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Christian Values


Alfred Michael Sears, born on the 13th of January 1953, is the eldest of eleven children of Winifred Sears, a humble, hard working woman of substance that dedicated her life to raising her children.  Alfred was christened at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Church in Nassau.  He participated in church activities as an altar server where he acquired a deep respect for fundamental Christian values.  With due regard and reverence for Christian theology and values, he served as an acolyte for many years at the Cathedral.


The Road Less Traveled


Like some boys, Alfred had a troubled background.  He was convicted by the Juvenile Court on three occasions and sentenced to the Boys Industrial School (now Simpson Penn Centre).  It was while as a resident of the Boys Industrial School, Alfred set his heart and mind to make something positive of his life in order to help his mother and contribute to his community and country.


With the help of his mother, grandmother and grandfather, Mervin and Mytis Wilkinson, the encouragement of Dr. Timothy McCarthney, Fr. Brendan Fraser, Mr. Audley Kemp, some of the overseers at the Boys Industrial School (Mr. Leroy Archer, Mr. Bosfield, Mrs. Winifred McKenzie and Mr. Titus) and a group of missionary sisters from Bethel Baptist Church (Sisters Pearl Pinder, Carmel Johnson, Cleo Williams and Thelma Pinder), Alfred was able to realize his dream by working hard to prepare for high school.  One small step for Alfred, but a giant leap for a young boy with bright ambitions.  From this Alfred learned the value of making the best of an opportunity and the important role that elders play in a community in helping young people mature and find their path in life.


It Takes a Village and a Community


Alfred succeeded in entering St. Augustine’s College only to face the rigour and challenge of academic life in high school.  Nevertheless, he was determined to persevere at all cost.  He was assisted and mentored by concerned teachers such as Sister Barbara Coyle, Mr. Wellington Pratt, Fr. Achatz Elias, Mr. Winston Carter and Mr. Vincent Ferguson.  Initially placed with students three years younger than him, Alfred eventually excelled both academically and in extra-curricular activities.  He graduated from St. Augustine’s College in 1972

Community Leader


In 1970, Alfred founded the Interdenominational Christian Youth Association (“ICYA”) while attending St. Augustine’s College with other young people, namely, Danny Price, Althea Glass and Donald Newton.  Rev. Basil Johnson, a mentor and friend, acted as spiritual advisor.  The ICYA organized successful summer school programmes for children in Grants Town, St. Agnes and Bains Town communities.  It was at an ICYA function in the summer of 1973 that Alfred met his future wife, Marion Bethel, who served as coordinator of  ICYA Summer School Programmes.  During this period, Alfred attended Bethel Baptist Church where he became an active member of the Junior Choir, a Sunday School Teacher and a youth leader advocating basic human values and concern for others.


The Journey Abroad


In 1974, Alfred left The Bahamas to pursue undergraduate studies at Columbia University in New York.  In pursuing his dream, Alfred graduated from Columbia College in 1977 with a B.A. in Political Science.  During this period, Alfred was elected and served as the President of the Bahamian Students Association of New York from 1974 until 1977.


Knowing that his preparation was incomplete to achieve the goals he had set for himself, Alfred continued with higher education at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, where, in 1978, he earned a Masters Degree in International Affairs in International Law, as well as a Certificate in African Affairs (1981).


In 1978, Alfred began his doctoral studies in International Relations at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University.  In 1984, he was awarded the M.Phil. Degree.


In 1984, Alfred attended New York Law School and was awarded a Juris Doctor Degee in Law in 1987.


In 1991, he was awarded the Certificate of Legal Education from the Norman Manley School of Law, University of the West Indies, Jamaica. 


Educator and Advocate


In 1978, Alfred was appointed as a lecturer on Caribbean Politics and International Relations at Hunter College, City University of New York and was given tenure in 1984.


While at Hunter College, Alfred organized study abroad programmes and took students to Barbados, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in 1980 and again to the West African countries of Nigeria, Senegal and the Gambia in 1982.  From 1992 to 2002, Alfred taught Labour Law, Business Law and Hospitality Law as an adjunct lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Florida International University and Nova Southeastern University.


In 1988, Alfred was admitted to practice law in the Bars of New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  He was also admitted to the Bars of Jamaica and The Bahamas.  Alfred began his legal career as a Court Attorney with Mr. Justice Seymour Schwartz, Civil Court of Manhattan, New York, worked with Mr. Berthan Macaulay, Q.C. in Kingston, Jamaica and Gibson & Co. in Nassau, Bahamas.


In 1992, Alfred founded the law firm of Sears & Co. from which he practiced law in The Bahamas, with his wife Marion Bethel, until 2002 when he was appointed to the Cabinet.  During this period, Alfred conducted an active practice in commercial, constitutional and labour litigation.  From      to     , he served as Honorary Secretary of the Bahamas Bar Association.




Alfred is married since 1987 to Marion Bethel, a poet and partner in the law firm of Sears & Co.  Alfred is the father of three children, Adelaja, a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Ife, a student at the United World College in Swaziland, Southern Africa and Nia, a student at St. Augustine’s College in Nassau.







These twelve (12) articles are intended to encourage public conversation about the appropriateness of having ad-hoc organizations, such as the FATF and the OECD/Financial Stability Board, which are controlled by G-20 member countries with competing onshore financial centres to protect, make the rules on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing and apply punitive countermeasures against competing offshore financial centres.  Most of the offshore financial centres, which were black listed in 2000 by the FATF, OECD/Financial Stability Board and the United States, are once again under assault.  The Bahamas' financial services sector is once again facing a clear and present danger when in April 2009 it was grey listed by the OECD/Financial Stability Board, an organization in which The Bahamas is neither a member nor has a vote.  Using The Bahamas as a case study, I will examine the response of offshore financial centres to the punitive counter-measures taken against them by of these ad-hoc organizations.  I will conclude by making a number of recommendations to ensure equality of treatment between offshore financial centres and onshore financial centres and provide a more legitimate and effective global regulatory framework to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.