Moreover, in the case of the Bahamas and Barbados the efforts made to become AML and CFT compliant cannot be overlooked. In fact, both nations were recently commended for the significant strides made in this regard. It is especially disheartening to note, that the EU has made the decision to add the Bahamas to the blacklist while acknowledging that this nation was in the final stage of the FATF process to be delisted which has been unavoidably delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the only step missing for the Bahamas to be cleared by the FATF.
Consequently, the current position taken by the EU is both unanticipated and unwarranted. While the effective date of this amended blacklist is 1st October 2020, given the current Covid-19 climate, the timing of this EU report will likely further exacerbate the significant challenges being faced by the region’s banking and financial services industry at present.
Therefore, this latest decision by the EU warrants clear and concise justification and brings to the forefront the challenge faced by many Caribbean islands wherein the goalpost seems to be continuously changing.
The Caribbean Association of Banks remains resolute in our position that decision makers must be forth coming with the requirements of the region in an effort to meet the demands being placed on our economies when these “blacklists” are published. The further implications to Correspondent Banking and International trade cannot be denied. It is noteworthy that we do recognize the effects of building strict and relevant compliance practices and policies, in an effort at keeping our delicate economies safe and as such we also have a vested interest in ensuring that we maintain the regulations that are developed and legislated. We are eager to work alongside stakeholders and maintain that in order to work together effectively and efficiently, we must maintain healthy, open and honest dialogue, which suggests understanding and an effort to ensure inclusivity as opposed to what appears to be a new era of exclusion.
About the CAB:
Established in 1974, the CAB is a community of banks and other financial institutions in the Caribbean Region, which proactively influences issues impacting the financial services sector through advocacy, education and networking. The CAB represents fifty-six (56) banks and financial institutions in the Caribbean with an asset base in excess of US$41 billion as at Dec 31, 2019, in addition to sixteen (16) Service members comprising regional and international technological and professional institutions and three (3) Honorary Members, and six (6) Associate Members, spanning 20 territories.