Attorney General Ryan Pinder yesterday accused the Free National Movement (FNM) of politicizing the financial services sector.
Pinder was responding to criticism levied against the Davis administration by the FNM following the announcement by the European Union that it intends to add The Bahamas to its list of non-compliant jurisdictions next month, after it found deficiencies with reporting under the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act, 2018 (CESRA), which was passed and enacted under the Minnis administration.
“This is an FNM administration piece of legislation. They brought it. I was on the committee in the beginning, but I think they brought politics to financial services, which is usually unconventional, but we saw with their recent press release that they’ve taken a rather unconventional approach to financial services in the country. And they immediately stopped inviting me to those meetings. With respect to the actual implementation that the FNM administration did, clearly it was fundamentally flawed,” Pinder told reporters yesterday before the weekly Cabinet meeting.
“It was in a state where it was non-compliant clearly. They had three and a half years to put in place a compliant regime on economic substance reporting and failed to do it. They failed the country, they failed the financial services industry and they really should be ashamed of themselves for making this issue political, since this is clearly at their feet.”
Opposition Shadow Minister of Finance Kwasi Thompson in a statement earlier this week questioned why the Davis administration ignored instructions left in place upon the Minnis administration demitting office, pushing them to handle certain matters with global financial watchdogs with urgency.
Pinder admitted the government did not act quickly enough in amending the law, but is now putting in place a new reporting system to rectify the matter.
“We gave our assurances that we would try to work with the EU, but clearly with a fundamental flaw it takes some time to fix,” he said.
“We were just unable to get over all of the hurdles in time for the non-compliant rating. So we’re going to have to put in place a new reporting system to be compliant. We have a series of proposals in place now, we’re going through those and we will get them in place as quick as possible to try and rectify this situation.”
The Bahamas will be added to the list along with Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands.