Categorized | National News

Blacklisted Again

The European Union’s (EU) name and shame list includes The Bahamas – that makes it one of 23 jurisdictions that have been blacklisted.

The reason for this is the  strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) frameworks. 

Being blacklisted means EU banks dealing with any of the named countries then will have to carry out additional checks in order to identify dirty money flows.

Brussels will also invite those territories to improve their anti-money laundering frameworks, if they want to be removed from that list.

According to EU’s Justice Commissioner, the commission stands ready to work closely with these countries to address these issues.

The listing by the EU Commissioners is based on the Financial Action Task Forces’s (FATF) listing of The Bahamas and its placement of The Bahamas into an action plan.

In a statement, Attorney General, Carl Bethel, said “In the circumstances where The Bahamas has, since the implementation of the FATF Action Plan in October, 2018, been re-evaluated as being Compliant or Largely Compliant with 30 of the FATF’s 40 Recommendations (up from Compliance in only 18, in 2017) it is the view of The Bahamas that the listing by the College of Commissioners of the European Union is not a proportionate response.”

Mr.Bethel added that the principle of proportionality is a fundamental tenet of EU Law and the common law and it simply imports that the punishment should fit the offence. 

“To list a country, such as The Bahamas, that has made outstanding progress, in just over one year, in addressing the AML/CFT deficiencies identified in May 2017, together with wholly non-compliant, war-torn or even rogue States is disproportionate, and inflicts harm and punishment on a People with no regard for their important reforms and improvements in their AML/CFT framework,” he said. 

“Such a “one size fits all” approach is unworthy of established Democracies, and is an affront to their own legal principles,” Mr. Bethel added.

“The Bahamas ought not to have been listed and regrets this action by the EU College of Commissioners,” he said.

The Attorney General  said the government will seek all ways to ameliorate and, if possible, encourage the EU Commissioners to reverse their decision. 

Opposition Deputy Leader, Chester Cooper, meantime reiterated his serious concern over the consistent movement of the goal post.

“Each time we do something, they raise the bar and ask us to do something else, I find this completely unacceptable,” he said. 

“But our Bahamas and our industry is working hand in hand to ensure that we do all we can to defend against these threats to our livelihood, these threats against our industry and our country.”

Mr. Cooper called on Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, to explain why there has been a failure in his negotiations.

“He must explain to the Bahamian people what went wrong and why his intervention failed.

“The financial services industry must lay out a platform so to speak, or a strategy and a business plan for the long term growth of financial services,” he added.  

“I and the PLP will work hand in hand with the industry to ensure that we can have a sustainable plan for financial services and to grow the business to find the opportunities, to find niche businesses, notwithstanding the threat from international communities,” said Mr. Cooper.

This blacklist deals with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing and not tax matters.

The EU’s assessment in that regard has not yet been released.

However, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest has expressed optimism that The Bahamas will not be named on that list.

Meantime, others blacklisted are U.S. territories Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and US Virgin Islands, as well as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Panama and Iran. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook