Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration, the Hon. Elsworth Johnson is sending the message to customers and international partners, that The Bahamas is ready and able to conduct business. The Minister expressed the country’s position to the European market on Monday, May 25, 2020 at the Ministry’s headquarters while being interviewed via Zoom by Gary Robinson, Commercial Director of Incisive Media’s International Investment publication based in London.
When asked what message the Government of The Bahamas wished to convey to the international community about the country’s financial services at this time, Minister Johnson said that the Bahamas is ‘open’ for business and poised to deliver service of the highest standard. “Our financial institutions have transitioned well to remote delivery of services,” said Minister Johnson. “We are a jurisdiction centre committed to the highest possible standards of service delivery, transparency and cooperation.” He also expressed the government’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the financial services sector and to ensuring full transparency with international obligations while balancing the need for safety and confidentiality to clients.
When asked about The Bahamas’ removal from the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, he said that the message he wanted to deliver to the international community is that the move underscores The Bahamas’ commitment to adhere to global regulations and international best practices as a premiere international financial centre. “Throughout the entire process of reform, The Bahamas has demonstrated commitment at the highest political level to ensuring that as a jurisdiction, we comply with international standards on information exchange, tackling harmful tax practices, dismantling artificial tax structures and prevention of financial crime, which is critical to our value proposition as a well-regulated international financial centre,” he said. He said it also speaks to close partnerships that exist between the public and private sectors.
As it related to the country’s adapting to the changing landscape of financial services, the Minister said that growth in the sector requires change, which will include reform and structural transformations, sometimes cultural shifts, technological upgrades, training and retooling. “We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result,” he said. “An expanding, buoyant and competitive economy demands that we make some difficult but necessary changes.” Minister Johnson said that although the country is small in size, it is strong in products and services.
He pointed out that global advancement in technology, regional economic weakness, competition, and global regulatory pressure have strained national resources; however, The Bahamas was poised to meet the challenges and to this end has developed a strategy with a clear vision for the future. “To maintain our success, we have begun to lay the cornerstone for the strategic vision for financial services 2025. “The objectives include building capacity in local human resource talent, technology, product and service innovation, improved infrastructure, enhanced client service, attractive investment policies and incentives, and flexible adaptability to change management in a well-regulated environment.