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Turnquest: EU blacklisting is about competition

The Bahamas’ most recent “blacklisting” by the European Union (EU) has more to do with competition than with regulatory measures, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest has insisted.

“Some of it has to do with their concerns about money laundering and counter terrorism financing, actual tax avoidance and evasion concerns, but a lot of it has to do with competition, and that is where it starts to break down, the framework starts to break down,” Turnquest told reporters in Grand Bahama Wednesday.

“You can’t legislate one country against the next in terms of putting their best foot forward, or their best offer forward, to attract business, and that’s where we start to have difficulties in this whole process.”

Last week, The Bahamas was added to a European Commission list due to “strategic deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.

The Bahamas was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) watch list in October 2018, when it only satisfied 17 of the required 40 FATF criteria. By the end of the year, The Bahamas was essentially compliant with 30 of the 40 requirements, a record similar to the United States.

“We believe again, that we have done everything that we need to do from a prudential point of view to ensure that we have a robust AML/CFT and tax evasion regime, regulatory environment with all of our various regulators, more so than a lot of the European countries or North American countries,” Turnquest said.

“If you look at the international financial press, there are some countries in the EU where entities are involved in facilitating money laundering and these kinds of things, and yet they’re not listed.

“So, it tells you that there is something else going on. So, we have to use all of our tools, whether they are diplomatic or whether they are legislative options and opportunities, to ensure that we put our case forward that The Bahamas is a safe international financial system and that we are, in fact, about doing business in a transparent way, in cooperation with our partners and providing a valued proposition to international clients who are interested in professional management of their assets. Not for tax evasion, not for any nefarious activity, but for qualified wealth management.”

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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