This week The Bahamas is hosting a Plenary meeting of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), at which Attorney General and Minister of Education the Hon. Alfred Sears will succeed to the Chair of the regional organisation.
Minister Sears said membership in the CFATF, and now his chairmanship, present The Bahamas with an opportunity to have a voice on issues of money laundering in international organisations such as the FATF and the OECD. He also said, *”The Bahamas will benefit from deeper regional ties with our Caribbean partners in the fight against money laundering.”*
The CFATF comprises those states and territories in the Caribbean Basin which have agreed to implement common counter-measures against money laundering. Its activities include self-assessment of the implementation of FATF and CFATF recommendations; mutual evaluation of members; and coordination of and participation in training and technical assistance programmes.
During the course of the meeting, participating CFATF members will discuss a variety of issues, including requests for information under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs), and regional Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). Also to be discussed is the mutual evaluation of The Bahamas, conducted in July of this year.
The Hon. James Smith, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, has said there is continuous pressure on The Bahamas to review money laundering rules. There is an ongoing monitoring process by both the international and regional communities. He refers to the hosting of the CFATF Plenary as an opportunity to say what The Bahamas has been doing, and what it intends to do. The Bahamas, he said, is trying to find the delicate balance between developing its financial services sector on one hand, while also complying with international standards with regard to regulations.
Minister of Financial Services and Investments, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, also points to the importance of The Bahamas hosting the meetings at this time. She said, *”It is extremely important for The Bahamas to take the lead, and to be seen as a leader in the financial services industry.”* She sees the meetings as an opportunity, too, to reaffirm that The Bahamas absolutely condemns money laundering and that it will ensure *”as best it can that this does not exist within our shores.”*