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We will be taking action — Premier on UK decision

As the territory reacts to the UK’s decision to implement a policy that forces the BVI to reveal the names of all beneficial owners of offshore companies in the territory, government said it has been preparing for years for such ‘changes’ to its financial services industry.

“In the coming weeks, we will be taking action on those plans,” Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said in a statement late Tuesday, May 1.

“Now is also an opportune time for us to embrace new businesses to support not only our recovery and development but a futuristic economy with modern and innovative ideas and technology,” added Dr Smith.

BVI has ‘dirty money’, says UK

The new UK policy is an amendment to their Sanctions And Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which gives the BVI and other Overseas Territories roughly two years to comply.

The UK claimed the BVI has been accepting “dirty money” through its financial services industry and said their new policy will increase transparency in the territory.

But Premier Smith yesterday described the UK’s policy as ‘deeply flawed’ and one-sided.

Not a level playing field

He said there are no global standards that mandate that financial service providers publish the names of beneficial company owners; so the BVI should not be made to reveal its beneficial owners.

“We believe that in the absence of a global standard and a level playing field, the imposition of public registers of beneficial ownership on the Virgin Islands could have negative economic consequences. It is unfortunate that this development has taken place as we continue to recover from last year’s disasters.”

“Certainly, these are difficult times,” the Premier said.

While the BVI grapples with the new reality forced on by the UK, both the Premier and Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie have called for local unity to address this new challenge.

The Premier’s full statement about the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill can be read HERE.

How UK’s anti-money laundering bill affects BVI

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26 Comments

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  1. Taco says:

    Good to see both parties working together for the best solution. Sometimes in the face of disaster opportunities can arise. Stay focused gentlemen.

  2. Laura says:

    “Each time, the case for ending secrecy becomes stronger as more information emerges about how illicitly obtained money is protected from discovery by anonymity,” Baroness Stern said. “It is clear that not all those who set up shell companies in offshore locations are doing so because they have something to hide, but for those who do have something to hide — drug barons, arms traders, tax evaders, government ministers in resource-rich countries stealing money that should go to the good of the people — anonymous shell companies meet their needs very well.”

    Lord Naseby, who is a vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Cayman Islands, said that forcing the BOTs to have public registers when no other major competitors do so would see business move away. He also warned against legislating for overseas territories that are self-governing.

    “To use an Order in Council for financial regulation when the overseas territories have already adopted international standards while the UK has not would expose the UK to legal challenge as potentially irrational,” he added.

    This may come as a surprise to those demanding an open register; but crooks don’t tell the truth.

    The notion that a public UBO register is the panacea to the problem of corruption is flawed. Such a register is only as good as the information provided.

    There are indeed difficult times ahead, but giving up is never an option. Time to regroup and seek alternatives.

  3. Sam the man says:

    Relieved to hear that the NDP have been planning for this possibility for years…phew for a moment I thought it had taken them by surprise and they were like rabbits in headlights panicking what to do – I guess the emergency meeting called the other day gave everyone that impression…..if as the Premiers statement says they have been doing most of it already and this is a call for greater transparency its the right thing to do, not that the BVI has any choice mind…..unless it decides to cut all ties to the UK and go independent, which won’t happen as Irma has demonstrated we are totally screwed without the UK’s money, expertise and resources even when it isn’t valued and appreciated ….

    • Worker Bee says:

      Planning?!? Which part of any BVI government in the last 20 years has shown themselves to be gifted at planning for anything, much less following through with the plan?

  4. Killmonger says:

    NOPE! WE WANT TO KNOW WHO OWNS WHAT AND WHAT IS YOUR NET WORTH! Then we will know who to properly FEAST ON YOU BASTARDS!

  5. Hmmm says:

    First action to take is to move this man from our head position in the country.

  6. Concern says:

    This would have never happened under Lavity or Ralph watch.

  7. Lordie says:

    Now they have to publicize all that money they have here hidden also. Hahahahaha they will probably run to the Chinese who they are in bed with to open more bank accounts there but you can run NDP Ministers of government but you can’t hide.

  8. CW says:

    Always thinking about yourselves. The flow of dirty money in offshore havens like BVI contributes directly to deaths, wars, drug smuggling, and human trafficking. All you guys can think about is your little island- and I’m willing to bet NONE of you commenting even work in financial services- very few BVIlanders do…. entitled and selfish ess rules the BVI headset and cripples you. That’s why tourism is slow. That’s why BVI is behind literally every other recovery in the region. That’s why there’s constant fighting in your government and why you do not and will not make progress. This is an opportunity for the BVI to set a standard and lead the offshore banking community around the world. But all you see it as is a problem. Just like normal. Get it together BVI! SMH

    • Kinte says:

      You want to make your point about the dirty money that is hidden cotributing to death,wars and drug smuggling fine I agree with you. You have stopped there but no you had to add insults to your statement which belittles what you had to say to begin with.

      You can criticize without trying to put others down. But that seemed difficult for you. Why the hatred.

