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Call for government to confirm position of banks on webshops

Branville McCartney

Branville McCartney

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

DNA Leader Branville McCartney yesterday urged the government to confirm whether international financial institutions are “okay” with local banks accepting webshop money before the new Gaming Bill is passed.

At press conference, Mr McCartney said the Bahamas risks being “blacklisted again” if the legislation does not stand up to international scrutiny on anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF).

“We have not heard from this government in relation to the international monetary and financial institutions regarding whether or not they will recognise banks who accept money from webshops. You may recall a few weeks back, we had several banks speaking about their concerns about being able to accept money even if they pass this Bill.

“Their concern was whether or not they as banking institutions will be able to accept money coming in from the web shops in light of the concerns of the international financial institutions,” he said.

“The government, through the attorney general, sent persons to inquire about this concern. We have not to date heard from the government regarding whether or not, notwithstanding the passage of the gaming legislation, whether the banks would be able to accept funds coming from webshops. We have not heard anything and I can almost guarantee you that if it was a positive response from the international community we would have heard it a long time ago.

“So we have to be careful. I put the country on notice and the government and the opposition on notice that if they get it wrong and we start accepting money from the webshops we can be blacklisted again.

“So we are asking the government to confirm to the people, that once they pass this legislation that the international financial institutions are okay with it, because if they are not then the banks in the Bahamas will not be able to accept funds from the webshops and we will be back to where to started.”

In February, Commonwealth Bank’s president Ian Jennings told Tribune Business that the country risked being “blacklisted” again by the G-20 nations due to the potential money-laundering risk presented by the web shop gaming industry.

He explained that the webshop “status quo” was untenable and left the Bahamas exposed to heightened regulatory scrutiny – and potential sanctions – by the world’s largest economies and their OECD-type forums.

RBC Royal Bank Bahamas also confirmed that it was not allowed to do business with webshops regardless of their regulatory status given “high risks” and policy restrictions.

During her contribution to the budget debate in the Senate in June, the Attorney General underscored the country’s risk for blacklisting if the underground economy is not regulated.

She pointed to the economic downturn as a result of the Financial Action Task Force’s decision to blacklist the Bahamas in 2000 as a “non-compliant” country with alleged financial regulatory weaknesses that could facilitate money laundering.

Comments

TalRussell 9 years, 9 months ago

Comrade Bran as head one of Bahamaland's respected law chambers you must know why the PM and his cabinet colleagues have plans to levy a fine for past law-breaking going back some six years? This government is about to pass "after da fact" laws, believing their PLP vote supremacy in the "Peoples" House of Assembly can damn well pass any law it wishes? They will disregard Bahamaland's constitution, all while laughing at the native voters democratic expressions at same time. Comrade leader Bran, I thought you done know they true intentions? It's called "regularizing' the numbers rackets, regardless of what it takes or whom they's piss-off? Something they been waking-up and doing to the native, since 2012. This government does not respect mild protests by the natives, so turn up the volume or save your marches their energies in two weeks. My footnote to Bran: Comrade did you also miss the part where they will 'regularize' but (4) numbers men's operations?

Honestman 9 years, 9 months ago

It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General has not received the assurances she needed to receive from the Financial Action Task Force that international banks based in the Bahamas will be able to accept deposits from "legalized" web shops. So what to do Prime Minister? Well, let's resort to your usual tactic of burying your head in the sand and pretend that there is no issue. Meanwhile let's plough on with the legislation in the hopes that a fairy pops up to wave a magic wand and make it all work out. Does anyone still believe in fairies? Me neither. So what options are we left with? Well the government can't force RBC, Scotiabank etc to accept deposits from web shops and so the only other options would be to allow such as the Bank of The Bahamas to accept the money (which would disallow it from trading with other internationally connected banks) or you allow such as Craig Flowers to set up his own bank with the same restrictions (i.e.no other bank would be able to accept cheques or transfers from this bank) So essentially, you have created one big holding house for web shop earnings that can't be moved elsewhere and can't earn interest. How would that take us forward? Where's that fairy when you need her?

HarryBlack 9 years, 9 months ago

If the Bahamas is a sovereign country, then we should be able to have gambling facilities that do not violate prudent financial norms. Webshop money goes through banks now without consequence, so why suggest a potential blacklisting? I think that might be one of the reasons why the government wants to regulate the Webshops, to bring them to a certain standard so as to minimize any risk of a blacklisting. I like Bran, but he needs to sometimes set politics aside, and try to encourage the government. Being critical of the governments failures is one thing, but suggesting a potential blacklisting, is no different than suggesting that a meteorite will come crashing down tomorrow. I think it would be smarter to offer the government helpful suggestions for the inevitable legislation, rather than be prematurely critical of them. A view that is loyal to objection is suspect to me. Our politicians need to wise up.

ihadit 9 years, 9 months ago

Believe it or not, number house bosses Sebas and Fowlers are the de facto government of The Bahamas. The Bahamas is for sale for the right price… right Perry? How much does it cost to go against your own people, handicap the police, and make new laws to legalize and regulate racketeering and illegal actions so that it can appear legitimate and put your country at risk of being blacklisted again? AND how much does it costs to force Banks in The Bahamas to accept illegal monies? Hey … How much does it cost Perry, just quote us a figure? Perry and the PLP (FNM too) only cares about lining their pockets… to hell with Bahamians … right Perry? Action speaks louder than words.

