As he takes on his new post as deputy chair of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Attorney General Carl Bethel said his primary focus is fostering regional collegiality among the smaller jurisdictions that often face a heavy hand by international regulatory bodies.
“It seems to be that the old approach of some Caribbean states that ‘I’m alright Jack’ so I don’t have to worry about you, is not the correct way to go. Moving forward, we have to have a more collegial approach as a region and as members of the CFATF,” Bethel told Guardian Business.
“So, the prime focus that I would bring hopefully during the course of the presidency would be to encourage all Caribbean jurisdictions to learn from each other’s experiences, to share information and experiences and insights with each other and not to regard everything as a competitive issue, rather to look at it as a collegial endeavor on behalf of their own country and on behalf of the region.”
Bethel’s appointment comes as the global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) continues to flag The Bahamas for not carrying out more investigations into money laundering and tax crimes and for failing to frequently identify, trace and freeze assets related to offenses.
As for how his new appointment benefits the country in this climate of scrutiny, the attorney general said The Bahamas would have a closer first hand look at how these bodies operate.
“As deputy chairman of the CFATF, I would be entitled to hold the chair of the CFATF at meetings of the FATF, which are usually held in G20 nations or most usually in Paris. So I would be able to sit at the table and observe the activities of the overall umbrella organization of the FATF in their dealings. Not only with other jurisdictions around the world but also with their dealings with the evaluations of their own members,” he said.
“This would contribute to the development of greater institutional knowledge, not only for The Bahamas but of the Caribbean region. The idea being that we should always, in matters of international cooperation, be able to share best practices and to share as much knowledge as we each have for us to assist all in meeting the challenges of improving their anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism procedures.”