FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The Financial Action Task Force standards, which admonish nations to know their clients, disclose suspicious transactions and to freeze, seize and confiscate proceeds of criminal conduct, must be fully and effectively embraced, said Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday.
Currently the acting Prime Minister, Davis made the comments during the keynote address at the official opening of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)’s 38th Plenary Meeting, at the Grand Lucayan Resort on Grand Bahama.
Participants from 29 countries, including top law makers from a number of Caribbean nations are in Grand Bahama for the conclave.
Davis told the gathering The Bahamas is delighted to host them and their work is extremely important in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region.
“There is a need to aggressively, skilfully and most importantly, collaboratively craft strategies and standards that can mitigate these ills in a major way. The government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is duly committed,” he told the gathering.
The Deputy Prime Minister further stated: “We know that there are tremendous benefits to our financial institutions resulting from a successful fight, as well as for our judicial institutions, our law enforcement and prosecutorial institutions.”
“There is a particular benefit that requires more highlighting, and that is economic stability, with its far reaching returns,” he said.
“The FATF standards which admonish us to know our clients, duly disclose suspicious transactions and to freeze, seize and confiscate proceeds of criminal conduct, must be fully and effectively embraced,” he said.
Minister Davis suggested that all jurisdictions be held to the same standards, and that offshore jurisdictions should not be held to a lesser or a higher standard than onshore.
“This is critical to enhancing the credibility of the FATF and its offshoot regional bodies, which, of course, the CFATF is one,” he said.
The acting Prime Minister told delegates that The Bahamas is honoured to once again be assuming the chairmanship of the CFATF with Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, poised to take up the role.
Also bringing remarks at Wednesday’s opening was the Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville, FATF president Vladimir Nechaev, and CFATF chairman Cherno Jallow.
Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes were among the many government officials attending the opening.