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BVI hasn’t mentioned any public register legal challenge — UK minister

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith and UK minister for Overseas territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad. (BVI News photo)

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

Local government has mentioned nothing to the United Kingdom about potentially taking legal action to challenge the British nation’s public registers policy, which is being forced on the territory.

UK minister responsible for Overseas Territories Lord Tariq Ahmad gave that indication when he met with members of local media Tuesday evening, July 31.

When journalists asked the UK minister how Britain plans to respond to the threat of legal action from the BVI, he replied: “That’s not a matter that we’ve had raised with us directly in or exchanges with the BVI government.”

This discovery comes two months after government said it has retained Queen’s Counsel Gerard Farara and an international law firm to potentially challenge the public registers policy, which is an amendment to the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Lord Ahmad, however, confirmed Premier Dr D Orlando Smith’s statements that the UK is willing to address all concerns relating to constitutional agreements with the BVI.

He said: “If the Overseas Territories themselves feel that there are constitutional changes they wish to see, [we invite them to] write to us. We are open to their suggestions to have discussions in that regard.”

UK Prime Minister assigns legislator to assess concerns

He further said British Prime Minister Theresa May has assigned one of her senior Cabinet ministers to assess any proposals that they may receive from the BVI on issues of constitution.

Though he gave no definitive indication the UK will withdraw its public registers policy, he said Britain is still willing to have ‘open discussions’ about concerns on how public registers of company beneficial ownership might hurt the BVI.

“We will work very much hand-in-glove with the different Overseas Territories … to ensure that we look at the detail on what can be done to mitigate the concerns,” he said.

The UK minister made it clear the British government did not want to impose public registers on the BVI. He said his government was merely honouring the will of UK parliament.

The BVI has until December 31, 2020, to comply to the UK’s public register policy. If the BVI does not comply, Lord Ahmad confirmed the UK will invoke an Order in Council.

Effectively, an Order in Council is a forceful command made in the name of Her Majesty the Queen. Failure to comply with that command can result in the UK exerting diplomatic pressure on the BVI.

Related article: ‘BVI will never be alone, UK is with you’ — Lord Ahmad

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11 Comments

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  1. ndp heckler says:

    It is clear and plain to see that the NDP can no longer represent us…They are useless.

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    • Reality says:

      The argument from the “No Direction Party” is flawed from the outset – quite pathetic really – cry cry – “its just not fair that we are being made to do it when there are other places that are still getting away with it!” We’ll comply when everybody else does…and therein lies the problem – an endemic lack of transparency, openness,accountability that has rotten this country to its core….wouldn’t it be nice if the BVI with it’s supposed bible based focus could let the light shine rather than the darkness to remain – makes my blood boil – this Tortolan hypocrisy!

  2. Please says:

    The UK stance is loud and clear to the BVI. Make a change a good change and we can talk and get things back how it was and even better.

    The problem the BVI faces is the alternatives are not completely better either. They too have a terrible track record.

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    • To Please says:

      The others “so called” bad track record was manufactured by the ndp as bad so now they are sowing what they reap. I will take my chance with the other side.

  3. Sam the man says:

    Will probably take the “No Direction Party” 2/3 years to organize anything whilst the lawyers expenses continue to clock up – no change there then! no doubt some brown envelopes already have been warmly received as usual sigh!

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  4. Eagle eye says:

    After all this marching nothing is mention yet.hurry come election

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  5. Diaspora says:

    “The UK minister made it clear the British government did not want to impose public registers on the BVI. He said his government was merely honouring the will of UK parliament.”. I went to Manda School so can someone edumacate me on the different between government and parliament. Is not the government made up of a majority of parliament members, albeit it could be a coalition government? Could the government have voted 👎 on the Bill if it so desired? Yes. But the government playing politics; it is survival. BVI, the UK is not into you.

    What is going on? Was the government crying wolf, crying crocodile tears, making false belief? The government made the registers of beneficial ownership a national emergency, a national crisis yet it did not move with alacrity, with deliberate speed to officially raise the issue with the UK. It met with Lord Ahmad face to face, up close and personal yet failed to raise the issue, unless Lord Ahmad was fibbing. Is another trip to the UK in the offing. Well sah, how less ah wi?

    • James says:

      @Diaspora: The UK Parliament consist of both the House of Commons also referred to as the lower chamber and the House of Lords also referred to as the upper chamber. The Government consist of the political party that won a clear majority of the seats in the elected chamber (House of Commons) after a general election. Currently the UK has a coalition government made up of the Torries/ Conservative Party and the Scottish National Party due to the fact that no party won the required number of seats in the last general election which I believe is 326.

      • Diaspora says:

        @James, thanks for the clarification. Another question: If a piece of legislation/bill failed in the House of Commons (Lower House), what happens? Is it forwarded to the House of Lords(Upper House)? And if so, what if the Upper House passed the legislation that the Lower House disapproved what happens next, if anything?

  6. politick says:

    @diaspora @james
    Theresa May’s Conservative party won 319 seats at the last general election- short of the 326 required for a majority. May is leading a minority government, with an uneasy alliance (but not a full coalition) with the Democratic Unionist Party who hold 10 seats. A deal has been done whereby the DUP will vote with the government to give the Conservative party up to 329 votes to pass any Bill into law. Unlike the elected House of Commons, all members of the House of Lords (excluding 90 hereditary peers elected among themselves and two peers who are ex officio members) are appointed. The House of Lords scrutinises bills that have been approved by the House of Commons, but it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, and can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions.

  7. moo moo says:

    Dees moo moo here useless.

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