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Bahamas Committed to Anti-Money Laundering Strategy

by Amanada Banks, for, London

18 October 2007

A national strategy for the prevention of money laundering and terror financing (AML/CFT) is central to the Bahamas's goal of sustaining its place as a well-regulated financial services jurisdiction, Attorney General Sen. Claire Hepburn told a recent conference.

“It is accepted that the first step in the fight against money laundering must be the enactment of effective anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism legislation," Sen. Hepburn, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, told a seminar hosted by the Bahamas Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) this week.

Since 2000, the Bahamas has enacted a series of legislative and regulatory initiatives to strengthen its anti-money laundering regime, including the the Anti-Terrorism Act passed in 2004. The Attorney General noted that further legislative amendments may become necessary in the future to address both local and global developments.

However, Hepburn stressed that when determining the need for any such changes, the government’s overriding consideration will be to act in the best interest of the Bahamas and its people.

The Bahamas now has an ad hoc 'Task Force' which serves to review and make recommendations to the government on AML/CFT matters at a policy level. Comprised of representatives from various government agencies, the Task Force meets on a monthly basis, with special meetings scheduled as necessary. Efforts are underway now to formally establish the Task Force by way of legislative statute, positioning it as an “umbrella” review group, Hepburn explained.

The FIU circulated templates on the National AML/CFT Strategy during June and July and is compiling the feedback from industry, preparatory to finalising its report. Seminar participants were encouraged to complete the templates for return to the FIU as soon as possible. This will enable the government to move forward with its design of a National AML/CFT Strategy ”which is comprehensive, integrated, coherent and simple with succinct procedures for implementation, based on acceptable international standards and practice,” the Attorney General stated.

She added that the proposed National Strategy will provide all relevant parties with measurable goals and outcomes, and clearly identified national goals.

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