Categorized | National News

Bills Increase Financial Services Regulation

Legislators passed a compendium of bills related to the financial services sector, upping The Bahamas’ fight to better safeguard the sector.

During a brief debate, in the House of Assembly yesterday, Minster of Financial Services, Trade and Industry Ellsworth Johnson said once passed and enacted, the bills will assist The Bahamas in complying with several remaining matters to be addressed in its Financial Action Task Force action plan.

“The Bahamas as we’re being regulated as a territory being regulated around the world is required to ensure that we are a safe jurisdiction where no act or funding or a quarter will be given to anybody who is participating in providing the creation of or of weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Johnson said. 

“And so, that is what we are attempting to do, to increase the regulation so that The Bahamas can be seen as a safe place for investment and for people to come to.”

The proposed legislative pieces include the Investment Fund Amendment Bill and Non-Profit Amendment Bill. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, in seconding the compendium of bills, also acknowledged the need to keep apace with the changes and requirements of international organizations like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

“As the FATF, in some cases add to their requirements, we will respond, taking no chances or doing all that is in our to clear the good name of our country, to re-establish The Bahamas as a strong and enduring financial services center,” the DPM said.

“We just hope to save thousands of high paying, high skilled middle class jobs for Bahamians.”

Shadow Minister of Finance Chester Cooper noted too, that the opposition had no serious burning issues with the compendium.  However, he said there are still concerns about the proposed amendments to the Non-Profit Organization Bill. 

“We find that this is an updated version of legislation we did not support, and we previously warned would be problematic among civil society and religious and other nonprofit organizations,” Mr. Cooper said.

“As usual, this government pressed on and did not listen to our good advice, so today we are here.  We are where we are.

“It appears common practice of this administration to come back for quick amendments on bills just passed.”

The deadline for passing the pieces of legislation is said to be September.  However, Mr. Cooper argued that the government had since December to propose the amendments.  

The compendium of bills is now set to be read and debated in Senate on Friday. 

It includes the Economic Obligations Ancillary Measures Act, the Investment Fund Act, the Non-Profit Organization Act, the Register of Beneficial Ownership Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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