Live on CBN-Radio 90.9FM each thruday 4-5PM: Motion to Adjourn: Hosted by Hon. Thomas Famous & Senator Dwayne Robinson: Live from Bermuda: www.cbnvirginislands.com                               Got TIPS or BREAKING NEWS? Please call 1-284-442-8000 or Email ALL news to:newsvino@outlook.com; ads call 1-284-440-6666

Premier Smith commends former PS Willock for defending territory

- in hostile BBC interview in which journalist made allegations against territory
In a move that will no doubt suprise many, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has commended former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works The Esteemed Julian Willock for his robust defense of the territory’s financial services sector against a hostile BBC journalist who interviewed him on the revelations of the Panama Papers and its effects on the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Willock, a private citizen and publisher of Virgin Islands News Online, come out in strong defence of one the territory’s main economic pillars, even while Government and other stakeholders remain silent up to that point. Willock on April 5, 2016 took up an invitation by BBC Radio World Service to be interviewed regarding the financial services information leak and its implications for the Virgin Islands. The interview was aired around 11pm local time. Photo: VINO/File/Provided
Willock, a private citizen and publisher of Virgin Islands News Online, come out in strong defence of one the territory’s main economic pillars, even while Government and other stakeholders remain silent up to that point. Willock on April 5, 2016 took up an invitation by BBC Radio World Service to be interviewed regarding the financial services information leak and its implications for the Virgin Islands. The interview was aired around 11pm local time. Photo: VINO/File/Provided
During the interview, Mr Willock said residents in the VI are used to hearing what he would consider “the unjustified attacks on the legitimate financial services sector,” and stated that the reality is that the [British] Virgin Islands is one of the most regulated financial services jurisdictions in the world. Photo: VINO/File
During the interview, Mr Willock said residents in the VI are used to hearing what he would consider “the unjustified attacks on the legitimate financial services sector,” and stated that the reality is that the [British] Virgin Islands is one of the most regulated financial services jurisdictions in the world. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has commended former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mr Julian Willock for his robust defense of the territory’s financial services sector against a hostile BBC journalist who interviewed him on the revelations of the Panama Papers and its effects on the Virgin Islands.

It was on April 8, 2016 during a press conference on the topic that Premier Smith disclosed that he had listened to the contents of the interview.

“I did hear the contents of the interview and I would like to compliment Mr Willock on his responses and the defence of the BVI financial services sector,” Premier Smith said when ask firstly whether he had heard the interview and secondly his assessment of Willock's responses.

Willock, a private citizen and publisher of Virgin Islands News Online, came out in strong defence of one of the territory’s main economic pillars, even while Government and other stakeholders remain silent up to that point.

Willock on April 5, 2016 took up an invitation by BBC Radio World Service to be interviewed regarding the financial services information leak and its implications for the Virgin Islands. The interview was aired around 11pm local time.

The huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use offshore companies to hide their wealth. Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which has an office in the Virgin Islands.

The leak has caused much uproar in countries across the world, including in the United Kingdom where a call has been made by parliamentarians for the UK to impose direct rule on Overseas Territories considered tax havens.

Hagler’s unjustified accusations

The hostile BBC World Service journalist, Tom Hagler during the interview said the Financial Services industry in the VI was not transparent and that it was facilitating shell companies that allow investors to fund nuclear weapon programmes, including in North Korea.

Mr Hagler went as far as to say that the new Peebles Hospital was funded by ‘dirty money’ and it was inconceivable that a small territory as the Virgin Islands could afford such a hospital with legitimate money.

VI used to ‘unjustified attacks’ on legitimate FS

Although claiming that the interview was about the call for Overseas Territories such as the Virgin Islands to be given their independence in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, Mr Hagler at first wanted to know what the media were making of the Panama Papers leak and its link to the Virgin Islands.

Mr Willock said residents in the VI are used to hearing what he would consider “the unjustified attacks on the legitimate financial services sector,” and stated that the reality is that the [British] Virgin Islands is one of the most regulated financial services jurisdictions in the world.

At this Mr Hagler asked whether it was legitimate to have hundreds of thousands of shell companies, “some of whom avoid sanctions, siphoning that money back to nuclear weapons programmes” such as in North Korea.

“The BVI continues to cooperate with all of the international organisations, whether for the Organisation for Economic Development or with the Financial Action Task Force. We have been in the financial services sector for well over 30 years, and we have a good history of when we see or find areas of non-compliance that it is actively and seriously investigated,” Mr Willock responded.

Mr Hagler, seemingly getting agitated, asked for examples where companies found to be non-compliant were investigated, saying there must be “thousands and thousands of those cases there.”

Mr Willock said he didn’t want to call any company’s name, even though the interviewer insisted for just one name. “What the international community needs to know is that the British Virgin Islands plays by the international rules in terms of having a transparent and well-regulated jurisdiction and it is a legitimate business,” Mr Willock stated.

“It’s clearly not transparent is it because clearly some of these companies are trying to hide away funds. You wonder why more of these companies are not being rejected by the British Virgin Islands,” Mr Hagler stated.

He then wanted to know if all the companies named in the Panama Papers were legal. Indicating that he hasn’t seen all of the companies listed in the Panama Report, Mr Willock said what he knows in his capacity as a Virgin Islander, someone who was a former Permanent Secretary, now a publisher of a news website and who has also studied keenly the offshore financial sector, is that he can say without a doubt that the VI is serious about regulating its financial services sector.

