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Caricom planing legal action against European 'Big Boys'- Premier Fahie

- said OTs are crying out against EU financial pressures
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) reiterated in March 2019 that the labelling as ‘non-cooperative tax jurisdictions’ by the European Union (EU) has wreaked irreparable reputational damage on its small, highly vulnerable Member States. Photo: Internet Source
Following European pressure to set policies on the Virgin Islands (VI) Financial Services sector, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says these pressures in not just on the VI alone, rather, the entire Caribbean and the Caricom region is looking for ways to fight back. Photo: VINO/File
Following European pressure to set policies on the Virgin Islands (VI) Financial Services sector, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says these pressures in not just on the VI alone, rather, the entire Caribbean and the Caricom region is looking for ways to fight back. Photo: VINO/File
Scheduled for Monday, August 26, 2019 at 1:00 pm, the continuation of the Sixth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly is expected to revive the debates on the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Amendment #2) Act, 2019. Photo: VINO/File
Scheduled for Monday, August 26, 2019 at 1:00 pm, the continuation of the Sixth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly is expected to revive the debates on the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Amendment #2) Act, 2019. Photo: VINO/File
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Prime Minister of St Lucia, Honourable Allen M Chastanet, left, seen here with Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1). GIS/File
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Prime Minister of St Lucia, Honourable Allen M Chastanet, left, seen here with Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1). GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – With the European Union (EU) continuing to set difficult policies on the Virgin Islands (VI) Financial Services sector, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) says these pressures are not just on the VI alone, rather, the entire Caribbean and the Caricom region is looking for ways to fight back.

Scheduled for Monday, August 26, 2019 at 1:00 pm, the continuation of the Sixth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly is expected to revive the debates on the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Amendment #2) Act, 2019.

However, the Premier at the closing of the last sitting said that even as the territory is preparing to address the outside pressures, the conversation from some in the HoA is that of doom.

Caribbean feeling pressure

“When I listen to what is being said, especially when I was outside of the House… anyone that listening that don’t understand what’s happening will think that this government is in limbo and don’t have a plan,” Hon Fahie said at the last August 2, 2019, sitting of the House.

Hon Fahie said based on the conversations, he is left to wonder if ‘deception’ is at play, “we only here for five months,” he said.

The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration has been at the helm of government following the February 25, 2019 elections victory and has since moved to amend the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Amendment #2) 2019 to meet certain requirements.

“These amendments are not being done just by us [VI]. I have travelled the entire Caribbean, all the OT’s and every one of them are complaining about the same thing,” the Leader of Government business noted,

Caricom wants lawyers

According to the Premier, “The last meeting I went to was Caricom… they are so annoyed, they were actually coming together to hire a lawyer to go fight all those big boys, the EU and all of them,” he said.

The aim is to get countries in Europe to take a different approach, giving those territories are now finding it difficult to operate under the new EU rules.

“Every single territory involved in this industry [Financial] in terms of the smaller states, are crying out,” Hon Fahie noted.

In December 2017 the European Union published an initial blacklist of 17 countries which they claimed had refused to co-operate with its crackdown on so-called "tax havens," and then a series of other nations—including the VI—which was placed in ‘grey’.

While the territory is now off the list, under the new rules, it is mandatory for offshore financial services companies to set up physical offices in the jurisdiction, an undertaking that may be impossible for all 400,000+ companies that are registered in the Virgin Islands.

Caricom will continue to resist 'retrograde approach' by EU- Caricom

On Tuesday, 12 March 2019, the European Union had issued a revised list of countries purportedly not adhering to tax good governance which included five (5) Members of the Caribbean Community: Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda.

Seven (7) other Members of the Community had been placed on a monitoring list having made commitments to undertake reforms by December 2019 and were making efforts in that regard. These were Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Anguilla, [British] Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands.

In a statement regarding the revised list of blacklisted members of the Community, Caricom in a statement had said the narrative provided by the EU Council to support the inclusion of the blacklisted members was grossly misleading. 

It had also said the renewed attack on its Member States’ economic prospects constituted an infringement of their sovereign right of self-determination in the best interests of the CARICOM people. "Moreover, we are concerned that the EU’s ‘tax good governance strategy’ is beginning to border on anti-competitive behavior targeted at the decimation of the international business/financial services sector in the Caribbean."

It further said the Caribbean Community reiterates that the labelling as ‘non-cooperative tax jurisdictions’ has wreaked irreparable reputational damage on its small, highly vulnerable Member States.

"CARICOM Member States have acted in good faith to mitigate this egregious action by the European Union while upholding the shared values and principles underlying the United Nations Addis Ababa Action Agenda. These principles emphasise, inter alia, shared responsibility, mutual accountability, fairness, solidarity, and different and evolving capacities in respect to the mobilisation of resources to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

Caricom further said it is becoming apparent that the actions of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) are designed to destroy the financial sector in its Member States even as the Member States seek to build resilience in all their economic sectors in order to mitigate their inherent vulnerabilities.

"The Caribbean Community deplores this injurious development and will continue to resist this retrograde approach by the EU," Caricom had stated in March 2019.

3 Responses to “Caricom planing legal action against European 'Big Boys'- Premier Fahie”

  • ABC (20/08/2019, 09:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    good move you got to fight
    • Hopeless (20/08/2019, 13:24) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      Caricom is completely hopeless. A talking shop with lots of big statements on intention but no action.
      All mouth and no trousers.
  • Buzzy Bee (20/08/2019, 15:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nobody said a fee couldn't be charged for each enquiry into the "Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System"... I have no problems with a $10K fee per enquiry.


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