Parliamentarians yesterday adopted one of three final action points that should see The Bahamas removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) gray list of countries with deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes.
The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Regulations, 2019, which was passed by resolution, provides for the implementation of United Nations Security Resolution 1718 (2006) and its successor resolutions, which Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said meets another one of the obligations The Bahamas has to conform with.
“The UN has a prescribed procedure, which allows a country, legal entity or person, which has been designated as a terrorist or terrorist organization, to apply firstly to a UN ombudsman and then to the United Nations Security Council, in order to be delisted. The addition to our anti-terrorism regulations is one of the three remaining action points required to enable The Bahamas to hopefully exit the FATF’s gray list in early 2020,” Turnquest said while addressing the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
“The other two action points remaining relate to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) applying its new analytical software in the reduction of the historic backlog, which we found when we came to office. And the third relates to the director of public prosecution (DPP) and the police providing their methodologies showing how they investigate money laundering and tax crimes, both in terms of international co-operation and domestically.”
In October, the FATF highlighted the country’s efforts to address its strategic deficiencies and advised it to continue to work on implementing its action plan to demonstrate that it is carrying out more investigations into money laundering and tax crimes.
“I am advised that the methodology has already been forwarded to the FATF’s accessors in the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) and the same was approved. The road map, which will hopefully be completed early next year, involves the FATF’s plenary in Paris accepting The Bahamas as having fully completed its action plan, which was agreed in November of 2018,” Turnquest said.
“If so, the FATF will then agree on a site visit, which would take place between February and April of next year. If all goes well, The Bahamas could and should be removed from the FATF’s grey list, which was imposed in June 2017.
“This is a very small amendment that just again brings us in line with the United Nations regulations, however it is an important resolution in order to be removed from this list and hopefully get on the ‘no list’. It is necessary that we pass this, because this is one of the issues that was raised in the FATF’s assessments.”
On Monday last week, the Senate unanimously approved and consented to the amendment by resolution.
The resolution also covers any future United Nations Security Council resolutions, which impose targeted financial sanctions in the context of the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, relating to measures to be taken with regards to designated and listed terrorist entities or individuals.