, anti- money laundering, anti-terrorism, anti-proliferation statutes; and,

b) containing new legislation covering the common reporting standards, commercial entities (substance reporting), automatic exchange of account information with EU Global Forum members and The Bahamas and US foreign tax agreement.

As can be deduced from the heavy legislative agenda noted above, our tax regime, our anti-money laundering, anti- terrorism, and anti-proliferation regimes have been strengthened and enhanced to meet the many varied challenges The Bahamas has faced. The compendium of legislation has assisted in bringing the country’s regulatory and AML/CFT/CFP regimes on par with international best practices. However, implementing the laws and undergirding them with the appropriate sustaining infrastructure and manpower has been difficult with a country that has been battling back from –

    a)  Hurricane Dorian which wiped out about 25% of our GDP and devastated two of our most critical economic engines – Abaco and Grand Bahama; and,

    b)  the destruction that befell our economy and people from the worst Pandemic to hit mankind – COVID19.

Notwithstanding the difficulties faced over the last 6 years, The Bahamas has held its own and we have been able to reflect the resilient nature of our people as we were able to work through the FATF International Cooperation Review Group process and successfully exit the Grey-listing on the 18 December 2020. We do believe that we have also been able to submit a good case for the country to be de-listed from the EU AML blacklist and is currently awaiting further communication from the office of the EU Director General for the Financial Stability regarding same. We are quite aware that all efforts ought to be concentrated on such de- listing due to the negative impact it has had on financial services and the wider economy in transacting business with Europe.

It is a critical time for divisive measures in the fight to secure our financial centre from being in the ‘Head Lights’ of international agencies and economic blocks such as the OECD and the EU. Some of these measures have already bore fruit and some are ‘in play’ as noted before with the EU DG Financial Stability. We will need the industry and professionals such as yourselves and all stakeholders of the financial sector to do your part in ensuring as ‘gatekeepers’, entities and individuals that seek to abuse our financial institutions, products and services are snared in their schemes and scams and any penetration of our systems...TO CONTINUE SEE ATTACHED


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