PM: Bahamas must avoid ‘pitfalls of past’ over FATF

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. Photo: Dante Carrer

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. Photo: Dante Carrer


Tribune Business Reporter


The Bahamas must “avoid stumbling into the pitfalls of the past” by upholding regulatory standards to maintain its perfect rating on anti-financial crime compliance, the Prime Minister says.

Philip Davis KC, speaking ahead of the latest mutual evaluation assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing standard setter, said this nation must “maintain our precedent of compliance excellence” to ensure a high passing grade.

Speaking at the Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) forum last week, Mr Davis said financial services industry partners and regulators must continue to collaborate and adapt to new threats to safeguard the sector and The Bahamas’ ‘40 out of 40’ compliance with the FATF recommendations.

He added: “With another mutual evaluation assessment on the horizon, we must ensure that we maintain our precedent of compliance excellence to avoid stumbling into the pitfalls of the past.

“Moving forward, we must remain steadfast in our resolve to uphold the integrity of our financial systems and protect our jurisdiction from the scourge of financial crime. Let’s continue to collaborate, innovate and adapt to emerging threats, ensuring that our anti-money laundering regime remains robust, effective and resilient in the face of evolving challenges.

“Let us lead by example and inspire others to follow in our footsteps, recognising that our commitment to integrity not only safeguards our jurisdiction but contributes to the stability and security of the global financial community.”

Mr Davis said the “landscape” of money laundering, terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation financing is constantly changing. “Financial institutions are, in many ways, on the frontlines of this global fight,” he added.

“Without their co-operation, there will be no suspicious transaction reports to analyse or money laundering and illicit financial flows to investigate. Without their input, new guidelines and policies cannot be developed to manage new technologies and trends that may arise in the industry.

“I applaud our financial institutions for the work they do in serving as the foundation of our world-class financial services sector, assisting us in safeguarding the integrity of our systems and bolstering our reputation for compliance with anti-money laundering, counter-terror financing and counter financing of proliferation standards.”

Mr Davis again blasted the “hypocrisy” involved in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) “harmful tax practices” forum, and called on the United Nations (UN) to take over tax assessment and enforcement duties.

He said: “I have repeatedly decried this hypocrisy internationally, and we have joined other nations in calling for a change that has now led to international standards being increasingly and rightfully placed in the hands of the UN rather than the EU (European Union) or the OECD.

“Our commitment to compliance makes it clear that our desire for change is not motivated by a lack of willingness to comply with high standards but by a desire for fairness, reasonableness and equality among jurisdictions so that haphazard discriminatory and bully-style tactics no longer have a place when it comes to protecting the integrity of global financial systems.”


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