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UK Lords voted against public register; Small victory for VI’s offshore sector

The proposal brought to the House of Lords (HoL) on January 24, 2018 for the Virgin Islands (VI) and other Overseas Territories (OTs) to implement a public register that would reveal the names of beneficial owners of financial offshore companies registered in the Territory was done by HoL Member Baroness Vivian H. Stern. Photo: University of Kent
Left: Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has come under fire for his slow handling of the Financial Services fallout and leaks. Right: Julian Willock, a former Permanent Secretary with the VI Government and who heads the consulting firm, Advance Marketing and Professional Services, has warned Premier Smith and others in the financial services sector to remain vigilant. Photo: VINO/File
Left: Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has come under fire for his slow handling of the Financial Services fallout and leaks. Right: Julian Willock, a former Permanent Secretary with the VI Government and who heads the consulting firm, Advance Marketing and Professional Services, has warned Premier Smith and others in the financial services sector to remain vigilant. Photo: VINO/File
Both the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers sought to discredit the Offshore financial services sector. Photo: Internet Source
Both the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers sought to discredit the Offshore financial services sector. Photo: Internet Source
PARLIAMENT SQUARE, London, UK- The United Kingdom (UK) upper chambers, the House of Lords, voted down a proposal on January 24, 2018 for the Virgin Islands (VI) and other Overseas Territories (OTs) to implement a public register that would reveal the names of beneficial owners of financial offshore companies registered in the Territory.

This is a measure that has been pushed by the European Union (EU), along with some in the UK House of Lords (HoL) and the lower House of Commons, who continue to falsely label the VI jurisdiction a “tax haven.”

The vote was 211 to 201 and was part of a clause to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill introduced by HoL Member Baroness Vivian H. Stern. The Bill now moves to the House of Commons for its considerations.

Win for the VI

A beneficial owner allows for the benefits of ownership in a financial services company even though the title of the company is in another name.

Some in the UK and the EU have been pressuring the Dr D. Orlando Smith (AL) led Administration, along with other OTs like Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos, in what they claimed to be the fight against money laundering and tax evasion, to make the names of these beneficial owners public.

If this amendment to the Bill had passed it would have affected the above mentioned OTs, undermining the confidential nature of their transactions, and reducing business.

Baroness Stern, in her argument for the clause to be passed in the Bill, said the case to have the true owners known was made stronger because of the leaks of the Panama Papers, along with the most recent Paradise Papers, saying according to media reports “the leak shows how illicitly obtained money is protected from discovery by anonymity.”

Those Members who supported the OTs argued that the HoL cannot legislate for the OTs just like they cannot do for the Scottish Parliament without proper consultations.

Premier Smith pleased

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), who has come under fire for his slow handling of the Financial Services fallout and leaks and not vigorously defending the VI’s legitimate sector, said at a press conference last week Thursday January 25, 2018 that he was pleased for the support of all who voted against the clause.

Julian Willock, a former Permanent Secretary with the VI Government and who heads the consulting firm, Advance Marketing and Professional Services, often speaks to the regional and international media on the offshore financial sector. He said “while I am also pleased, as it was a small victory for the sector, be aware that the critics of what we do here will come back again through the backdoor trying to push the public disclosure issue, so I urge the premier and others in the sector to remain vigilant.”

Mr Willock, who is expected to run for political office in the Territory’s next general elections constitutionally due by 2019, gained public praise when he took on a BBC reporter after the Panama Papers leak and strongly defended the VI’s Offshore financial services sector.

Willock to the rescue again

Following the Paradise Papers leak last year, Mr Willock also again did a steller interview with the United States Public Radio, NPR, where he spoke out against the double standards of the bigger powers in wanting to stop the VI’s facilitation of global financial trade.

The young Virgin Islands businessman, before moving to the private sector, also served as a Director of the Water and Sewerage Department and, before that, was an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour.

Mr Willock holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science and Economics, and a certificate in public administration from the University of the West Indies.

13 Responses to “UK Lords voted against public register; Small victory for VI’s offshore sector”

  • Truth (29/01/2018, 12:28) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    The BVI financial services industry is not something that is thrown together in a back drop. It is a industry that is accredited by the IMF. If it was something illegal it would have been stopped in cabinet years ago. Many legitimate wealthy people are using it to hide assets and wealth from organize criminals.

    Like other industries jewelry stores and other avenues it can be used to launder money. But every preventative Law the BVI has been asked to pass it has.
  • Read (29/01/2018, 12:35) Like (10) Dislike (6) Reply
    Willock is the man a leader
  • Bvi weak (29/01/2018, 12:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The bvi will be dead without this sector so they better wake up
  • privacy not piracy (29/01/2018, 14:42) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    people have the right to privacy. those who want public registers of everyone's money, are the real pirates in
    this day and age. some banks deserve a nuclear enema too.
  • I'm Hip (29/01/2018, 15:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Getting set up for the down stroke.
  • Young People (29/01/2018, 20:04) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    My goodness! we need new blood Big Mac and LS need to go
  • BVI STRONG (29/01/2018, 23:16) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thasks house of lords for supporting the bvi
  • Sam (29/01/2018, 23:49) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Political posturing by this inept Member of the HOL. The House of Commons has the power to make law not the HOL. At the day the Commons is where true Parliamentary power lies in the UK. The House of Lords is made up mostly of the rich aristocrats who was appointed because of their wealth. That is why the system of appointment was changed and is still undergoing change to prevent life time appointments. The HOL is not not a true representative of democracy in the UK. Members are appointed rather than elected.
  • rat race (30/01/2018, 10:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So democracy IS going to fail, if this continues as this lady never even been to the BVI
  • Liat 521 (30/01/2018, 10:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Poor little BVI they do not want to see us survive
  • WHY? (30/01/2018, 20:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    gee, why would the Ms. Stern take that position?


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