The Hon. Frederick A. Mitchell, M.P., Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, presented [remarks]( at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, September 26.

The General Assembly was held under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform Our World”, and the Minister spoke to various initiatives in which The Bahamas has participated. The Bahamas has joined the United States and others in the Safe Ocean Network, a global initiative aimed at combating all aspects of the fight against illegal fishing, including detection, enforcement, and prosecution. The Bahamas also has placed a role in the advancement of women, with a representative serving on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and is seeking election for membership on the Human Rights Council for the 2019-2021 term. The Minister also spoke to the fight for the integration of all young people into the formal economy, with an emphasis in The Bahamas on young males and the need to better prepare them for participation in society.

Minister Mitchell used the opportunity to speak on the issue of the over regulation imposed on countries and the negative consequences thereof. He referenced [presentations]( by other CARICOM countries on the dangers of de-risking, the use of pejorative expressions in describing the region, and new financial rules and imposition of unfair sanctions. He said the Bahamas does not shield anyone involved in unlawful behavior, and adheres to all applicable agreements relating to money laundering and the unlawful escape from taxes. In this connection, the attacks on The Bahamas and the CARICOM region were described as inaccurate and unfair. Specific reference was made to the recent assaults in the media about the Bahamian financial services sector – actions labelled as reprehensible and violation of international norms.

*”If then you argue that it is immoral to evade your responsibility to pay taxes at home and we agree, then we also argue that you have a moral responsibility to understand that over regulation and changing the goalposts and not creating a level playing field in the financial services sector, and de-risking being part of that whole cloth, can bring about in their effects an immoral result. This problem must be solved by those who imposed the regulations. It is a moral imperative.”*

CARICOM countries are shining examples without exception of liberal democracies: ideological pluralism, capitalist economies, multiparty states, regular elections and independent judiciaries, low levels of institutional corruption and regular public consultations on policies. This world body has a stake then in ensuring that the societies of the CARICOM region survive, the Minister said. *”The United Nations is where we have a level playing field. It is the appropriate forum to make that case. This is so whether the issue is banking, financial services, climate change, sustainable development and financing for development, migration or just surviving.”*