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Anti-Corruption Investigators To Examine The Bahamian Economy

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas will come under investigation next week from the Organisation of American States to determine its compliance with anti-corruption measures.

Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed the onsite assessment as he underscored the external pressures that influenced the government’s decision to legalise and regulate the webshop industry.

The evaluation will set the stage for a national risk assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in November 2015, according to Mr Christie, who said that the country had until then to show that it has “got it right”.

“The Bahamas government will have to entertain the investigation from the body of the Organisation of American States that deals with the anti-corruption convention we signed,” he said.

“They will come in to look at the economy of the Bahamas. Obviously we have an obligation to point out the vulnerable areas and they will assess it.”

Mr Christie said: “These agencies that come in speak to the government and speak to the opposition, they don’t come back and say well the opposition jokey, or the government jokey. They speak and they draw their own conclusions, but they judge an opposition but knowing that they are not the government they hold their judgment in abeyance.”

Mr Christie explained that the injunction order granted to web shops to prevent a shutdown following the outcome of the 2013 Gaming referendum, had put the underground economy under the international spotlight.

During his wrap-up contribution to the Gaming Bill, Mr Christie said he met with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) last Thursday. The bank has withdrawn its initial position on whether they will accept the proceeds of interactive gaming, according to Mr Christie, who said that RBC’s compliance department was now reviewing legislation and regulations.

“We made a decision as the government that we would proceed on the basis of improving the regime for casinos,” he said, “to make them more competitive, we would move to regulate and make lawful the existence of web shops under the most strongest conditions.”

He added: “We will spare no resources in assuring that when we are finished, we have complied with all the rules of integrity that the FATF would want.

Mr Christie said international agencies, in addition to the Central Bank, were now reviewing the new gaming legislation, adding that the true test will be its impact.

“I am satisfied that in all of the experience I have,” he said, “that we were motivated in good faith to achieve a strong regulatory regime that could withstand any kind of test and any kind of scrutiny, and that we would put in place a fair regime of taxation, that we would do no more and no less in terms of our approach to the locals as we would do for the foreigners.”

Mr Christie added that the government was responsive to constructive recommendations on the proposed legislation.

He referred to concerns raised by Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins, who took issue that the term “servers” was not included in the bill.

“We continue to be responsive to any recommendations,” he said, “with respect to servers being left out of the regulations, no problem, even though there is an interpretation under the word ‘maintenance’ that in itself meant from a legal view servers. We will put in the bill the word ‘servers’ because we are responsive to persons who would help us build a regime that we can feel good about.”

Comments

TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

Comrades we will do just fine provided there are no requirement for examining how Bahamaland's governments have functioned since the days of Comrade Stafford and his gang of Bay Street looters?

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BSObserver 6 years, 1 month ago

Why is it that just about every time you comment you need to deflect the issue at hand? Are you purposely trying to draw attention away from the actions of the present looters?

And BTW are you aware that, when those that you refer to were unseated, the Public Treasury was actually flush with funds? That is to say we didn't start running a deficit until the PLP bandits came to power.

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TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

True there was $22 million in peoples public treasury and accounts payables were current. But they had just given away Kelly Island, and if you were Black or dark skinned, citizen or tourist you were not allowed to go with your fellow church members to the Grand Central Restaurant or any other whites only establishment. Did you forget the gates closing-off Freeport from the rest Grand Bahama? In case you forget or were too young - the gates were erected because after sundown, if you were a worker (domestic of course cause there were no other jobs for black Bahamalanders) you were required to have exited Freeport after dark. Remember Comrade when there was a black beach section for Bahamalanders and a white section for all who had enough balls pass for white? Would you give up all enjoyed today for the return of the $22 million? We still need retake every single beach across Bahamaland. Ain't no damn such thing as a private beach in we Bahamaland.

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Straight_Talk_Bahamas 6 years, 1 month ago

Sweet Jesus... we need this.

We all know that it will be near impossible for Bahamians to force the government to implement proper controls. Hopefully this review forces the Government to take action.

Bring it on!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 1 month ago

The Tribune's headline to this article should have read: "Anti-Corruption Investigators Need to Examine Christie".

