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Gov’t to seek legal advice about UK dilemma

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith consults with a government minister insider the Ashley Ritter Building on Wickam’s Cay II recently.

The United Kingdom is being accused of breaching a constitutional agreement between it and the British Virgin Islands, and local government will be seeking legal advice on the matter.

Premier Smith made that note on Wednesday in response to the UK’s decision to impose a public register that forces the BVI to reveal information on beneficial owners with offshore companies in the territory. The policy also affects other British Overseas Territories.

“We do not feel that this is right constitutionally because when we negotiated the constitution in 2007 – various responsibilities such as financial services, tourism, and other things, … it said that any decision to have any policy which may interfere with those sectors, there would first be a discussion with the BVI on it.”

“And just as the other territories such as Bermuda, such as Cayman; we will be seeking advice from a constitution expert on this matter.”

Human rights violation

But the Premier said the UK’s move is not only a constitutional violation.

He said the UK is also infringing on the privacy of offshore company owners who do business with the BVI and other Overseas Territories.

“I don’t think anybody would like to see their bank accounts being made public and this is a major factor as well,” Premier Smith reasoned.

He added: “There is also the question of human rights. Here, as a territory, we’ve had the most severe natural disasters in a hundred years in the Caribbean and the BVI took the brunt of it. I think it goes against human rights provisions to be able to now go and say ‘we are going to take away the other factor of your economy’. That doesn’t sound right.”

The UK’s decision to impose public registers on the BVI was implemented on May 1.

The territory now has until December 2020 to comply.

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33 Comments

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  1. Public says:

    I can appreciate that all the OTs are unique and have their own “dog in this fight” however, wouldn’t a unified front from all the OTs speak louder than each individual country fighting this on their own?

  2. Wendy says:

    No ifs ands or buts this UK mandate is shady from many angles. If the territories together as one could / would challenge it that would be great .
    The VI must at all cost even if alone. Legally this mandate cannot be valid and morally it is abhorrent. The authors and lawmakers are allowing their colonistic inherrent assumed power now gone powerless to get the better of their emotions and willful ways to filter through their colons.
    It is a new day and looking back we will give thanks for this blatant act of attempted subterfuge by the UK and USA.

  3. Socrates says:

    If the government wins this battle does the war still rages on? Will not the BVI still be under the UK umbrella? Will the BVI pursue independence? Can the BVI afford to go independent and be the tiniest country to attain independence? What is the history of sister regional countries attaining independence? If it goes independent, what happens to its GDP, quality of life, standard of living…..etc? As a resource-poor dot in the Caribbean Sea is going it alone in its interest and the interest of the people? How will this battle/war between the UK and VI impact the the recovery effort, ie, the £300M loan guarantee? Has another major hurricane hit the BVI? It was unprepared for Irmaria so is it prepared for this financial storm? Is economic decline in the offing, on the horizon? Is the BVI in a royal mess?

    • Wondering says:

      Yup

    • BVIslander says:

      While I don’t think we are ready as a country to go independent I certainly believe the time is right to have a serious conversation that would fit into a broader vision of the possibility of us heading down that road in the next 10 years.

  4. Rubber Du k says:

    The U.K. does not care about the tiny insignificant BVI. It cares about the pressure from its trading partners and allies to stop the loss of tax caused, as they see it, by places like BVI. There are many possible remedies to the economic situation here but getting into a legal fight with the people who write the laws is not one of them.

  5. Aight says:

    May be worth the legal advice to seek out any potential redress on this issue. As for independence- it’s a no brained there; we simply cannot take that on rite now given he fiscal restraints. Would we still be able to use the US dollar? Or would we have to beg for the EC currency to be the national currency? Yo protect what’s left of fincacial services are we willing to forgo all other benefits we currently enjoy?

  6. Brad Boynes says:

    @Socrates. Bring some solutions plse.

    • Socrates says:

      @Brad Boynes, Socrates like name sake in ancient Athens ask questions, not provide solutions. I leave the solutions ting to other smarter bloggers. Asking questions is my style/forte. You got to look to Plato and Aristotle for solutions.

  7. VILander says:

    Hello BVI welcome to the struggle against the oppressors that all black people & countries have to deal with. Nice to know your finally getting woke to the reality.

  8. Slick says:

    lets get legal advise and experts to mind our govt, roads, and find out where all the airline money went. Find out why this govt had no pre-hurricane plan and still has no plan for recovery.

  9. BVIslander says:

    Edomites cannot be trusted

  10. Questions says:

    This Bill was rejected by the House of Lords in Jan 18th – aren’t they are higher house? Is there room for appeal, it makes the Lords look stupid.

