BVI News

2023 reprieve: UK extends deadline for BVI to implement public registers

UK minister responsible for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad (left), shaking hands with Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

The United Kingdom government has granted its Overseas Territories a reprieve and is now allowing the British Virgin Islands to go without implementing the bedevilling public registers of company beneficial ownership until 2023.

This timeline represents a three-year extension to the initial deadline that the UK had outlined in its Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act. The Act was forcing the BVI to implement what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership. by the year 2020.

UK Minister responsible for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad, gave disclosure about the extension during a recent Foreign Affairs Committee meeting.

He said: “It is our intention that if by 2020 there is no public register, for whatever territory, we will then issue an Order in Council, which will then have a requirement for an operational public register by 2023.”

Lord Ahmad said the 2023 deadline will give the UK time to advance its mission of making public registers become a global standard.

“In terms of whether, from a global perspective, there will be a level playing field by 2023, as I said, that is an objective — an ambition we have set ourselves. But in my personal view, I do not think we will see every territory across the world having public registers by 2023.”

UK parliamentarians displeased with 2023 ‘delay’

According to a January 11 report from British media entity, The Guardian, opposition legislators in British parliament are displeased with the new date.

Chris Bryant, a legislator in the foreign affairs select committee, was quoted in the report stating: “This new timetable is not what parliament thought they were getting when they discussed this. The government has dragged its heels on this issue and this seems yet another unjustified delay. It’s as if the government has become the Department for Procrastination. It means the British Overseas Territories remain Britain’s ‘achilles heel’ when it comes to financial corruption, money laundering, and dodgy money.”

It is said that the UK government delayed its implementation order because of the major backlash from Overseas Territories such as the BVI who threaten legal action, among other things.

Extract from the conversation had during the recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office meeting on public registers and BVI ‘declaring war’ on UK’

What are public registers, what do they mean?

Imposing public registers is an amendment to the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.

These registers mean the BVI and other Overseas Territories are required to publicise the names of beneficial owners of offshore companies registered in those jurisdictions.

Effectively, beneficial ownership is a legal term whereby specific property rights belong to a person even though the legal title of the property is in another person’s name.

Publicising the names of these beneficial owners could discourage them from doing business with the BVI as it relates to financial services.

The BVI has maintained that it has no problem implementing public registers but has a problem doing so before it becomes a global standard. Premier Dr D Orlando Smith reasons that the BVI would be placed at a disadvantage to other financial services jurisdications.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

25 Comments

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  1. ndp heckler says:

    That’s good news!!! Now back to the 7.2 million$$$$ that we have outstanding

    Like 11
    Dislike 7
    • HRMPH says:

      The new Economic Substance law should ensure that there are very few companies in the BVI by 2023 (most will have been obliged to leave by 2020) so the beneficial ownership legislation will not be such a big deal then.

      Like 9
      Dislike 2
      • @HRMPH says:

        It’s pretty obvious that you have no clue about the substance legislation and the effects on different companies/client. It’s not blanket legislation, there are certain features of the companies that would determine whether they fall within the scope of the substance. Further, there are some positives that will come out of the legislation but the problem here is we pretend to love the country but are always so f*****g negative.

        Like 3
        Dislike 3
        • Yep says:

          They love the country but despise the colours of those who make up the country …dark memories of their hateful ancestors and who they are tied to by blood.
          We overcome,they come, they earn a tidy sum.
          Their eyes see their hearts and they lustfully exist.

          Like 1
          Dislike 2
          • Jane says:

            Whitey here. I didnt move to the Caribbean to get away from black people. If I despised people of colour I would have stayed in a country which is 87% white. I haven’t come here to subjugate or colonise, I don’t have a vote here and likely never will, I am a second-class person here. I came because I am an economic migrant trying to make a better life for myself through my own hard work. My ancestors were poor people, who also had no vote, who lived at the mercy of their bosses, who could and were, thrown out of their houses on a whim into penury, into the workhouse. They were not slaves, far from it, but their lives were hard and without freedoms. I am disgusted by the slave-trade then, I am disgusted that many Africans TODAY are enslaved. I certainly benefit from white privilege in my home country, but living in BVI is the first time I realised what that really was because white privilege doesnt exist here because people love to put whitey in their place. Fair enough, and I can deal with that. But please these issues are so nuanced and spreading your kind of hateful language only divides us further.

    • @NDP Heckler says:

      Darn man, just go pluck 7.2 million stands of hair off your d..k and cover the bill.

