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Premier ‘can’t say’ if measures to avoid EU blacklist will hurt BVI

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said he “cannot say” whether the legislative changes that the government will adopt to remain off the European Union’s (EU) blacklist of tax havens will harm the local financial services industry, which is the BVI’s bread-and-butter.

“I will say that government and the industry are, of course, working together on this matter and are considering all the steps that are necessary … We are doing what we have to do – what we’ve always been doing – to protect the industry,” Dr Smith assured during a press conference this week.

The BVI, in the meantime, has until December 2018 to implement these ‘legislative changes’ but Premier Smith has declined to give details of what such changes will entail.

He, however, said he hopes the changes will be enough to not only keep the BVI off the blacklist but also bump the territory from the EU’s provisional ‘grey list’, where it currently sits.

What is the tax haven blacklist?

The blacklist was created to categorise jurisdictions who ‘do not respect the EU’s tax transparency standards’.

The EU created the blacklist in December 2017; some three months after hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the BVI.

While the EU classifies the BVI as a territory that is non-compliant to its standards, it put the territory on a so-called ‘grey list’ and gave it a year to become compliant.

The BVI was given a one-year grace period because of the onslaught of the hurricanes. But, this grace period expires in three months and if the BVI doesn’t satisfy the EU, it could then be blacklisted and subjected to diplomatic sanctions.

Below is the EU’s blacklisted and grey-listed countries:

Blacklist

The Bahamas, American Samoa, Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands.

Grey list

The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Macao, the Marshall Islands, Panama, Saint Lucia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

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15 Comments

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  1. ?? says:

    So he is supposed to see the future now? For heaven’s sake man!

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  2. Pink list says:

    EU always want want want from us. Since back in the day, they crashed or agriculture banana exports industry all so EU farmers can take over.

    Hell, since we fought for our freedom from doing work for them for free, things were never the same with these people. What ever we build they destroy.

    But when we were growing cotton and sugarcane for them, it was good, when we grow for our own profit, they wipe us out.

    Wether it’s coffee beans, or the fish in our seas they come tell us we can’t. They are saying to stop fishing the reefs on VI private islands now. Pushing for this law, Dr. Pickering knows bout this.

    EU has nothing worthwhile for us people, wake up ..

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    • @Pink List says:

      I’m glad you are one of the few that see and understand what’s REALLY GOIN ON! The same thing people don’t understand about WHY we are kicking up about the UK’s Decision… It’s about our SELF SUSTAINABILITY!!!!

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      Where in the EU are they growing bananas. Is it Sweden?

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      • @Rubba dub says:

        They crashed it anyhow. We might be under the United Kingdom but we ain’t ethnically European. And that underline even underscores critical factors in our development and our destiny. Our story is so much bigger, so much greater, we cannot be shackled by others opinion or advice in this day.

        As the U.K exists the E.U, one thing it teaches me is that everyone gets to decide where life takes them. We are an exceptional people that have been influencing civilization since it’s inception.

        Travel around London, in their museums you see great works of art of our people, you see dynasties, kingdoms, empires, books on the natural laws, the stars and anatomy.

        We shall write a new constitution after this greatness and we shall achieve all that we once were!

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  3. 2 Grand says:

    our good premier can’t seem in general to know anything to the running of the vi and welfare of its citizens SMH

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  4. EU citizen says:

    Banana farmers in the EU?
    Coffee beans growing in Europe?

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  5. Ausar says:

    All blacklisted countries are, for the most part, non-white majority populated areas of the world.

    That should not come as a surprise. All we are and should ever be for perpetuity: haulers of water and hewers of wood for the white cause, that’s all, folks..

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  6. E. Leonard says:

    Undoubtedly, the financial services sector has been fruitful for the BVI. It, along with tourism, positioned the BVI (despite it being one of the smaller countries in the region) to having one of the highest standard of living, quality of life and per capita income ($38K) in the region. Further, it, together with tourism, formed the twin pillars of the economy; financial services generates approximately 60% of government revenue. However, financial services, as well as tourism, is highly fragile and vulnerable to external shocks. Increasingly, financial services sector seemed to be under a blistering attack from external forces.

    On the one hand, the UK is requiring Caribbean Overseas Territories (OT) to establish registers of beneficial ownership by December 2020. It is important to note that the requirement does not apply to the crown dependencies of Jersey, Isle of Man, and Guernsey. Nonetheless, the beneficial ownership registers may be harmful to the BVI and its economy. Now, on the other hand, the EU is threatening to black list the BVI; black listing the BVI can be harmful to it and its economy. An all hands on deck effort is needed to mitigate the threats to the financial services sector.

    Moreover, in the near term, the BVI must exert a full throated effort to strengthen, deepen, improve and sustain both tourism and financial services sectors, the twin pillars of the economy. Nonetheless, for the longer term, the BVI must work feverishly to diversify its economy. Diversifying the economy is insurance to prevent the stumbling of one sector of the economy from the whole economy tumbling altogether. Consequently, the current government must start the economic diversification process, and a new government, if any, must continue it.

  7. John says:

    Shows that Edomites cannot be trusted

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  8. Cromwell says:

    E Leonard makes a very good point, but, what he opines will require substantial outside investment, and, that won’t happen until such time as the territory ceases it’s discriminatory way of operating. A perfect example for those who are interested is the Cayman Islands, their economy is booming, they are not on the EU’s grey list, and, Hurricane Ivan did as much damage to them as Irma did to the BVI. They asked the UK for nothing, and quickly rebuilt themselves immediately because they had enormous outside investment before, during, and, after Hurricane Ivan. Cayman had an open society where the government brings in professionals to run everything, unlike the BVI who do not.

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