The Bahamas will not be considered for removal from a 12-strong blacklist of nations with weaknesses in their anti-financial crime defences until it completes its "action plan" by this September.
Carl Bethel QC, the attorney general, told local news outlet Tribune Business that the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) Friday statement acknowledged that The Bahamas had "made significant progress" in addressing the deficiencies that resulted in this nation being placed on its monitoring list in October 2018.
He explained, though, that The Bahamas was still working its way through a process that requires it to complete an "action plan" laying out a strategy and road map for how it will tackle the seven issues identified by the FATF, the global standard setter in the fight against money laundering and all financial crime.
It’s unfortunate that everything we’ve done, which the regional CFATF has recognised and acknowledged, has not been recognised by the EU and others"
Emmanuel Komolafe, a compliance expert, told the paper that the European Union's recent listing of this jurisdiction as posing "a high risk" for financial crime, together with previous US and UK government advisories, all stemmed from the FATF's assessment that The Bahamas has "strategic deficiencies" in its regulatory regime.
"The main thing we should be focusing on is that FATF list because everything flows from that," he said. "That should be the focus and the priority; getting off that FATF list. It's unfortunate that everything we've done, which the regional CFATF has recognised and acknowledged, has not been recognised by the EU and others.
"Speaking to persons in the industry, there's a consensus in that regard, as everything seems to be flowing from that."
The US and UK advisories, warning their institutions to apply greater scrutiny to clients and transactions originating from The Bahamas, resulted directly from The Bahamas' inclusion on the FATF listing.