Kick ‘em out

Inniss prepared to shut down some international businesses

Minister of Commerce, International Business and Small Business Development Donville Inniss says he is prepared to give some financial services and international business companies the boot if that is what it takes to protect Barbados’ reputation. With the sector facing increasing scrutiny and mounting threats of international sanction, Inniss said it was important to maintain Barbados’ good name as a preferred jurisdiction in which
to do business.

His comments came in light of tax reforms from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the latest of which is a multilateral convention to prevent base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).

BEPS, considered a harmful tax practice, is defined by the OECD as tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations.

International business and financial services jurisdictions also have to grapple with ring-fencing rules, a practice in which companies financially separate portions of their assets or profits for various reasons without necessarily being operated as a separate entity.

Addressing the recent What Businesses need to Know about Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and Double Taxation Treaties seminar at the Savannah Hotel, Inniss said in relation to the new tax rules local authorities were engaging with the OECD forum “almost on a bi-weekly basis looking at templates provided and determine what changes need to be made in Barbados regime regarding the sector.

“So I throw a caution out to you that it will not be business a usual,” Inniss told industry representatives, including officials of the Barbados International Business Association, the Central Bank and the Financial Services Commission.

Stating that Barbados was still addressing issues that were raised before BEPS, Inniss said for too long “we have been talking about the issues” and now was the time for decisive action “in terms of what the new international business and financial services sector will look like.

“I caution you that it will not be perhaps what it was ten or 15 years ago and driven a lot by external regime. So the issue of ring-fencing is a significant one,” he said, pointing out that Barbados was making efforts to strengthen its regulatory regime while ensuring greater transparency.

“We can’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to compliance issues, when it comes to risk analysis and the ability to know your customer,” he said.

“At the end of the day, if we are to remain in the international business and financial services industry we cannot compromise on a strong regulatory environment. It will create some discomfort to some clients, but at the end of the day we want business of substance that can fly under any radar and do no harm to this jurisdiction. So if we have to ask some companies to leave our domicile we will do so in the most diplomatic manner. If it doesn’t work through diplomacy we kick your butt through the door and ask you to go, but suffice to say, this industry is too critical for us to compromise in this area,” warned Inniss.

Acknowledging that the financial services sector was also under scrutiny by the European Union, Inniss said Barbados was not prepared to throw its hands in the air, even while adding that BEPS was “good for Barbados”.

“Now is the time we must say to the world, ‘come here because we are a domicile of substances, we have competent professionals here to run your business, we have office space you can operate from, we have flights in and out of Barbados [and] we have a banking system that works. Don’t come here just to put a name on your door and that is it’. So one of the solutions we have to wrap our mind around quickly is our definition of substance in our context in Barbados. And it may mean that some of the companies that are not looking to offer substance may have to find another domicile to go to because it is better for us to have 100 companies offering substance in a domicile than 1,000 that are not really doing anything of significance,” Inniss said.

The minister questioned why Invest Barbados, the agency tasked with promoting the sector, did not fall under the ministry of international business, while expressing concern about the way the sector was being marketed, insisting the current approach must change.

“I have been contending for years that our marketing efforts as a jurisdiction should not continued to be centered around the lower tax rate. We may very well be shooting ourselves in the foot and doing harm to us as a domicile if our marketing efforts are focused on most exclusively ‘come to Barbados because we offer a very low tax rate’. Barbados offers much more than that tax rate,” said Inniss. 

20 Responses to Kick ‘em out

  1. Sandra Madea
    Sandra Madea September 4, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    And while you’re at it Mr dumville kick out de DLP GOVERNMENT.

    Reply
  2. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd September 4, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    HE AND THE GANG TOO

    Reply
  3. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn September 4, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    You will kick out your self just now.

    Reply
  4. Maureen Annius
    Maureen Annius September 4, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Start with yourself arrogant self centered lunatic

    Reply
  5. Ibukunoluwa Ayanfe Ozioma
    Ibukunoluwa Ayanfe Ozioma September 4, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Why have they NOT done anything about the money laundering scam in Barbados before now? Are they really doing anything about it or is this pre-election rhetoric? Barbadians certainly have not benefitted from that racketeering scheme other than the politicians that allowed it to flourish on the island!

    Reply
    • Eddy Murray
      Eddy Murray September 5, 2017 at 6:53 am

      First they have to stop letting Vijay Mallya from owning the Barbados Trident cricket franchise. We might not but other people.

      Reply
  6. John Dee September 4, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Barbados’ reputation…LOL. A great place to do business, don’t mind that you have a shooting death almost every other day on an island that is Approx. 10 x 16 miles long…..civil and criminal cases adjudicated within an average of 10 years….citizens remanded to prison for 5 years before their cases are heard…..a government with no integrity legislation…. no accountability and transparency….nothing to see here… move along, great place to live, work and play…according to the minister.

    Reply
  7. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe September 5, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Got Ideas galore!!!! …. but cant’s implement one ….

    Reply
  8. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe September 5, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Before the end of the week we will have a few more pronouncement from the talking head.

    Reply
  9. John Everatt September 5, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Mr Minister, they do not come here for sun, sea and sand. They come because of tax savings. I know this because I was involved with an IBC from Canada who did just that and have been here for almost 20 years now. They don’t come for any other reason. It is money.

    Reply
  10. Fed UP Bajan September 5, 2017 at 12:58 am

    A speech a day with this snake.

    Boss you wanna help we Bajans??????

    You really want to?

    You care so much??

    Here is the speech we want to hear from you.

    ” Mr speaker, for the love of my country , I can no longer be a member of this failed DLP government . I am crossing the floor and becoming a member of the opposition.”

    Say and do that if you wanna help we.

    Otherwise, shut up!

    Reply
  11. Cecily Jones
    Cecily Jones September 5, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Seriously can’t stand to look at or hear this man or any of his cabinet colleagues.

    Reply
  12. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade September 5, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Long talk sorry you lot are too late

    Reply
  13. ks September 5, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Elections must be imminent……. Donville in the Press almost everyday…..standby!!!

    Reply
  14. Anderson Steven
    Anderson Steven September 5, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk….not one thing to show. steupes

    Reply
  15. Milli Watt September 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

    why he ain’t give his web site DE BOOT!

    Reply
  16. Buun September 5, 2017 at 11:04 am

    My friend, you need them more than they need us. Maybe more companies should start leaving (example: RBC & Sagicor) with your attitude.

    Reply
  17. Belfast September 5, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Mr Minister, the size 12 steel tipped boot is on the other foot. You and your lot will be at the receiving end.

    Reply

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