Dirty money

Keen on getting his opinion across that the VI has been doing illegitimate business in the financial services sector, Mr Hagler was bold enough to state that Peebles Hospital was built with ‘dirty money’.

“You have got a hundred million dollar hospital in the Virgin Islands. Where does the money come from? No one can seriously believe that’s clean money. Such a tiny island, thirty thousand people and it has got a hundred million dollar hospital on it…Don’t you want to ask a question and find out how such a tiny place gets so much of the world’s money?” Mr Hagler asked.

Refusing to be led or intimidated, a firm Mr Willock reiterated that the VI continues to operate by the rules and is well regulated. Mr Hagler then asked whether the laws should be changed or toughend up.

“I will say that our laws, and our regulations, and our acts are tougher than places like Germany, are tougher than places like Paris, tougher than places like Delaware in the United States and are tougher than London where you are, and that is the reality, that we continue to play our role, lawful role, and have a legitimate business where we assist capital flows and facilitate direct foreign investments around the world,” Mr Willock stated before Mr Hagler interjected, saying they had run out of time.

Many persons have flooded our newsroom with calls, texts and emails in support of Willock's defence of the territory at a time when the Government seemed to be in stunned silence.

20 Responses to “Premier Smith commends former PS Willock for defending territory ”

  • Yes (11/04/2016, 08:27) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    MYRON NEXT!
  • I think it is fair (11/04/2016, 08:31) Like (11) Dislike (9) Reply
    Will this latest performance by Willock catapult him into power or will he be rewarded for the job Fraser recomemded him for????
    • @ I think it is fair (11/04/2016, 09:34) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
      job???what job?
    • Nopolopo (12/04/2016, 18:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      No, Polopo. He jumbie left a pipe in Civil Service Association for him to smoke? Come on, stop making pistarkle with our country, man.
  • i from here (11/04/2016, 08:53) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    I'm not a JW fan but yes he did well.
    • ee (11/04/2016, 12:11) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
      Yes JW conducted an interview where he spoke well of the BVI.

      Several members of the financial community do that all of the time, in front of regular hostile audience and more in depth interviews. Why is that they do not get any recognition, for doing this on a regular basis???

      Still trying to understand what's the big deal?
  • wize up (11/04/2016, 09:00) Like (89) Dislike (1) Reply
    mr willock had the golden opportunity to speak ill about the current administration: the young man demonstrated that he have the skills to separate political affiliations from the progress of his territory..... while some within the same NDP administration seeks to give the young fellow a hard time for their own personal or political gratification.
    • dude (11/04/2016, 11:08) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      If he had spoken ill of the current admin, he would've been cutting off his nose to spite his face. He did his civic duty and we commend him for that.
  • BuzzBvi (11/04/2016, 09:04) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    at least the NDP speaking good for once
  • Just saying (11/04/2016, 09:23) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    When government have they only give to their friends and family and everybody else go hungry but when they need help is "we is one people" "unite" this and that, all hands on deck. Personally I can't stand the ndp, Willox you is a better man than me because in the bvi country over self is only a election slogan.
    • @ Just saying (11/04/2016, 12:41) Like (43) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are so right I just hope Mr. Willock is not letting the NDP use him when their bank accounts are filled and his empty
  • bvi (11/04/2016, 09:42) Like (35) Dislike (4) Reply
    Willock is first class as always
  • Kingfish (11/04/2016, 09:50) Like (20) Dislike (2) Reply
    I must give Julian Willock much respect he did not use the opportunity to promote himself or bash the NDP instead he used ii to promote and uplift his country. A lesson for the politicians!!!! Willock deserved to be honored
  • DON Q (11/04/2016, 10:39) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    HATS OFF WILLOCK DID A GREAT GREAT JOB IN THAT INTERVIEW
  • pat (11/04/2016, 11:02) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    I believe there is an element of truth in what the interviewer was saying but we will never know because the (silent) government refuses to investigate itself.
  • water (11/04/2016, 12:55) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    We can depend on Willock he is very truthful and open. country above self
    • @ water (11/04/2016, 13:08) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
      Willick saved the water and seweage dept now he saved the country...now eat your heart out!!!
  • de silent one (11/04/2016, 15:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's nice to see that the Premier put party politics aside and give Mr Willock his due props. That's the way it should be when it comes to the defense of the country. Not to allow those bullies to just come here, say and do what they want without repercussion.
  • Truth (11/04/2016, 19:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Willock is a boss mehson
  • Job well done-Willock (12/04/2016, 13:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why do people like to undermine the BVI? Willlock- job well done!


Create a comment


Create a comment

Disclaimer: Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) welcomes your thoughts, feedback, views, bloggs and opinions. However, by posting a blogg you are agreeing to post comments or bloggs that are relevant to the topic, and that are not defamatory, liable, obscene, racist, abusive, sexist, anti-Semitic, threatening, hateful or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be excluded permanently from making contributions. Please view our declaimer above this article. We thank you in advance for complying with VINO's policy.

Weather


Follow Us On

Disclaimer: All comments posted on Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) are the sole views and opinions of the commentators and or bloggers and do not in anyway represent the views and opinions of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Virgin Islands News Online and its parent company.