Categorized | National News

PLP Senator Says “ Gov’t Not Thinking Of Bahamians”

Opposition Senator Jobeth Coleby-Davis says the compendium of  financial bills  of  the government were not drafted in the best interest of the country.  Making her contribution on the  bills in the Senate  yesterday, she  submitted  that the governing Free National Movement is not thinking of the Bahamian, but is instead an outright compliance to  requests of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD) . 

“I know that there is a need to act in an effort to avoid blacklisting and protect the financial services. 

“I’m also aware that around the Caribbean these bills are being considered, debated and legislated. We’ve been here before and I’m quite certain this is not the end where we’ve had threats from the European Union or the OECD nation. However, one must ask at what point will The Bahamas draw the line to ensure adequate protection of the country’s second largest industry. 

“We must be careful not to tow the line without making some hard and fast decisions to protect the Financial Services Industry,” Mrs. Coleby-Davis said. 

“Some are of the belief that the OECD has an ulterior motive to destabilize our Offshore Centers in an effort to redirect businesses to their shores. And I believe this would be my second time contributing to this sort of legislation regarding changes to the legislation to satisfy the OECD’s requests,” she said.

Mrs. Coleby-Davis referencing an earlier contribution said she made,  queried the seemingly outright compliance with the OECD requests “with no sort of push back”, adding that there must be a greater form of protection by the government. 

“While  there is an important requirement to act to avoid blacklisting, the suggested pieces of legislation are not, in my opinion, drafted to the best of our ability as a country,” Mrs. Coleby-Davis said.

Just last week the House of Assembly passed the Compendium of Bills, which essentially seek to send the message that The Bahamas is open for legitimate business, thereby avoiding being named on the European Union’s blacklist scheduled to be revealed in January 2019. 

Mrs. Coleby-Davis stressed however, that she could not support the bill in its current state, and with focus on the Removal of Preferential Exemptions Bill, stated that if the oppositions amendments are considered and inserted into the bill she could then support.

However, Senator Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson during her contribution, stressed the need for the bills to be passed, as not doing so could cause reputational harm to The Bahamas that could concern its investors. 

The Compendium of Bills include: The Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Bill, the Removal of Preferential Exemptions Bill, the Register of Beneficial Ownership Bill, the Penal Code (amendment) Bill and the Non-profit Organizations Bill. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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