The Hon. C. V. Hope Strachan, MP, Minister of Financial Services in The Bahamas, presented opening remarks at the [2016 Nassau Conference]( this morning.

The Ministry is a Platinum Sponsor of the annual event and the Minister’s remarks focused on the theme “Strengthening Our Competitiveness”. Accordingly, she spoke to The Bahamas’ commitment to international global regulatory standards, noting *”We will not tolerate the use of The Bahamas’ financial services sector as a conduit for the conducting of illicit or illegal activities.”* In this connection, the Minister’s presentation outlined the importance of the financial services sector to the overall Bahamian economy and spoke to current and pending initiatives. These included AML/CFT frameworks, legislative and regulatory reforms and supervision, steps taken on tax transparency and cooperation, FATCA compliance, and CRS.

The Ministry has been a strong partner with the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) in the promotion of the jurisdiction as an international financial centre, and Minister Strachan outlined joint initiatives undertaken and planned. *”The Bahamas has continued to build upon its successes while also seeking to be innovative in its approach to new products and services through a strong, strategic marketing plan.”* she said.

Recognising its importance in competitive positioning, the Minister also spoke to the need to increase efficiency and to facilitate the ease of doing business in The Bahamas. *”Comparatively, businesses and governments across the Caribbean and Latin American region are positioning themselves to be competitive and best in class”*. The Bahamas must understand the connectivity of the multiple factors that impact the growth of our economy, she said. *”We must not be complacent and we must continue to defend our right to exist as an International Financial Centre. We are global competitors and though it is often said that there is a level playing field in reality this is not the case for smaller jurisdictions like The Bahamas. The best way for us to silence the critics and naysayers is to ensure that we continue to meet our commitments as we have done in the past. We are committed to maintaining a legitimate, clean and compliant jurisdiction.”*

Download the pdf of the Minister’s full presentation below.