Media reports of OECD blacklist false

Media reports of OECD blacklist false

The Ministry of Finance on Tuesday strongly refuted news reports circulating in the press which claimed that The Bahamas had been “blacklisted” by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“This report is false and misleading,” outlined a statement issued last night by the Central Communications Unit of the Ministry of Finance.

The statement outlined that early on Tuesday, the OECD published a report that included a list of jurisdictions around the world, including The Bahamas, which operate Citizenship by Investment (CBI) or Residence by Investment (RBI) programs.

This report, according to the ministry, is not a blacklist.

The ministry said representatives of the Ministry of Finance, who are currently attending meetings in Paris, met with the Head of the OECD International Cooperation and Tax Administration Division, which published the report.

The ministry said it was assured that the characterization of the list as a blacklist is completely inaccurate.

“The Bahamas is under no obligation to take any measures to change its investment schemes. The OECD report provides practical guidance to financial institutions to undertake enhanced due diligence on clients that are citizens or residents of countries with CBI or RBI programs to prevent cases of CRS avoidance and tax evasion.

“CBI/RBI programs are offered by over 100 jurisdictions around the world and allow foreign individuals to obtain citizenship or temporary or permanent residence rights on the basis of local investments or against a flat fee.”

The ministry further explained that individuals may be interested in a CBI or RBI program for a number of legitimate reasons, including starting a new business in the jurisdiction, greater mobility thanks to visa-free travel, better education for children, safety and the right to live in a country with political stability.

“In the Bahamas, Economic Permanent Residency gives the individual the right to reside permanently in The Bahamas and travel freely to and from The Bahamas unless status is revoked. The programme does not confer citizenship or the right to be gainfully employed in The Bahamas. The program also does not confer tax residency, and the individual must still comply with the tax laws of their country of origin.

“The second home market in The Bahamas is a valuable source of investment in the country and promotes economic and cultural diversity. The Bahamas continues to welcome global citizens to our majestic shores to experience the stunning beauty of the islands and the rich culture of our people. This includes opportunities for second homeowners to invest in The Bahamas and to enjoy the quality of life that our islands afford.