      Like 3
      Dislike 3
    • Anonymous says:

      So with this time reprieve BVI, get your s**t together and start some planning to supplement your national income. But, as usual the political thieves will empty the Treasury and you’ll all be in a worse position in 2023 then your in now.

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  2. Ausar says:

    Great, great news for our country!

    It would be interesting to see what further enhancements could be sought if the Theresa Mays government is booted out of office.

  3. BVI lawyer says:

    Whilst this appears to be good news on the face of it, I think everyone should be cautious for two main reasons.

    (1) The proposal involves the BOTs breaching the UK’s statutory requirement, and then relying upon the Government imposing a soft deadline to comply by way of Order in Council. There are lots of ways that could go wrong, but the most important is that this is not a binding commitment on the part of the UK Government. If there is a general election in the UK and a new Government (especially a Labour Government) it is unlikely they will honour Lord Ahmad’s suggestion.

    (2) The anti-BOT agenda in the UK is driven by the NGOs. Far too many times in the past people have assumed victory, only for the NGOs to show creativity, resilience and determination. They will not accept this lying down. They will use all of their resources to try and reverse this. If we spend all our time sitting on our hands congratulating ourselves whilst they are working hard at reversing it, we can expect future disappointments.

    Like 16
    • Jack Cade says:

      @BVI Lawyer – very good points. What Ahmed has said is a statement of policy from the current UK Govt. I don’t make any prediction of who the UK Govt will be next week let alone in 2021. In any event, the Order in Council must be approved by the House of Commons. A reminder that it was not UK Govt policy to insist on public registers for the OTs in the first place. The amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-money Laundering Act was only made after a sizeable revolt by Tory MPs. We need to think every move very carefully and be strategic in our approach.

  4. Wendy says:

    Fairness .Good start for the New Year.
    Thank you Dr Smith and your Ministers.

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  5. @BVI Lawyer says:

    Thanks for the pertinent information not other wise available to the average.

    Counterpoint, there is a belief system that says, if master is stomping your head into the mud, should one not take concrete steps to avoid face being stomped in the mud?

    Knowing one is at the mercy of the NGO’S, should not the BVI economy take steps to protect itself from such face stomping in the mud realities?

    What’s most unbelievable is that a vast majority of our people are programmed to and will accept any thing the UK and its government do to them, their government and their financial pillar.

    They will gladly eat salt before rebelling.

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  6. Good Job VI says:

    For standing up against the UK in a forceful way last May. They obviously took note.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  7. TurtleDove says:

    Give them their public register in 2023 but some serious thought needs to go into diversifying the economy and improving Tourism.

  8. Wendy says:

    Thank you for your staunch leadership in this matter,Dr Smith ,along with your abled Ministers.
    The BVI moved and continues to move forward while bravely overcoming the greatest of hurdles. A blessed place on Earth for all ah we fortunates.
    Thanks!!!

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  9. Interested says:

    It is but a postponement of the evil day.

  10. Wendy says:

    Much respect. I erred in not singling out The Hon Kederick Pickering and his role as Minister of Resources whose public,private and forceful vocal response which created the momentum for the indignation against the will of the UK.
    However, Dr Smith at the time, the head and leader of this group of diverse personalities of etraordinarily gifted “love for the BVI” Ministers
    illicits from me,a special admiration for his quiet and unassuming ability to put in place the perfect tools which culminats in the job getting done.
    In my opinion,The Hon D Orlando Smith is the best of all the best leaders that the VI has elected to date. May we continue to be blessed with such leadership.

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  11. Windy says:

    Well said Mrs Smith!

  12. Anon says:

    Bailed out again.
    All those companies dodging their tax obligations in the countries in which they really operate and squirreling it away into the BVI and eventually into the politicians pockets.
    Whether its 2020 or 2023 it’s time for the BVI to come up with a plan B because that gravy train is coming to an end.

    • No Problem says:

      The issue raised by the BVI is extending the requirement of
      beneficial ownership..GLOBALLY..and this will happen so a level playing field is the way to go in fairness,in truth.

      • Anon says:

        Well yeah… a level playing field amongst all the jurisdictions currently hosting shady tax avoidance and money laundering schemes.
        The criminals will go elsewhere to hide their ill-gotten gains.
        And ‘legit’ companies won’t want to face the shame of having their name and reputation exposed as shady tax avoider so will have to clean up their act.
        Either way, a lot less $$$ will be coming into the BVI. Hence my comment about the gravy train coming to an end. No more easy money to fill the government coffers and line politicians pockets.

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