Ministers meet with EU and OECD to discuss ending tax watch lists for The Bahamas
#Nassau, November 12, 2018 – Bahamas – The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, led a delegation to Brussels and Paris this week, for frank discussions with high ranking officials within the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on The Bahamas’ compliance with international standards on tax governance.
Accompanying the Deputy Prime Minister was the Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration, the Hon. T. Brent Symonette; the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Carl W. Bethel QC;and a senior advisor from each of their respective ministries.
In Brussels, the delegation had a series of bilateral meetings with the Code of Conduct Group, the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Unions and other representatives of the European Commission.
In Paris, the delegation met with the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, the Deputy Director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration,and the Head of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
The meetings centered around the high-level commitments that the Government has made with respect to the EU’s criteria on economic substance and transparency and the OECD’s anti-Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) minimum standards. Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest provided an update of The Bahamas’ efforts to fulfil its commitments and reinforced that while The Bahamas will meet the December 31st 2018 deadline, some consideration should be given to the challenges jurisdictions face implementing such extensive reform within such a short time frame. He further stressed that the constant threat of black or grey listing is a major constraint to economic development and has repercussions that are felt well beyond the financial services industry.
The EU and OECD officials were presented with draft copies of the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Bill, the Removal of Preferential Exemptions Bill, the Register of Beneficial Ownership Bill and the Non-Profit Organizations Bill. These bills will be enacted by the end of this month, reinforcing the Government’s intent to take all necessary steps to safeguard the financial sector and ensure the removal of The Bahamas from all watch lists in the shortest time-frame possible.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest, “The meetings were very productive and we feel that the Europeans now have a greater understanding that The Bahamas has always been focused, at the highest political level, on protecting the integrity of the Bahamian financial system from abuse. Our approach has been to take a holistic view of the challenges that confront us and pragmatically do what promotes the long term viability of our financial services industry.”
Soca Warriors crush Bahamas at home
By Rashaed Esson
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors dominated the Bahamas at home, at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, for the 2022/2023 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, with a 3-0 victory.
The Soca Warriors struck their first blow within the first 5 minutes of the game, with Kareem Moses making the first shot in the top left corner of the net giving T&T one to the Bahamas’ zero (1-0).
Soon after, in about 26 minutes, they made another shot giving them 2-0 away from home; the scorer Joevin Jones. By the 34th minute mark, the winning goal was made by Ryan Telfer, T&T now at three.
Neither team scored any additional goals as the match progressed despite attempts made by various players.
Trinidad’s win gives them 12 points through five matches. Next match for the Soca Warriors is against Nicaragua; that clash is set for Monday March 27 (at home in Tobago at the Dwight Yorke Stadium), in a tussle of winner-take-all on the final match day. The victor takes home a promotion to League A and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Angus Eve, T&T’s head coach expressed that the job is only half done, keeping aware that more challenges are coming their way, one of which is the nearing match against Nicaragua who is one point ahead of the Warriors.
Meanwhile, The Bahamas will journey to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with hopes of emerging victorious there.
7 million lives at risk because of salt
March 24, 2023 – Without immediate and widespread efforts at curbing salt intake, 7 million lives will be lost by 2030 according to the World Health Organization. The warning follows the first-ever Global Report on Sodium Intake Reduction, which revealed that the world would not meet its sodium intake reduction target of 30 percent by 2025 on its current path.
With only 5% of WHO Member States protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies, the rest of the world must immediately implement ‘highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies to protect against some of the most common non-communicable diseases.
No Caribbean country was mentioned in the group of nine countries with comprehensive salt laws, but Barbados is currently set to make effective stringent regulations to govern food consumption and food quality.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General said:
“Most countries are yet to adopt any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving their people at risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. The WHO calls on all countries to implement the ‘Best Buys’ for sodium reduction, and on manufacturers to implement the WHO benchmarks for sodium content in food.”
North America and the Caribbean have the highest child diabetes statistics in the world, with the second highest prevalence in adults as well. In Turks and Caicos in particular, over 300 hundred residents have failing kidneys, a number described as ‘alarming’ by experts. Kidney disease is fueled in most cases by diabetes and hypertension.
The WHO is then advising Governments to do four things:
- Reformulating foods to contain less salt, and setting targets for the amount of sodium in foods and meals.
- Establishing public food procurement policies to limit salt or sodium-rich foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and nursing homes.
- Front-of-package labelling that helps consumers select products lower in sodium.
- Behaviour change communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption.
With these measures in place, the salt reduction target can still be achieved, according to the WHO.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
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