Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, recently at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has defended remarks he made at the United Nations last week regarding the European Union blacklisting, saying the time has come for these nations to account for what they have done to countries like The Bahamas.
He told reporters that his “cry” at the UN last week was also made to ensure the body takes over the policing of the anti-monetary and anti-laundering and terrorist financing regime to make it more “fair” for small island developing states.
Last week before the UN, Mr Davis, commenting on the EU blacklisting asserted that “black-governed countries also matter”.
Asked about his comments yesterday, he doubled down on his assertions.
“What I said is that the evidence is mounting that the targeted countries for blacklisting or uncooperative countries appear to be, they all, if you look at the list, you will find that they’re all small. Find that they’re vulnerable, and you all find that the EU, they were either colonies or one of EU states,” he said.
“And that suggests to me and it’s compelling evidence to suggest that black governed countries don’t appear to matter to the European Union and my cry was to ensure that the United Nations take over the policing of the anti-monetary and anti-laundering and terrorist financing regime to make it more fair for small island developing states like ours.”
Mr Davis asserted he is speaking for The Bahamas and “we are being hurt by countries outside our realm.”
“The time has come for them to account for what they’re doing and doing to us. And I’m not gonna sit idly by and not make the case for our country,” he said.
Asked if as the finance minister he was ready to do what needs to be done in regards to tax reforms for compliance, the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said he just wants nations like ours to be treated fairly.
He said: “First of all, what we want to be able to do is do the same thing that the big countries are able to do and so if they require me to pass a bill that impacts the financial services industry — I’d like to know that they’re doing the same thing.
“Our regime is set up to suit our purpose and we are the most regulated. We’re one of the most best regulated financial jurisdictions in the world but still there appears to be this constant, moving of the goalposts and there’s constant assault on countries like us, and I’m not gonna stand idly by without having to say anything about it. I need to let the world know.”
Yesterday, Mr Davis also addressed the renewed criticism regarding his administration’s travel spending. The government’s travel spending ignited further opposition attacks after it was revealed recently by Tribune Business that the total $11.8m outlay for the 2021-2022 fiscal year exceeded budget allocations by 11.1 percent.
The country’s leader argued that The Bahamas cannot isolate itself and must look outward to make relationships.
“We are a small vulnerable country and we cannot operate on what I call an isolationist policy. We have to engage the world - that is why we are doing well.
“We’re not doing well because we are an isolationist country. We are dependent on what’s going on around us,” he said.
“The United States, Canada and those large countries, they could perhaps practice isolationist policies, but we are unable to do that. Otherwise, we will revert to our country, our people suffering more or being worse off then they are. So the issue of travel and the costs of travel - I’m not on any frolic of my own. When I’m frolicking on my own, my own funds are used.”