The Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the United Nations was established under UN Resolution 1373 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. Under this Resolution, participating states recognise the need to complement international cooperating by taking additional measures in their respective territories to present and suppress by lawful means the financing and preparation for acts of terrorism.
CTC has established a Directory of Assistance containing copies of model legislation, information about executive practices and training and assistance programmes. Bahamian Helene Seligman works with the CTC’s Expert Adviser on Technical Assistance, as a Deputy Assistance Expert. She says that the “highly sophisticated” system of financial legislation of The Bahamas will aid the UN’s counter-terrorism efforts against money laundering. The Bahamas, she said, is proud to be able to contribute to such an important global battle. According to Ms. Seligman, The Bahamas offered assistance in the field of financial law and practice because of its expertise in this area.
Prior to the terrorist action, The Bahamas had strengthened its anti-money laundering regime in response to various international initiatives, and post September 11 was among the first nations to support a UN Resolution condemning the attacks in the strongest terms.
At that time BFSB joined with the Government of The Bahamas in denouncing the horrendous acts of terrorism visited on the United States of America, and supported the Government in its resolve to be part of a multi-national and united front against terrorism.
The Bahamas signed the International Obligations (Afghanistan) Act 2001 which, among other measures, prohibited any person 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. The Central Bank of The Bahamas subsequently instructed all banks and trust companies licensed in The Bahamas to review 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.
The Government at that time reiterated that *”The Bahamas is committed to ensuring its financial services sector will not be used to fund terrorists or terrorism. We will not flinch nor falter in the effort to prevent the abuse of our financial services system and in eradicating money laundering and other financial crimes.”*
BFSB Executive Director Wendy C. Warren noted, *”While confidentiality is an important aspect of our country, this confidentiality does not extend to those who commit offenses such as bribery and corruption, drug trafficking and other serious crimes.”*