Minister of Financial Services Brent Symonette defended the Minnis administration today in wake of the country’s blacklisting by the European Commission, and suggested that the European Union (EU) wants what The Bahamas has.
“You can rest assured that the government of The Bahamas is committed, fully committed to making sure we do everything within the sovereignty of our country to make sure that the financial services industry is protected,” said Symonette, who is also the minister of trade, industry and immigration, in the House of Assembly as he wrapped up debate on the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Amendment Bill.
“It is a very interesting time in that area because, not only is the goalpost moving, but they want our things, if I can put it that way.
“They want to make sure they get our business. We are a very well-regulated country. We [have] very high professionals that work here.
“…We’ve worked at making sure that those accounts that should not be here have left the country. We’ve done most things that are possible, sometimes to the detriment of all of us.”
The Bahamas was blacklisted by the European Commission yesterday due to “strategic deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) legislation.
The commission said in its press release that it conducted an in-depth analysis that “assessed the level of existing threat, the legal framework and controls put in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing risks and their effective implementation”, and that it also considered the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in determining the list.
The Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Amendment Bill, 2019 expands and clarifies various definitions, and substance and reporting requirements under the original legislation.