    The UK cant impose laws on a Crown dependency, what the practical difference between a Crown dependency and British Overseas Territory? The UK don’t fund this economy, all we need is military support.

    • BVIslander says:

      The Lord as unelected peers is there to scrutinize and propose amendments but unfortunately the power rests with the lower House of Commons which is the elected body. The functions of the Lords has been the subject of much debate in the UK regarding their role as an unelected body. Those who oppose it argues that it’s unconstitutional to have an unelected body performing a legislative function even those its unable to pass legislation on its own accord.

    • Refocusing says:

      Wow, thank you for posting this informative link. Everyone should read it and comment here.

    • BVI lawyer says:

      Mr Wh—r is a known constitutional scholar, but his analysis doesn’t cover all of the bases. In particular to what extent power which has been devolved to a subsidiary body can unilaterally be revoked ad hoc, and secondly, where the relations between constituent bodies have an internal review mechanism, whether one state is entitled to simply ignore that mechanism entirely and do what it will.

      The legal issues – to say nothing of the political issues – are more complex than that article suggests (informative though it is).

      • BVIslander says:

        @BVI Lawyer: perhaps a good place to start would be the Orders in Council which are drafted by the U.K. to implement International sanction in the OTs and Crown Dependencies to fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. It’s hard to pin point a huge difference between those Orders and what will likely to be very similar Order to force the implementation of a Public Register of Beneficial Ownership information. They will do it under the guise of fighting money laundering even though it’s more about taking the business for themselves as part of their post brexit strategy.

        • Rubber Duck says:

          You may well be right about them taking the business for themselves. As it stands you may form a UK company on line for $50 and name the directors anything you like. There are no checks on the veracity of the names or addresses given.

          Currently the company will be required to pay tax on world wide incomes but U.K. Coorporation tax is now very low and will almost certainly go lower,to10% or less, after Brexit.

          So would you pay say 10% and hide your identity or nothing and be named as the beneficial owner so that your own country may tax you at a rate almost certainly above 10%?

      • Rubber Duck says:

        Might is right in the real world. Ask the USA.

  11. Reality says:

    I thought a few days ago the Premier said this wasn’t unexpected and was planned for? If so just carry on with your plans… Don’t start bleating now about how unfair it is ! The BVI will comply whether it likes it or not just get used to it and stop moaning and treading water….

    • Hmmm says:

      Exactly! Dirty money is used for human trafficking, terrorism, war, and much more. The BVI is a God fearing country and we do not want to be used by those Satanic forces. The fear of a God is the beginning of wisdom.

  12. Rubber Duck says:

    “No one likes to see their bank accounts made public”. How true, and that even includes all those non belongers who even as we speak are having their bank accounts inspected by Immigration to determine if they will be booted out of their homes and exiled or not. And it also includes all those potential investors and even potential wealthy residents who must produce their bank accounts for inspection by the stasi in the various government departments for every.

    What goes around , comes around.

  13. George Fahie says:

    Friends…..the worst is yet to come.

  14. Reality says:

    But Hmmmm is BVI a God fearing country? You observe how everyone without fail within the government new and old hands have behaved and what they have protested about and it’s pretty clear – ” men love darkness rather than light for their deeds are evil” a desire to keep things hidden and secret is a worrying intent by some and their vote against the agency that wiould ensure transparency and openness – he was supposed to be the injection of Godly values and ended up voting against his own party to maintain the secrecy….quite unbelievable….but I agree if you have nothing to hide and nothing illegal is going on you would expect the BVI to willingly comply – but clearly they know different which is why they are worried and now it definitely will happen because they have revealed their objection….

  15. Unknown Future says:

    Response to UK Dilemma

    A government which does not serve to protect the interest of the governed [UK versus the BVI], and which does not operate with their consent are not legitimate, and thereby should be constitutionally, politically and legislatively discarded.

    Suffice to say then, that men can never be secure from tyranny if there be no means to escape until they are perfectly under it. And therefore it is that they have not only a right to get out of it, but to prevent it.

    What will 2020 bring? From afar, it looks like military and economic invasion and takeover.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      The opposite is true. The U.K. has zero interest in the OTs which bring them nothing but trouble and they would love to be rid of the lot of them. What does the U.K. gain from them?

  16. Idea says:

    Maybe if the bvi/ots had representation in the u.k this would’nt have happened. Rather than independance you can consider doing what curacao aruba and st maartin did or get representation for the ots…gibralter is get an MP soon..

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