Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday that after recent favorable reviews by global finance regulators, he does not believe The Bahamas will be blacklisted in the next round of evaluations.
“We have no reason to believe that we are facing any blacklisting. The fact of the matter is we have gotten favorable results from our OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) reviews and EU (European Union) reviews and the progress on the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), as the attorney general has previously mentioned, is progressing in the right direction and we are cutting down on the number of areas where we have been found to be needing to do a little tightening up,” Turnquest said.
“So overall our relations with the EU and our international partners is very good, the dialogue is very positive. As a matter of fact I will be traveling to Paris on November 26 to make an intervention at the global tax forum celebrating the progress that we’ve made, the partnership and the open and the positive dialogue that we’ve been able to re-establish with governments throughout Europe and the OECD countries and celebrating the milestones the global community has made toward tax transparency across borders.”
In February The Bahamas was added to a European Commission list due to “strategic deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering (AML) and countering terrorism-financing (CTF) legislation.
The Bahamas was placed on an FATF watch list in October 2018, when it only satisfied 17 of the required 40 FATF criteria. However, by year-end, The Bahamas was essentially compliant with 30 of the 40 requirements, a record similar to the United States.
At the official opening of The Bahamas Embassy of Belgium and the European Union in Brussels earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said The Bahamas passed the latest assessment by the OECD.
Turnquest said a physical presence in the EU is not just about proving The Bahamas’ commitment to compliance with international watchdogs, he said it should also benefit the entire financial services sector.
“We’ve had the mission in Brussels for several months now and this is just the official opening of that embassy. The ambassador and her staff have been engaged in Brussels putting forth The Bahamas’ position with respect to any number of matters with respect to tax cooperation and financial services and we expect that the presence there is going to have an even enhanced benefit for the overall financial services industry and The Bahamas’ trade relations with the EU,” he said.