Turnquest hopeful of blacklist removal

Turnquest hopeful of blacklist removal
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, late yesterday said, while the government did not have an update from last night’s European Union (EU) meeting, he remained hopeful that The Bahamas would be removed from the EU’s blacklist in short order.

The minister of finance said he was awaiting word from EU officials on the 28-nation’s Code of Conduct Group.

Government said it had hoped to satisfy the demands made by the EU and restore the country’s reputation. In an interview earlier yesterday, Turnquest said the EU’s technical team had indicated that government had done all it need to be removed.

According to Turnquest, if successful, all countries that were blacklisted in mid-March would have until December 2018 to ensure full compliance.

“We are on target to meet that date and we fully expect to and so,” Turnquest said. “At this stage, we continue to work our program to ensure that we meet our targets.

He explained that the program includes constant communication with the EU’s technical code of conduct and consultation with the private sector.

“It also speaks to legislation that will be tabled in Parliament and passed as well as amendments to coordinating legislation that need to be made,” he said.

Turnquest and Minister of Financial Services Brent Symonette travelled to Brussels early last month, before the blacklisting in a last-minute attempt to engage the Code of Conduct Group and the Council directly.

Their efforts were unsuccessful.

Blacklisted countries could face EU sanctions, certain controls on financial transactions between these countries and the EU, and reputational damage.