The Hon. Carl Bethel
Attorney General & Minister of Justice

The Attorney General of The Bahamas has been elected Deputy Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. CFATF is an organisation of selected Caribbean Basin states which have agreed to implement common counter-measures to address the problem of criminal money laundering.

Nineteen recommendations constituting this common approach and having specific relevance to the region were formulated in 1990, in Aruba. They are complementary to the forty recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force established by the Group of Seven at the 1989 Paris G7 Summit. In 1992, CFATF members signed the Kingston Declaration, which endorsed and affirmed their commitment to implement the FATF and Aruba Recommendations, the OAS Model Regulations, and the 1988 U.N. Convention.

On the occasion of accepting the Deputy Chairmanship, Minister Bethel said the FATF’s 40 and the CFATF’s 19 recommendations *”now constitute the international standards to which all ought to adhere.”* The Minister noted that no financial service provider can in good faith continue to market itself as reputable while failing to comply with international standards of supervision, regulation and cooperation.

*”We should strive to attain the standards that will enable us to compete as a region with the rest of the world by providing meaningful value added services, efficiently and in a well-regulated and responsible manner”,* continued Mr. Bethel.

With this appointment, it is expected that The Bahamas will take a more active role in the CFATF and, in fact, the Attorney General noted his commitment to helping all the region’s nations implement internationally accepted money laundering regimes.

Commenting on terrorism, Mr. Bethel pointed out that efforts must be expanded into shutting down the flow of money used as a tool to assist in the commission of crimes, whether such comes from legal or illicit sources. Currently, The Bahamas is drafting an Anti-Terrorism Act to define and criminalise terrorism specifically. The Act will provide special remedies and special powers to law enforcement agencies.

Following the September 11 terrorists attacks, The Bahamas signed the International Obligations (Afghanistan) Act 2001 which among other measures prohibited persons dealing with any property, and any financial institution licensed in The Bahamas from transacting business with Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda organisation, or any individuals or entities associated with them. Additionally, the Central Bank of The Bahamas instructed all banks and trust companies licensed in The Bahamas to review immediately whether or not they held accounts beneficially owned or in some way used by organisations or persons suspected and/or reported as being directly or indirectly connected with terrorist activity.