Categorized | National News

International Bodies to Evaluate Financial Sector

Government Leader in the Senate Allyson Maynard Gibson urged her fellow colleagues to support the gaming legislation for the sake of the country’s reputation and economic future, she warned that the government is now preparing to face an ‘aggressive evaluation’ from international bodies on the country’s risk for money laundering and financing of terrorism.

These risks will be brought to light, scrutinised and put under a microscope by three international organisations, on that note Mrs. Maynard-Gibson emphasised that the regulation of the web shop industry is needed now more than ever before.

“Dates have been set for the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN) to conduct their anti-corruption evaluation of The Bahamas this year, one in September, the OAS one starts today (Monday), in November this year the World Bank is going to assist us in analysing our country’s risk to money laundering, it’s called a country’s risk assessment so we have three significant events, we have the World Bank assisting with the country’s risk assessment, we have OAS and the UN’s anti-corruption evaluation,” she said.

“Faced with these realities and the responsibilityof putting in place measures to protect and enable growth of the Bahamian economy, this government has done what every responsible government would do, it has brought forward this legislation.”

Mrs. Maynard Gibson’s comments came while leading off debate on the controversial gaming bill in the upper house on Monday.

The attorney general also warned that the failure to regulate the web shop industry could have serious consequences as the country could be faced with an international reputation fall out or even worse, being black listed again.

“We know from consultations that I have had not only with international but with stake holders nationally, that an unregulated or an underground business will present a very serious risk for money laundering and the possibility of financing terrorism in our jurisdiction,” she said.

“For us to sit here and ignore that risk would not be governing and the next generation would look at us as very irresponsible and in so doing we will jeopardise the national development.”

She added that this passing of the bill is in the best interest for the country’s economy, as some 3,000 jobs will be birthed from the regulation of the industry.

“These bills cannot pass parliament unless we support them ,for we are a part of that dispensation we are about economic empowerment of our people, this is our country as we want to have our people not only be in charge politically but also to create an economic frame work for Bahamians to own the Bahamian economy,” she said.

Overall, Mrs. Maynard Gibson said it would have been reckless for the government to ignore the implications of leaving the industry unregulated despite the resounding No vote from the referendum.

Finally, she assured that the gaming legislation has met Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements and is in accordance with international best practices.

However, Free National Movement (FNM) Senator Kwasi Thompson went at length to express his opposition to the Gaming Bill and stressed that he will continue to stand with the Bahamian people who voted No in last year’s referendum.

He further slammed the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for betraying the people’s trust.

“I firmly believe this bill will only provide a substantial financial benefit to select few but for the majority of Bahamians some of whom suffer from addiction, those who would promote high values for their children, those who believe that this is not what The Bahamas should be encouraging for them it is not a good day in The Bahamas,” he said.

Debate on the Gaming Bill continues in the Senate.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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