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Staying silent will not help us – Hon Julian Fraser RA

- said critics have lost confidence in the territory since the 2013 leaks
In the wake of the fallout following the leak of the Panama Papers, Leader of the Opposition Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) said that while the characterisation of the territory as parasites living off the offshore monies of the rich is an unflattering one, staying silent will not help the situation. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Fraser spoke of the protesters in Iceland who threw blame on the VI.
Hon Fraser spoke of the protesters in Iceland who threw blame on the VI. "Case in point, as a result of... making specific references to the British Virgin Islands, Icelanders were made to believe that their Prime Minister's having an offshore account resulting in the fleecing of their country's treasury is somehow our fault, as evidenced by the demonstrators placards that red 'Prime Minister: F--k off- go to Tortola'" said Hon Fraser. Photo: BBC
In a very 'diplomatic' sounding statement as President of the UK Overseas Territories Association, Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith called for the UK to continue to honour their commitment to the overseas territories self rule. Photo: GIS
In a very 'diplomatic' sounding statement as President of the UK Overseas Territories Association, Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith called for the UK to continue to honour their commitment to the overseas territories self rule. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – In the wake of the fallout following the leak of the Panama Papers, Leader of the Opposition Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) said while the characterisation of the territory as parasites living off the offshore monies of the rich is an unflattering one, staying silent will not help the situation out.

He made the remarks on his Facebook page yesterday April 7, 2016, noting that he has been following the issue closely and has noticed the way the international community is characterising the Virgin Islands and its role as an offshore financial centre.

“I am beginning to observe a new trend in the reporting by our critics that is troubling. They are becoming more specific and rather personal, and that spells trouble for BVIslanders. Case in point, as a result of... making specific references to the British Virgin Islands, Icelanders were made to believe that their Prime Minister's having an offshore account resulting in the fleecing of their country's treasury is somehow our fault, as evidenced by the demonstrators placards that red 'Prime Minister: F--k off- go to Tortola'" said Hon Fraser.

He said another such report is the Toronto Star's reference to a 2010 IMF estimate that VI Companies controlled $600 billion in assets through “aggressive tax planning” or “tax avoidance”. He noted the report went on to link that to Canada's economy by saying, "it costs Canada an estimated $6 billion to $7.8 billion in lost taxes annually, with that money, we could build a downtown relief subway line every year".

Depicting the territory as parasites

Honourable Fraser said the same Toronto Star's report makes known how the Virgin Islands benefits at Canadian taxpayers expense by painting the territory as parasites living large by depriving them of their downtown subway line, saying that tiny countries like the Virgin Islands (population 30,000) have grown rich by funneling streams of cash from one corner of the world to another and siphoning off tiny sums for themselves.

“[They say] that, 'we're the global economy’s ATM. As any bank card user knows, those fees add up. The BVI government collects more than $200 million in corporate fees every year, paying for a $100-million hospital (actually $120-million) and a massive pier, capable of docking the largest of the world’s cruise ships," he said quoting from a report.

“Our critics have labelled us as tax havens, and refer to ours as parasite economies that feed off other countries’ tax. I for one am not flattered by this type of publicity, but staying silent will not make it go away. The people of this territory are not kids, and do not need their leaders to keep them in the dark, nor lie to them in the guise of protection. What they need is for us to confront the issues and fix them,” said Honourable Fraser.

He noted that the territory's critics have lost confidence in the VI since their discovery in 2013 through leaked documents which revealed that VI companies had been used by the wealthy to buy mansions, yachts and works of art, adding that they no longer trust the VI.

Premier issues statement on behalf of overseas territories association

In a very 'diplomatic' sounding statement as President of the UK Overseas Territories Association, Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith called for the UK to continue to honour their commitment to the overseas territories self rule.

”The UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) represents the collective interests of the UK’s 12 inhabited Overseas Territories, which are self-governing and have their own elected governments. UKOTA maintains links with members of UK political parties, and we deeply value our longstanding relationship with the Labour party, which is founded on mutual recognition and respect.

“In January 2016, we were pleased that the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fabian Hamilton MP, reaffirmed the Labour Party’s official policy of supporting the UK Overseas Territories’ right to self-governance, self-determination, and commitment to defending the wishes of the people of the Overseas Territories. We remain directly engaged with the Labour party and are committed to continuing our constructive dialogue with them on various issues.

”We hope that the Labour Party and other parties in the UK Parliament will remain consistent in their support for the self-governance and self-determination of the people of the Overseas Territories and their continued growth and development”.
It is unclear if this release was made available to the local media as this news site did not see it.

10 Responses to “Staying silent will not help us – Hon Julian Fraser RA”

  • um (08/04/2016, 08:38) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    these news sites doing more harm that good for their own country. I cannot understand. Check the cayman papers, they are also involved in the leak, not one negative thing about their country. NONSENSE , utter nonsense going on here in the BVI.
  • Long Shanks (08/04/2016, 09:09) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    I'm actually having increasing respect for Julian Fraser. Although the medium of a personal facebook page may not be the only one which should be used to hit back at critics, he is at least picking up on some important points and trying to respond.

    Of course, we should respond firmly to Iceland to let them know that if their premier wants to "f*ck off to Tortola" he would have to go through a rigorous and bureaucratic process of applying for a job and spending many hours in labour and immigration.
  • voter (08/04/2016, 09:10) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    The people voted for the NDP so tex dat
  • Yes (08/04/2016, 09:17) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    They are waiting on a speech from Donna Brazil or the outer islands.
  • Happy (08/04/2016, 09:51) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    The onshore jurisdictions create their tax rules and them complain when their people use them to arrange their business to legally minimise their taxes. Their dilemma is that if they change their rules to outlaw arranging business affairs to minimise taxes, they would kill their own businesses. So they can't fix their broken tax structure and blame others for providing completely legal services compliant with their own tax laws. Fine - go after the money launderers and the terrorists hard and fast - but understand that independent studies have shown it is easier to set up non-compliant and secret corporations in Delaware, Nevada, the UK and Canada than it is in BVI or Cayman. Get the word out! BVI is open for business and stricter than most or all onshore jurisdictions. Money launderers go elsewhere. Everyone else, bring your business here.
  • Hmmn (08/04/2016, 12:39) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    big mistake in not voting for Frazer and the VIP
  • Bird (08/04/2016, 12:59) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Need to hear from the Governor in our defense..
  • Well Sah! (08/04/2016, 13:03) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Y'all doesn't have some one in government to handle international affairs? Why haven't the BVI made an international statement about this. These are your companies, your economy here at stake. I know if was the Caribbean expats a statement would have been all regional warning etc. What's up BVI, there's more to come and you people choose to backdown.
  • mary j (08/04/2016, 18:40) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    In this case, however, it's a beautiful!!! move. View link:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tax-haven-corporate-tax-avoidance-uk-ministers-humiliated-after-cayman-bvi-british-virgin-islands-a6974956.html


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