Among many other things, Perry ‘Vomit’ Christie takes monies from crooks (gaming bosses), and dresses them up to look like law abiding citizens and respected businessmen. It is like ‘putting lipstick on a pig’, it’s still a PIG. Then he frequents with a bunch of gays (birds of a feather flocks together). How in the hell can a heterosexual individual find himself friends with 3 to 4 gays (not bashing gays) not of blood relations? A word to the wise.

This is how to control the number houses… STOP spending monies with them, and ALL their influential powers would disappear. No money, no power, no political influence or corruption. See if Perry will fight for the number bosses when they broke. Hell No, once the money gone, the politicians and political favors will follow suit.

IF the PLP or FNM wins this next general election, it tells me that we Bahamian people are ‘stuck on stupid’, and as for me and my family, we going to live elsewhere, where our rights as human beings are respected. I refuse to continue to suffer poverty, oppression and the fear of crime for the uninformed majority and a bunch on incompetent greedy politicians, who keep an entire country down just for a few criminals, friends, cronies and lovers.

I think that we as Bahamians deserve what we get, because we have the real power, the politicians only have a perception of power which we give to it from time to time. Stop subscribing to their oppressive authority, and you will see changes. We vote 'shit' in and we get 'shit' out. This is the worse government I have ever seen in my entire 46 years of living. The PLP and FNM ran this country underground, and we (not me personally, I voted DNA) still voted them in and expected change. Perry 'vomit' Christie is the most incompetent, openly corrupt and indecisive person this Bahamas has ever seen. He is definitely qualified for the ‘worse Prime Minister of all times’ award’.

HarryBlack 9 years, 9 months ago

I understand you are fedup, but that's alot of hate, and hate never resolves anything. You should at least be thankful that you live in a country where you are free to express yourself as in this case. Im confident the prime minister will see your point, and immediately change his shit ways... Thanks for sharing

Porcupine 7 years, 5 months ago

I didn't read that as hate. It is a legitimate response to the utter corruption nonsense and lies we are being fed by those who were elected to look after our well being. Bahamians are clamoring for capital punishment. Perhaps those put to death would be not just those who killed one person, but those who have kiilled an entire country.

SP 9 years, 9 months ago

"Former Haitian president placed under house arrest on corruption charges"

http://www.winnfm.com/news/regional/970…

Where does the PLP & FNM fit into this picture?

ihadit 9 years, 9 months ago

As soon as the commissioner of police and our Bahamian people grow a back bone, the FNM and PLP would be in the same boat with Jean-Bertrand Aristide. We MUST demand Justice and accountability from our leaders. No one is above the law.

ihadit 9 years, 9 months ago

Please do not get anger confused with hatred. Bahamians NEED to get HOT, you cannot be cold or luke warm like in the days of old. Politicians take it as a pass to do more shit if you do not get MAD. Bahamians need to get friggin ANGRY, HOT and MAD as HELL (not violent) even if it looks like hatred on the outside. But, always keep a calm head on the inside. Our democracy is at stake, this is no time to pretend to be happy, when our leaders don't give a shit about you and are causing you and the rest of the country to suffer for a select few in our crime infested Country. Some people pick up a gun and express their feelings, as for me I express my feelings by my words.

Emac 9 years, 9 months ago

" Im confident the prime minister will see your point, and immediately change his shit ways... Thanks for sharing " Is HarryBlack living in lala land??? Get fucking real dude! Sorry but this is the first time I am using profanity on this forum. I agree with you wholeheartedly ihadit!

Sickened 9 years, 9 months ago

The Bank of Flowers will not need to deal with any other banks. He will run them all out of business by handing out mortgages to anyone who wants one. He will build more housing developments and probably boutique hotels all over the Bahamas and use his cash to build and his bank to sell and lend money. He can offer better rates on savings because he will be lending so much money and have the entire market to himself.

These numbers guys are and will remain the richest Bahamians for a very, very long time (other than Symonette of course). Get used to it.

Thankfully Flowers builds and maintains (very important) lovely places.

tinktink 9 years, 9 months ago

Bran, what really is on your agenda? You, as well as the government, as well as the banks, as well as the webshops bosses know that their money are already in the damn Banks. They set up companies and set up names "Doing Business As" and invest the funds under the companies name. Why do you think Armour trucks escort the guys/gals who work for the number shops to banks? Why do you think some of the guys delivering funds are killed in route to banks?

The government is trying to regulate the industry so the funds that are being passed through banks are not considered laundered money. Of course they are in it for their own personal reasons, but stop holding these press conferences between you and the tribune for political points and work on suggesting other ways the country can get into its many untapped resources and raise money to get out of our 5BILLION dollar debt.

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