BAHAMAS: PM Calls On UN For Global Tax Oversight.

As published on tribune242.com, Monday 27 September, 2021.

The Prime Minister has renewed The Bahamas’ call for the United Nations to take more responsibility for overseeing tax and anti-financial crime initiatives that have battered its financial industry for two decades.

Philip Davis QC, addressing the United Nations’ (UN) 76th general assembly, suggested that the body has “an indispensable role” in ensuring that The Bahamas and other international financial centres (IFCs) are not subject to arbitrary, unfair initiatives driven by the likes of the G-7 nations and European Union (EU) via the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and others.

“We believe that access to the global financial system and tax co-operation should not be undermined by ad-hoc and consistently shifting and arbitrary goal posts, and threats of exclusion from the global economy,” Mr Davis asserted.

“Financial services is a crucial component of the Bahamian economy. We see an indispensable role for the UN in leveraging its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering, de-risking and tax cooperation matters.”

Much of Mr Davis’ address focused on the threats that COVID-19 and climate change poses to The Bahamas. Arguing that this country “cannot survive this ‘new normal’” of a major hurricane strike every year or few years, as illustrated by Hurricane Dorian, he added that The Bahamas and other storm-prone states simply lack the “billions” needed to rebuild every time.

“Along with our sister nations in CARICOM, The Bahamas calls for greater climate financing and the need for more engagement and progress on a Climate Investment Platform,” the Prime Minister added.

“And, as a matter of priority, more innovative financing and debt solutions are needed, including debt for climate adaptation swaps. We also look forward to the capitalization of a Caribbean Resilience Fund. We also need adequate resourcing and timely access to the ‘Green Climate Fund’ and the ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’.”

Mr Davis also called for The Bahamas’ vulnerability to climate change to be taken into account by the international community, and financial institutions, via a “Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index”.

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