Aftershock

Inniss surprised by EU blacklisting

Minister of International Business Donville Inniss has expressed shock over this country’s latest blacklisting by the European Union (EU), along with 16 other countries that have also been deemed by the EU as global tax havens.

While saying the decision was both “unfortunate and unfair”, Inniss today suggested that Barbados was a fully cooperative jurisdiction when it came to taxation matters, explaining that it had made the required commitments to either amend or eradicate its regimes that were not in line with EU specifications by the December 5 deadline.

Inniss also reported that his counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Grenada, who along with Barbados were the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries named on the latest global tax havens list, had expressed similar surprise and dismay over their inclusion.

“It is the view of the Barbados Government that to include Barbados in Annex 1, listed as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction, is extremely unfortunate and unfair in light of, and despite Barbados’ recent direct engagement with the EU Code of Conduct Group over the past months,” Inniss told reporters during a press conference at the Baobab Towers this afternoon, following yesterday’s publication of the EU blacklist.

He also said Barbados’ work with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP) was well documented.

“I wish to state forcefully that Barbados is not a non-cooperative jurisdiction in taxation matters or any other matter. We are and remain cooperative, but true to our ideals and policies as a sovereign nation as we strive to be the international financial jurisdiction of choice,” he added.

Immediately following yesterday’s EU announcement,  Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Shadow Minister for International Business Kerrie Symmonds was swift in condemning the development, which he said was nothing short of “totally scandalous”, while highlighting the failure of Government to address offensive aspects of its fiscal regime over the past ten years.

“The regime for fiscal incentives was supposed to have been moved to world trade regulation and requirement by 2007. . .  [but] the truth of the matter is that little or nothing has been done in that time and therefore we have come to a situation where once again because of dithering and a failure to act in a serious manner, despite caution after caution by international agencies about certain things vital to Barbados’ interest, we have now been put in this situation when we can least afford it,” Symmonds told Barbados TODAY.

However, Inniss strongly refuted this claim by Symmonds, saying Government had not only taken the decision to remove the fiscal incentives regime, but had also communicated its intent to the EU before the stipulated deadline.

In giving the rationale for its action against Barbados, the EU said “Barbados has a harmful preferential tax regime and did not clearly commit to amending or abolishing it as requested by 31 December 2018.

Therefore, the island, which was previously blacklisted by the EU in 2015, remains on the dreaded list of tax havens and now faces the threat of possible sanctions while the EU continues to monitor its commitment “to amend or abolish other harmful tax regimes “in line its set criteria.

Today, Inniss expressed concern that the EU blacklisting could have serious implications in terms of Barbados’ ability access financing and general investor confidence.

“When multi-national groupings particularly as powerful as the EU issue these kinds of lists and reports they are picked up by other groupings and other organizations, including financial institutions. They may then decide that the cost of doing business or financing projects in jurisdictions such as ours will have to increase.

“They may also well go the full gamut of restricting business with Barbados all together,” Inniss said, while acknowledging that penalties would be attached to those on the list.

However, while making it clear that Government did not want to get into any showdown with the EU, he said it was imperative that a robust challenge be mounted immediately with a view to protecting the island’s reputation.

The Minister of International Business said officials of the International Business Division (IBD) were already in touch with the EU, in a quest to find out which regimes Barbados had not committed to amending.

Inniss also said follow calls were also made to EU this morning, but to date no response has been forthcoming.

“With respect to the way forward, Barbados will dispatch a detailed correspondence to the EU requesting an urgent review of their rather unfortunate listing. Secondly, being mindful that our region will continue to be under scrutiny and attacks from other regional groupings and multinational organisations, Barbados will once again request a regional dialogue on the matter with the goal of establishing a high level regional team of experts to engage with external parties on behalf of the region,” Inniss said, adding that “we really expect that CARICOM [the Caribbean Community] will take the lead on this matter”.

colvillemounsey@barbadostoday.bb

11 Responses to Aftershock

  1. Tony Webster December 7, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Reality check: the O.E.C.D. bully-boys, need to throw weight around, as they vex with BREXIT, and need a convenient whipping boy…but soft-touch treatment given to Bermuda, B.V.I., Cayman etc. Are there other reasons for such unkind treatment….like increasing swing to China?
    What to do?..ban EU tourists? This independence thing getting ruff…
    One more time: We have much work to do.

    Reply
  2. Saga Boy December 7, 2017 at 5:26 am

    It s obvious what is happening. This has nothing to do with compliance. It has to do with power and illuminating tax havens like Barbados.

    Reply
  3. Sheron Inniss December 7, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I would like to suggest to Kerrie Symmonds that he wheels and come again. Not that I hold any brief for China but we are receiving a lot of help from them, and the EU blue vex, that is all it is.

    Furthermore a lot of power play in this. We still too boldfaced for the likes of the EU so they are seeking to bring us to our knees but I opine that THE I AM has our backs.

    So to my family Donville who I have never met and hold no brief for either fret not.

    Check what happen in the Arab world the other day.

    You can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The ducks lining up. Watching.

    Reply
  4. Sheron Inniss December 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Check too what the US president has finally done. He has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston December 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

      Irrelevant

      Reply
    • lester December 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

      long overdue btw it was the capital for time in memorial

      Reply
  5. hcalndre December 7, 2017 at 6:46 am

    The minister knows that Barbados is guilty and is trying to see how long they can play the game, just as the PM delaying the elections to see if the light at the tunnel is a train or a signal light because people at the station waiting for the train to arrived for the last 9 years.

    Reply
  6. Everick Holder
    Everick Holder December 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

    The result of incompetence. Square pegs in round holes.

    Reply
  7. Mackar December 7, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    This clown have a job he know nothing about. He is always talking about any and everything and not paying attention to what he is responsible for.

    Need to get rid of all the impostures.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  8. milli watt December 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    regulation in place but tell me how many face the court for money laundering, insider trading, embezzlement and the lot. not one. This is what you get when you SMART. a group a bajans believe they can get the 10,000.00 a month job, big ride, land, house, fendi, gucci and the lot without paying a price. I don’t own any web sites so I ain’t surprised. you lot working in that grey sector need to get a REAL job AND STOP GIVING THIS ISLAND A BAD NAME.

    Reply
  9. jrsmith December 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Couple things which is hidden, most of the profits which is made in Barbados from certain companies /corporates makes it way out to the British protectorates the tax havens …… The EU is ever so prejudiced against the commonwealth countries ……………..

    Reply

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