Bahamas ownership registry ‘not set in stone’

The attorney-general of the Bahamas has confirmed that legislation to create a central Beneficial Ownership Registry is “not set in stone”, and that central government is seeking “urgent” consultation on the issue.

Speaking at a Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) sponsored seminar yesterday, Carl Bethel QC said that defining the Register of Beneficial Ownership Bill 2018 was a top priority for the government.

Bethel added that the bill’s tabling signalled “the urgency for the administration to have a meaningful consultation on this issue” with members of the Bahamian financial services industry.

“It is not set in stone. The bill that we tabled is there for your review. It is there for your input and we will determine whether to proceed with the bill, to amend the bill, to shelve the bill (or) to come with some other structure or arrangement,” Bethel said.

“But, at the end of the day, the message that I have to say is that we cannot only look at one of the several initiatives and feel that, if we satisfy them, it’s going to satisfy all. These are interrelated and coordinated initiatives being orchestrated through various organs in the European Union (EU), particularly, and they must all be addressed simultaneously and comprehensively, and not believing we can bunker into one and satisfy that and that that is going to satisfy the rest.”

The attorney-general said that many such countries and financial centres were having to reposition a major part of their economies and grapple with ever-changing international demands. “This is a struggle that affects not only the Bahamas, but every country in this region and, indeed, every financial centre in the world,” the attorney general said. “I had reason at an earlier briefing to point to the travails similar to ours affecting a major centre known as Luxembourg, and it’s not just us, and I suppose we can take some small comfort in that.”

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Editor of International Investment.

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