      • sam the man says:

        Kinte – you can choose to be offended by honest observations or not – actually the truth often is a bitter pill to swallow ! maybe if you weren’t so proud you’d see that CW actually makes relevant points whether you like it or not….maybe that’s part of the problem – folk often just want to hear what they want to hear…sadly change is needed soon otherwise the BVI is totally screwed…

    • Watcher says:

      You think there is no dirty money in London? Hello.

    • @cw says:

      You sound like a fool as we don’t do offshore banking here. We barely do local retail banking. Check your facts.

  9. expat says:

    Mention specific case where the BVI has Contributed to any of those allegation and what is your source did you use to get the information.

  10. Consultant says:

    So, what exactly is the plan? Seems to me the problem is that this type of business has been tip-toeing away from the BVIs for some time due to the BVIs proximity to the US (FACTA), and the murmurings of the now UK required beneficial ownership lists. The goose that has laid the golden eggs for so long is now moribund, and we failed to invest wisely. So what are we going to do? Snub the UK and do as we like? Wouldn’t that look a bit politically unstable to those looking to hide their millions? Would we prepared to pay higher interest, or even forgo the monies, forgo UK is guaranteeing?

    There is not presently enough labor available in the BVIs to quickly (<5 years) restore it to a primo tourist destination. providing we can (finally?) learn to practice better customer service. Only one chance to make a first impression as they say. Meanwhile, tourists may find other little secrets of nature and may not return. We in a serious mess.

    • Hotelier. says:

      To recover we need investment. And that investment has to come from outside. The government may dream of 300 room international hotels on Prospect Reef or what ever but that’s is highly unlikely and the smaller private investors who own most of the current hotels are wondering whether it is worth rebuilding them. Look around. There is not much happening. As for new investors? You jest. Get a work permit to work for yourself. Get a 12% NBLHL in 6 months after showing your bank balance. Have your passport confiscated if you inadvertently run over your “time” while away on a business trip? I think they might head for Cayman or Antigua or St Kitts or anywhere they feel valued and are not treated like a beggar with leprosy.

      Expect half the hotels never to re-open.

  11. Buff-baff says:

    I don’t know who you are, but you seem to be a disgruntled Brit. New York City and London are the two LARGEST money laundering centers in the WORLD. Let them lead the way to transparency. This is just another neo-colonial move by the UK to make sure that Black people never enjoy any form of economic success or quality of life. The BVI needs to educate its people on the impacts of this restriction first, then have a referendum and let the UK know where we stand (and stand firm too). Make sure that we do some serious money management within the next two years so that when the time expires for compliance, we are in a better position to tell the UK that we can’t commit economic suicide on our people. The UK voted itself out of the EU, and they know fully well that there are perilous economic times ahead post-Brexit. By jumping on their OTs, that they give very little help to, they can drive the business that we will definitely lose all to themselve to prop up their failing economy.

  12. Socrates says:

    So what leverage does the VI have? Are they going to coalesce with developed countries to force the UK to remove or relax the register of beneficial ownership? Will it pursue a UN resolution against the UK? Will join with other OTs to confront the UK? Will it imposed immigration restriction on UK residents? Will it imposed trade restrictions on UK imports? Will it spend its time and effort looking for effective ways to operate within the new requirements? Will it aggressively pursue independence? It it were planning all along for this eventuality, why wait two weeks? Why not strike now? Is this just tough talk like the tough talk our rep did in the UK? Is Hobson’s choice the VI prime choice?

    • Laura says:

      Good questions..if only they could be answered by the powers that be, we would be at a better advantage of knowing exactly where we stand and where we might possibly be headed.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      Do you imagine there are no restrictions on British Immigrants currently? There are in fact no restrictions on BVI Islanders immigrating into U.K. . That would of course disappear with independence. Along with the government members U.K. passports. So that isn’t gping to happen.

  13. Tricks says:

    Let’s switch this up , could the Uk just give us the names of people who they suspect to have dirty money hiding here and we just give them the info on those specific names

  14. Rubber Duck says:

    What goes around comes around. The BVI has had the opportunity to make friends in the U.K. for years. But instead they made enemies of just about everyone there. Not only because of the alleged money laundering etc but also because every financial services Brit who returned home from his stint here went back with resentment about the way he was treated by Labour, by Imigration, by every other part of government and a minority of the public. And he went home with tales of the dreadful human rights record of the place. Quasi gestapo from immigration hunting people down to see what their homes were like, booting 30 year veterans off the islands and generally treating people like dirt to be disposed of when it got on your shoes.
    You just need to read the press and read the comments.

    It was only 19 people had to be won over. But BVI does not have a single friend there.

    • sam the man says:

      I think the way the BVI treat expats is a disgrace it never improves and one reason that very experienced expats I know of won’t consider returning to assist….

  15. Ex expat says:

    There will never truly be money from the outside invested when you must have a bvi partner that knows nothing but yet wants to rob the till at every chance. To top that off the business has to hire their worthless family to do nothing.
    Curious if the ministers names will be transparent showing all the money they get off contracts such as Peebles hospital, the greenhouses….the list goes on and on …

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