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Bahamas Prime Minister Confirms Compliance With OECD

Robert Lee, Tax-news.com, London

27 November 2000


Last week Tax-news.com reported that the Bahamas was keen to comply with international best practices, the Finance Minister Sir William Allen saying that it would be a "supreme act of naiveté" for the jurisdiction to go against the G-7 nations and expect their financial institutions to continue conducting business in the Bahamas. Now the Prime Minister, Hubert Ingraham, has endorsed his stance. In an interview with the Nassau Guardian newspaper, Mr Ingraham repeated the pledge not to position the country's financial services sector at a competitive disadvantage and outlined his plans for the future of the offshore sector in the Bahamas.

Mr Ingraham said that the Bahamas will pursue co-operation with the OECD on fiscal matters. He stated: 'As regards international co-operation on fiscal matters, I wish to reiterate that the Bahamas is quite rightly opposed to acting in any way so as to place our financial services jurisdiction at an uncompetitive disadvantage vis-à-vis financial centres in OECD countries.'

Mr Ingraham also confirmed that the Bahamas hopes to conclude a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the US, a document the latter country has been seeking for almost twenty years. He said the terms of the agreement would provide for reciprocity of assistance to the Bahamas and eligibility for the Bahamas' tourism industry to receive convention tax deduction benefits with respect to US corporate clients holding business meetings in Bahamian resorts.

To demonstrate the commitment of the Bahamas to meet international standards, the Prime Minister outlined the legislative package currently being drawn up. These measures include amendments to the Money Laundering (Proceeds of Crime) Act and a new Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act, both of which have already been enacted. The Financial Intelligence Unit Act, the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act, the Central Bank Act and a new Banks and Trust Companies Act are all currently making their way through the House of Assembly. Future plans also call for the introduction of a new Proceeds of Crime Act, a new International Business Companies Act, a new Financial Transactions Reporting Act and amendments to the Mutual Legal Assistance Act.

Mr Ingraham concluded: 'We are satisfied that when this new legislative package enters into force later this year, the Bahamas will be in full compliance with the new international standards and practices for governing the international financial services sector.'

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