NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas has made tremendous inroads in defending the legitimacy and integrity of its financial services industry, according to Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest.
Turnquest noted in recent months international bodies have changed their tone from combative to cooperative.
He was addressing the recent annual Money Laundering Reporting event hosted by the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO).
“The Bahamas has made tremendous inroads in defending the legitimacy and integrity of our financial services industry, particularly with the European Union and the OECD,” he said.
“In fact, we have reasserted our position as regional leaders at the table of global influence, including our participation at meetings of the UN Committee of Tax Experts, the Global Forum Global on Tax Transparency and the Inclusive Framework on BEPS.”
Turnquest continued: “We will continue to undergo peer reviews by the international community in the upcoming months. In the first quarter of 2020, we will undergo several reviews, including the OECD peer review of our Country-by-Country Reporting regime and our monitoring mechanisms with respect to substance.
“Just a few months ago, our regulatory framework was positively assessed by the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices, making it clear that our industry is not harmful to the international effort to curb financial crimes. I have every confidence that our efforts will continue to result in favorable outcomes in future reviews.”
Turnquest underscored the government set out a strategic roadmap that included a plan to increase the country’s visibility amongst its partners in the international cohorts and “to ensure our voices were heard when and where discussion were taking place on tax matters”.
“I am happy to say that we have noticed, particularly in the past few months, that a more respectable standard for mutual dialogue is being demonstrated, and that the approach and tone of dialogue by international bodies has changed from combative to cooperative; not to say we don’t still have challenges,” he continued.
“We plan to continue along this vein with even more fine tuning of our strategy. This will ensure that we are better able to withstand the threats that inevitably arise from time to time, and mitigate the risks of uncertainty.”
Turnquest noted he will head to the Global Forum Plenary in Paris to address the international financial community this month.
“There I will put a spotlight on the geopolitical realities that affect our economic and sovereign interests, particularly around the promulgation of international standards that are skewed to the benefit of developed nations,” he added.