The Bahamas has declared that it is fighting its recent blacklisting by France “in the dark” because the country is unsure as to the reason for such drastic action.
The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest, who made the declaration yesterday said since the initial announcement about the blacklisting last month the Bahamian government has written to their French counterpart asking for specific clarification on the area the country is being sanctioned against.
Speaking in an interview with journalists in the capital, Nassau, Turnquest said his government is still awaiting a response from the French authorities on their specific inquiries about the criteria and the issues that they have identified as being the reasons for blacklisting the country.
According to Turnquest, “once we have that information, we will certainly address it, but as of now we are somewhat blind with respect to their reasoning and the justification for this listing.” The Bahamas, along with three other nations Anguilla, the Virgin Islands and Seychelles were blacklisted on December 1 because they were deemed not cooperative enough in regards to financial transparency.
“… searching all of our data, we have not been able to see where there’s been any request or issues outlined to us that we have not addressed. And so, we wait to hear what they have to say as to specifics on what their issues are.”– The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest
The listing came just a week after Turnquest and a delegation were in Paris, France, attending the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
“As I said before, we have enjoyed a very good relationship with the OECD (Organisation for Co-Operation and Development), the Global Tax Forum (GTF), the EU (European Union) and we have made significant strides in terms of meeting all of the commitments that have been put before us, even those that we might not have been comfortable with and have been very difficult for us to meet. So, this certainly is an outlier, we don’t know exactly what it’s about, the issues that they have identified we were not aware of them,” Turnquest said yesterday.
He went on “searching all of our data, we have not been able to see where there’s been any request or issues outlined to us that we have not addressed. And so, we wait to hear what they have to say as to specifics on what their issues are. It’s very disappointing because again we’re working very hard to be transparent and cooperative partners in the global community.”
In November, following favourable reviews by global finance regulators, Turnquest said he had no reason to believe that the country would face any blacklisting.
The Bahamian Deputy Prime Minister contends that The Bahamas is a tremendous asset to the world in terms of financial services and wealth management and that his government takes its role very serious.
“We take our role as partners and guardians of the financial services industry globally very seriously and so whenever these things arise, we certainly want to be very proactive and certainly we want to ensure that we address whatever challenges that are identified. But as it stands, we’re fighting in the dark because we don’t know what we’re fighting,” Turnquest asserted.