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Sickened 6 years, 1 month ago

I hope that the OAS have the right to go into each licensed banking institution and gain access to all bank accounts held in the name of, or with signing authority of, each and every MP. There is no reason why this access would not be granted as the MP have a duty under law to provide similar information each and every year to the Bahamian people.

I also hope that the OAS review each and every contract issued by the Government and follow the flow of funds to their final resting place. These $20+ million overruns on building contracts SCREAM of corruption.

I am sure that they will also look to campaign financing and how all that cash got into all those t-shirts at all those rally's.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 1 month ago

its funny how even the PM feels compelled to mention the Gaming Bill in the same sentences as the Corruption assessment. How about Renew Bahamas, housing projects, BOB? But it seems the Gaming bill really has it all for a perfect storm.

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SP 6 years, 1 month ago

THE Organisation of American States will be VERY FRUSTRATED trying to determine the Bahamas compliance with anti-corruption measures.

First questions Christie will be unable to answer sensibly are:

1) WHY a Freedom Of Information Act has not been implemented

2) WHY would it take these jokey clowns another two years to get it done?

There are no reasonably acceptable answers to either question.

Christie is caught red handed doing stupidness.....AGAIN!

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asiseeit 6 years, 1 month ago

The OAS needs to examine corruption in GOVERNMENT, that is where our problem is. The political elite, certain civil servants, and their crony's are the one's that need a bright light shined on them. They say where there is smoke there is fire, well Mr. OAS there is plenty smoke coming from the set just mentioned, they are killing this country!

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BahamaPundit 6 years, 1 month ago

I ask that everyone that reads this message write an email to the Organisation of American States and inform them of how corrupt our Bahamian Government is. It seems that the Government is very good at covering up in front of these organisations. Write them and inform them of: 1. No Freedom of Information Act; 2. The breaking of a legally constituted Referendum; 3. The wasted funds on the road projects and BAMSI; 4. The selling of the majority ownership in BTC, a billion dollar company, for 80 million dollars and payment of finders fees; 5. The refusal to reveal the PM's findings on the MP that signed a letter of intent without the approval of Cabinet; 6. Non existent campaign finance laws that allowed numbers men to buy out the Government; 7. The conflict of interest of having the head of BEC owe hundreds of thousands of unpaid electricity bills. We Bahamians must be saved from the gross tyranny that is both the PLP and FNM governments. Both governments have loaded the people's money into their own pockets. Only external forces can save us and hold accountable those crooks that inhabit our highest offices.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 1 month ago

I hope they are reviewing the NSA tapes starting from now....

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Tommy77 6 years, 1 month ago

More bad news. http://s04.flagcounter.com/mini/kfoW/..." style="display:none" />

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SP 6 years, 1 month ago

Even HAITI has surpassed the Bahamas in the fight against public and private corruption.

Martelly, who took office in May 2011, solemnly signed into law, about four months ago, an anti-corruption bill that provides for tougher punitive measures against those involved with corruption in the public administration or in the private sector.

The US government -- through the special coordinator for Haiti at the State Department, Thomas Adams -- acknowledged last year that the Martelly/Lamothe government had taken more action to fight corruption than any of its predecessors.

MEANWHILE......Christie continue to duck a FOIA and cannot pronounce "anti-corruption bill".

http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headl...">http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headl...

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SP 6 years, 1 month ago

My final question.....

How will AOS determine if and where proceeds of corruption were received and kept in offshore accounts?

These guys are mostly slick lawyers well versed in under the table deals.

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ChaosObserver 6 years, 1 month ago

Here is link to AOS site for people interested in voicing their concerns and contacting the organization. At the bottom of the page is a link to the directory of people. http://www.oas.org/en/default.asp">http://www.oas.org/en/default.asp. Also they are on Facebook too.....here is link. https://www.facebook.com/OASofficial">https://www.facebook.com/OASofficial for those interested in holding the government accountable!

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BahamaPundit 6 years, 1 month ago

Awesome! Great work! Let's assist the movement of bringing change. It's high time the politicians who believe becoming elected is a "license to steal" are erased off our Bahamas map.

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killemwitdakno 6 years, 1 month ago

Start with recommending transparency and highlighting the spending and debt please OAS.

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BahamianFisherman 6 years, 1 month ago

Who really thinks the ex-drug lawyers we have as leaders don't know how to cover their tracks ? We have no one to blame but ourselves .

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