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Bahamas Declared "Safe" Jurisdiction Once Again

  • August 16, 2019
Bahamas Declared

The Bahamas has proven itself a safe jurisdiction as an International Financial Center (IFC), with a legal framework that is in compliance with the standards set by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which gave the country a thumbs up.

The revelation was first revealed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest from the floor of the House of Assembly last month (July), where he lauded the work of the Bahamians in his ministry who brought the country to this point.

Turnquest contended that while there are those within The Bahamas who disagree with government’s position to comply fully with the whims and fancies of international financial watchdogs like the OECD and European Union (EU), the reputation of the country as an IFC is what is threatened, and government must protect that.

“This confirmation by the OECD that The Bahamas’ domestic laws are not harmful affirms The Bahamas as a partner in the global fight against harmful tax practices and reinforces to the international community that The Bahamas is a safe place for financial services and other investment activities,” Turnquest said. 

“Our commitment to the enhancement of transparency mechanisms demonstrates yet again that The Bahamas will not be a jurisdiction that encourages or facilitates financial crimes, including tax evasion and money laundering,” 

Over the past two years the country has been bombarded with new rules and frameworks foisted upon it by the likes of the OECD and EU, and those in the financial services sector, and public sector worked tirelessly to keep The Bahamas off of any greylists or blacklists that these bodies might seek to put it on for non-compliance.

The country has been battling with the pressures of losing correspondent banking relationships and tackling a (brick and mortar and personnel) shrink of the financial services sector at large - the country’s second largest economic pillar.

But, as the country enters a new era with new laws and frameworks, Turnquest has encouraged the financial services industry to adopt and develop new tools to regrow the industry. 

This requires thought that local regulators continue to keep pace with evolving global standards within the industry and ensure compliance and monitoring at paramount in their operations.

“The Ministry of Finance will now ensure all participants in the financial services sector, including regulators, industry and other stakeholders are doing their part to monitor full compliance with all the provisions of law,” Turnquest said. 

“The Working Group on Financial Sector Reform will continue to review our legislative framework and engage with the international organizations to ensure the interests of our financial services sector are represented and protected.”  

As the world, and indeed The Bahamas, continue to move rapidly into a digital space for payment solutions and transactions, a closer watch is being kept on the progress being made in IFCs like The Bahamas.

The Central Bank of The Bahamas reported recently that in terms of the number of banks and employees in the banking sector, the country has faced a moderate decline, though it reported that the economic contribution to The Bahamas remains at acceptable levels.

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