Categorized | National News

Fears of Blacklisting Over Web Shops

The government is said to still be in consultations with officials of the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) to avoid the country being blacklisted as it seeks to regulate the web shop industry.

Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters Thursday that that he will not attempt to regularise the web shop industry unless he is certain that his government fulfils the expectations placed on them by international bodies.

The legislation to make legal an industry that has been operating underground for decades now was scheduled to be tabled in the House of Assembly next week, however, Prime Minister Christie did not specify if that will in fact happen.

“I do not want to move before I know the level of international concern over what we are doing and the extent to which we conform what we are doing to the expectations of the international regulatory agencies,” he said.

The prime minister added that Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson was to meet with FATF officials in Europe as the government continues consultations on the matter.

It was also reported that as the government moves along in this process, Gaming Minister Obie Wilchcombe noted that the government is possibly considering temporarily closing the web shops ahead of tabling that legislation. However the prime minister dismissed those reports, instead mentioning what needs to happen moving forward.

“Any details of that kind, I never anticipated; I will just leave that to (Minister Wilchcombe),” he said. “I just know that we have to do a radical restructuring of the gaming board and the agencies that have to deal with these matters they would have to be, a number of people have to be hired to come in.

“We may have to recruit one or two people from abroad initially to train, because it does involve something now that even the casinos are introducing and what they have to bring in people from abroad for.”

According to the prime minister it is critical that The Bahamas gets this right if it is to avoid being blacklisted again. He insisted that things must go according to plan with regards to the various agencies involved.

“We have an obligation in moving legislation and bringing a regime in transition from where it is to where it will be,” he said. “We have an obligation to ensure that we have done everything the right way in dealing with all of the agencies that may be concerned about that.”

Prime Minister Christie went on to say that the main focus for the government right now is finding the balance between requiring the best from the industry while also ensuring that the reliability of the various businesses remain intact.

“What has happened now is we have brought everything above the surface and the question now is how do we go about conforming our legislation to require best practices from the industry itself and always having the capacity to guarantee the accuracy and integrity of the operation.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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