BVI News

Bad timing: BVI shelves trip to Africa to focus EU blacklist deadline

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith. (BVI News photo)

The Premier Dr D Orlando Smith-led trade mission to Africa that was scheduled for November has been postponed till next year.

The trip has been shelved so the territory can focus on the European Union’s (EU) upcoming assessment of the BVI’s finance centre’s.

The BVI has until December to adopt a number of legislative changes to remain off the EU’s blacklist of tax havens.

And in considering the limited time remaining to convince the EU that the BVI is a jurisdiction that is ‘compliant’ with its anti-money laundering and anti-tax evasion policies, the Premier said he has instructed the territory’s UK/EU representative, Elise Donovan, to ‘redouble efforts’ abroad to achieve that goal.

“Ms Donovan was a key member of the delegation which was due to participate in a mission to three African countries in November, and it is vital that she remains in the UK to focus on the EU,” the Premier explained.

Interim Executive Director of BVI Finance, Lorna Smith said the Africa Expert Network “understands and fully support” the BVI’s position and have agreed to put a hold on their meetings.

“We’ve been looking forward to embarking on this mission to Africa, BVI Finance agrees that the BVI’s focus and firepower need to be directed toward the issue involving the EU.”

“We must continue to put all our efforts into ensuring that the BVI remains a sound, reliable and transparent jurisdiction,” BVI Finance boss said.

What is the EU’s 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.

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  1. Laura says:

    Keep the pressure on OUR government leaders at all times people! They ONLY hear us if we speak loudly!

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  2. Anonymous says:

    And why doesn’t this article or those involved explain exactly why the BVI is non-compliant and what has to be done to become compliant. Everything in the Territory is done in secrecy and behind closed doors. Transparency is a word that is not in the BVI dictionary and obviously the cause of non compliance. How exactly does one “double their efforts” unless you do what is requested. Please feel free to enlighten us all.

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
    • @ anonymous says:

      The BVI is listed as largely compliant by the OECD, along with G20 countries. A big number of other jurisdictions were included on this grey list & if one were to do their due diligence, perhaps they may be able to speak more intelligently on that matter. BVI is a transparent jurisdiction compared to many other countries also

      Like 7
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  3. Auditor says:

    Wise decision Dr Smith.

    Please release the audit now. It’s several years past due and you promised us this past summer that you would release it shortly.

    Thank you

    Like 10
  4. wow says:

    what a mess the ndp have this country in

    Like 10
    Dislike 5
  5. I'm Laxed says:

    Wow, one year!!! man i have lots of time. HECK!??
    A year gone already ,I better get o this. Can’t go to Africa again.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  6. White Elephant says:

    “… the BVI REMAINS a sound, reliable and transparent jurisdiction”

    Sound: Our country is not sound. It’s badly broken. Our schools are worse than many third world schools. Our internet speeds are slower than all of our neighbors. Our dump is still on fire creating toxic fumes exposing us and our neighbors to cancer causing foul smelling clouds.

    Reliable: Our government services are not reliable. Our water and electricity are not only very expensive they are anything but reliable.

    Transparent: This does not exist today. We have yet to see the contracts with BVI Airways. Our leaders have failed to even release the simple audit of our government accounts. Dr Smith, the BVI is not your piggy bank. That’s our money we entrusted you to spend wisely. But a lot it is unaccounted for. We don’t have any process in place to provide transparency today. Dr Smith, will you and your fellow ministers release your tax returns? Will you provide us with a list of companies that you and your family own benificial interests in?

    Like 15
  7. Madness says:

    It was a BVI Finance trip, not a Dr. Smith or NDP trip.

    Like 5
    Dislike 11
  8. Reply says:

    Good they listen to the criticism leveled at them over that trip, and wiser heads apparently has prevailed.

    The timing and optics of this African delegation simply looked bad especially in light of the fact that our country is still recovering from the hurricanes of 2017, many people are displaced without a roof over their heads, the infrastructure of the country remains in disrepair in many areas, and many of our kids remain displaced from their schools.

    Under these conditions, the government cannot continue business as usual.

  9. Sam the man says:

    More like he’s actually listened to the extensive backlash to him swanning of on holiday to Africa 1st class! He still won’t catch up on all the yearly audited accounts he was supposed to have done as finance minister – just wait for all the excuses as usual….

  10. SOS mayday mayday says:

    Captain your ship is sinking

  11. Windy says:

    Translation — Governor squashed that wasteful trip

  12. No nonsense says:

    I really want the Queen to go over the governors head and MAKE THEM (NDP) to Put back ALL our hard earned money. Seize what ever the hell dem have of value and dont give dem NO retirement funds either. WHEN DEM GOIN STOP….??

    • Sherlock says:

      Let’s create a new laws;
      1) To serve as an elected official you must release your tax returns.
      2) You must publically disclose your beneficial ownership interests in companies (including BVI companies)
      3) Any official (past or present) caught with their hand in our cookie jar must serve a minimum of 10 years in prison.
      4) Any official (past or present) receiving kickbacks for awarding public money contracts must serve a minimum of 10 years in prison.
      We could potentially pay for our news schools with the money we could claw back from these guys.

      • Jane says:

        The problem is that the crooks will be just as bad at managing “their” money as they are managing the country’s money. When you go looking they will have frittered it away on expensive cars, flights and bad investments. These same people who thought extending Brandywine Bay, investing in airplanes, pointless traffic lights at the roundabout, building greenhouses, drag racing assessments, traffic islands to stop drag racing, scrubbers for the incinerator which never worked or never arrived, not bothering to insure any buildings in a hurricane zone…were all smart ideas. The lot of them are either stupid or corrupt, or both. My money is on both. But the people who will be really stupid are the people who will vote any of them back in. Time to clean house.

    • dude says:

      Do you really think the queen rules over something?

  13. Billionaire says:

    The BVI is largely compliant but we are still trying to ammend legislations and are still on a blacklist… Are we being bullied? Something is missing….

  14. cancelled says:

    I would like to know if the tickets and accommodation are already paid for? I cant believe with the EU and UK matters our Premier believed Nigeria a suitable market for BVI Companies.

  15. JK says:

    Let me guess, Gov’t credit card was declined at the time of booking the flights?

    Like 12
  16. Hmmmm says:

    They couldn’t find any African consultants?

  17. Wendy says:

    It is enough for me that a serious attempt at having an alliance with the Motherland is being made…As we see,it is enough to cause a stir from the big pot.
    African and Caribbean economic dealings would be a very powerful statement to the fears and insecurities of the colonisers and the expats from those said countries who are living interfering and instigating in the Caribbean.
    Long overdue ,an African connection is a force of riveting concern and attempts to block such is evident but it will happen in the very near future.
    Mama,she treat her daughter mean and as a result changes for daughter’s future must be made.

    Like 2
    Dislike 3

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