The Bahamas cannot let its guard down when it comes to money laundering

Nassau, Bahamas - Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Carl Bethel explained that The Bahamas cannot afford to let its guard down again when it comes to ensuring that it has laws in place that strengthen the regulatory and supervisory framework to govern financial services to avoid making country seem weak when it comes to countering money laundering and other financial crimes.

“If we wish to remain relevant and effective, we must strive every day to stay abreast of evolving standards and expectations. It is an easy thing to slip, take the easy road and end up being listed,” the AG said during the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration’s Virtual Symposium at the Office of The Prime Minister, Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

He noted that experience shows that it is easy to be listed by different money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog agencies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but a far more difficult thing to repair the damage.

“We must all develop a firm resolve to work assiduously and in a mutually supportive manner, firstly to keep abreast of all initiatives and developments as they arise, and secondly, to seek to prepare ourselves to meet all impending challenges, even before they are made, and certainly before the World decides to impose the same.”

He added, “For far too long we have adopted a passive approach, trying to lag behind so-called “competitors”, and each time have felt the brunt of international disdain, and criticism.”

The AG noted that the country cannot continue doing the same things the same way and expect any different results than those experienced in the past.

“So, I enjoin each of you to see all approaching storms and to adopt an attitude of engagement with each other, with your regulators and indeed with the World.

“This has been our posture and is the posture we now embrace as we move towards the possibilities of the FATF ICRG on-site review.”

He said the Identified Risk Framework Steering Committee (IRF Steering Committee) which comprises representatives from 13 regulatory and enforcement governmental agencies and chaired by the Attorney-General, continue to meet weekly (now by Zoom). Although a date for the on-site cannot yet be set, due to travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the Committee is pushing forward as though it were imminent. Regulators have continued their work.