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No Time For 'Jubilation' On Eu Blacklist Escape

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A top accountant has warned there is no time for "jubilation" over The Bahamas' removal from the European Union's (EU) "blacklist".

Gowon Bowe, pictured, the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) president, told Tribune Business: "It is positive news. I wouldn't call it good news, because good news would suggest it's a fait accompli.

"I would call this positive news that we are being seen as doing things that are acceptable to those making judgments against us, and from that perspective we have to ensure that we don't just stop and look at what has been accomplished today. We have to focus more on what is the end goal which is achieving full compliance by end of the year, so that we are not even sitting on a 'grey list', which is a 'watch list' if you want to call it that."

The Ministry of Finance announced on Friday that The Bahamas was removed from the European Union's (EU) list of non co-operative jurisdictions for tax purposes following a positive recommendation from the EU Code of Conduct Group (CoCG), which was formally adopted by the Council of European Union Finance Ministers (ECOFIN).

The Government said: "The Bahamas remains committed to constructive engagement with the ECOFIN and the CoCG technical committee to meet or exceed global standards of conduct and co-operation in tax matters, and to the timelines set for technical compliance and legislation to effect the same.

"The Government of The Bahamas remains committed to the financial services industry, and to the success of the Bahamian professionals who form the foundation for its continued viability."

Mr Bowe added: "We haven't been put on the white list, if you want to call it that. We have been put on the 'grey list', which is saying that we have been taking steps to remain off the 'blacklist' and become compliant. What is important is not what we would call jubilation in saying we have achieved a landmark ruling.

"Our efforts should be more holistic and driven towards how we defend our centre as a properly regulated and compliant jurisdiction, and that were are not taking knee jerk reactions to what is being required. What we should be focused on is really having a very clear and articulated plan of what we will be as a financial service centre in the future given all of the regulatory changes around the world."

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