PM highlights need for financial services measures


Prime Minister Perry Christie

ECONOMIES of the Caribbean region are gradually changing from being goods-based to becoming service-based, it was reported last week at an international conference.

The First Regional Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Conference was held last week in order to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders in the financial services sector.

During the meeting held at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke.

He thanked Vladimir Nechaev, FATF President, for suggesting the establishment of the annual conference and confirmed the Bahamas’ commitment to fighting financial crimes.

He said: “All regulatory agencies in the region should be seen to be espousing a regional view that criminals should not be allowed to launder their ill-gotten funds and when such funds are confiscated, they should never access them again. Fighting financial crime in the region is an imperative for all of us.”

He made four suggestions to combat financial crimes.

The first is to assume the role of patron of the CFATF, to champion its work with colleagues within CARICOM and around the world as well as with regional and international institutions.

The second is for the Attorney General to pursue the establishment of “the CFATF Council of Elders”. In this forum, current and former CFATF chairmen could meet as circumstances dictate (as necessary with regional and other international experts in financial services) to review issues facing the organisation and its membership, to provide advice and to undertake strategic intervention to assist in accomplishing CFATF objectives.

The third initiative to support the “at least 75 per cent compliant” objective is to ask every member to make a special contribution towards the cost of achieving that objective. To this end, the Bahamas will again this year donate $30,000.

The fourth initiative, said Mr Christie, is that he would ask the University of the Bahamas to position the Franklyn Wilson School of Business as the leading school in the region for conferring degrees and offering courses in all aspects of financial services, including operations, governance, AML/CFT and other compliance matters.

Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Allyson Maynard-Gibson welcomed the delegates.

The keynote speaker was Mr Nechaev, who discussed the importance of forums such as the one being held and the need to have at least 75 per cent compliance at the end of the fourth round.


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