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CFATF Conference Being Held in GB

The Bahamas is playing host this week to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFTAF) and it’s hoped that the way forward to curb money laundering in the region will be discussed, according to Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

The conference began in Freeport yesterday and ends on November 21.

“We have to face the reality of the new world in which we exist and that is that no country can exist alone,” the attorney general said recently.

“We are all of the world trade regime, the world financial regime, the world educational regime, the world international athletics regime. If you want a Grammy Award you are competing with persons from all over the world and that is just the reality of the world that we live in today. So if we would like to have a Bahamas that attracts foreign investment or in which Bahamians can invest abroad or work abroad we have to be prepared to comply with the best international practices and that is the importance of being a member of FATF and indeed as we will be at the end of this session leading FATF.”

Mrs. Maynard-Gibson said what she would like to see accomplished is that the CARICOM in particular but the Caribbean region in general, work together to bring the expertise that exists in the region together to assist all of the countries in the region.

“The reality is as we go into the fourth round when a country comes to be evaluated like The Bahamas, 300,000 people, we really don’t have a plethora of experts,” she said.

“And similarly a country like Anguilla, a country like Haiti, a territory like Puerto Rico; a country like Nicaragua, Barbados and Jamaica we just don’t have the opportunity standing alone to withstand the scrutiny and the standards that are expected standing alone. If we combine our tremendous intellectual capital and we work as a region, we then would be able to share expertise and be seen to be working as a region. I believe that will make tremendous difference.”

She said she has encouraged the Attorneys General of the countries to envision a situation where an expert to be called upon in Barbados or in Jamaica or in Anguilla.

“And similarly an expert from any of those countries would be able to be called upon by any of the other countries of CFATF,” Mrs. Maynard-Gibson said.

“So if we are able to pool and share resources we end up in a very different situation. If I could only have us move towards and accomplish that in a year I would be really delighted. I believe that the importance of regionalism in the new world is very important. It is something that we should bring to the forefront of our consciousness. I don’t want limit it to CARICOM because CFATF is much bigger than CARICOM. The CARICOM prime ministers have agreed that The Bahamas will lead CARICOM in the area of Financial Services which means that our prime minister is leading in the area of Financial Services.”

She said Prime Minister Perry Christie has designated Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder to be the point person for the day to day operations in that regard.

“But as I indicated this is much bigger than just CARICOM. It is really about the region,” the attorney general said.

“The CFATF has members of the Latin America community as well as the French community and the English speaking community as well so it’s a bigger thrust that just CARICOM.”

The CFATF is the regional body of the FATF, which is the Financial Action Task Force, which is the body that is concerned with world regulation of the world financial system to ensure that adequate anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and anti-corruption measures are put in place.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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