The Bahamas hosted the [Third Meeting]( of the Peer Review Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes on July 20 – 22 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. It was the first time The Bahamas hosted a meeting of an OECD-related initiative. In addressing the delegates, Bahamas Minister of State for Finance the Hon. Zhivargo Laing reaffirmed that The Bahamas remains focused on meeting its obligations as a member of the international community. *”The Bahamas is pleased to host this important meeting of the Peer Review Group, the first that will receive draft reports under the new Peer Review process launched in March of this year,”* Minister Laing said in opening remarks.

The Global Forum’s Peer Review Group (PRG) was established in September 2009, as a technical working group consisting of representatives of 30 countries including The Bahamas. *”The modern global economy has highlighted the need for unprecedented levels of cooperation amongst national governments of the world, both to sustain development and to combat abuses,”* the Minister noted, adding, *”The Bahamas has taken its responsibility in this regard very seriously, having embarked in the past decade on significant reforms at considerable investment to meet its obligations, including through participation in the Global Forum and other multilateral fora. The Bahamas remains focused on promoting the sustained development of our economy for the benefit of our citizens while fulfilling our obligations as a responsible member of the international community.”*

The Peer Review Group’s Chairman, Mr. Francois D’ Aubert, extended appreciation to The Bahamas for recognizing the need to host such a meeting, as countries monitor the progress of the work of the PRG.

The PRG is operating under a mandate to develop and implement a system for the assessment, monitoring and review of actions taken by member countries toward the implementation of the established standards for transparency and information exchange with regard to tax matters. The initial stage of implementation of the peer reviews started in March 2010, with the assessment of the first group of 18 jurisdictions including Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Jersey, Mauritius, Monaco, Norway, Panama, Qatar, and Trinidad & Tobago. Some 100 jurisdictions, including
The Bahamas will be assessed over the next three years in a two-phase process that examines legal and regulatory framework for transparency and information exchange as well as practical implementation.

The Phase I review for The Bahamas began on July 1, with the Phase II review scheduled for July 2012.

It has been announced that the first 8 peer review reports have been approved by the Global Peer Review Group. *“These Phase 1 reports assessed the legal and regulatory frameworks related to transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes in Bermuda, Botswana, the Cayman Islands, India, Jamaica, Monaco, Panama and Qatar.”* All reports remain confidential until the Global Forum adopts them. The next Global Forum meeting will be held in Singapore on September 29-30, 2010.

Many other reviews have been launched already, in accordance with the Schedule of Reviews. The next group of reports will be considered at the next PRG meeting which will be held in Paris at the end of November 2010.