BVI News

Still considering: Gov’t undecided whether to legally contest public registers

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith (foreground) and Governor Augustus Jaspert.

Though three months have elapsed since Gerard Farara and a team of international attorneys were hired to provide counsel to the BVI on the controversial public registers policy, local government has still not decided whether it will go to legal war with the United Kingdom on the matter.

The BVI has until December 2020 to implement these public registers of beneficial ownership. But, according to Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, it is still early days yet.

“We do have the time,” the Premier told journalists while also stating that government must be cautious in how it decides.

“Let me put it this way: Sometimes it’s not best to rush into things. One has to carefully consider and determine what is the next course of action,” he said.

The underlying principle behind these deliberations is to make a decision that will “ensure the economic survival and continuing prosperity of the BVI,” the Premier said.

“Whether that means having discussions which would lead to an outcome that is agreeable to the BVI or it means a legal challenge, that is something we are looking into seriously,” he told journalists at a press conference last week.

Farara has met with int’l attorneys

Dr Smith then confirmed that the team of lawyers his government hired has commenced discussions on the subject.

Farara – a Queen’s Counsel and former Acting High Court Judge in the BVI – is government’s local representative on that team.

“He has been meeting with my team of people,” the Premier said.

The UK has threatened to impose what is known as an Order in Council if the BVI fails to implement the said public registers by the end of the year 2020.

Effectively, an Order in Council is a forceful command made in the name of Her Majesty the Queen. Failure to comply with that command can result in the UK exerting diplomatic pressure on the BVI.

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.

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  1. Sam the man says:

    Rushing and doing any F….king thing in a timely manner is not the “No Direction Parties” style – lets procrastinate, blame others, work out what’s in it for me or my relatives and then get off their fat arse and moan about how the consultants they hired didn’t do their job for them as they cream off the facilitation fees – oh yes we know how things work ….

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    • Anonymous says:

      The reason to procrastinate is that Orlando is between a rock and hard place. The sanctions the UK will impose will be a takeover of the government. If the government exposes the beneficial ownership of the illegal offshore companies, those companies are gone from the BVI and 5000 useless lawyers with their QC will be looking for jobs driving taxies. So what to do? Do the right thing!!! Let the Brits take over, infuse money into the territory, let them make it a place for foreign investment and the whole territory and its people will flourish. I know you all still have that slavery s**t in your minds but lose it. You weren’t slaves and the people of the U.K. didn’t enslave you. If your forefathers weren’t slaves you would be living in Nigeria right now. Would that suit you better? Think how nice it would be not to have to run to the US to birth your children. You love the BVI but won’t have your children there!!! Really!!!

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      • BVI Enclave says:

        @Anonymous, you posited the following: “I know you all still have that slavery s**t in your minds but lose it. You weren’t slaves and the people of the U.K. didn’t enslave you. If your forefathers weren’t slaves you would be living in Nigeria right now.” True, no current Virgin Islander was a slave nor any current citizen of the UK was slave owner. Nonetheless, a majority of residents in the VI are descendants of slaves and many Britons benefitted and still benefiting from slavery.

        For the facts and as as others have noted in other blogs, let’s look at study by Nick Draper at University College of London. In the study, it was discovered the UK government appropriated £20M to compensate some 3,000 slave owning families in the UK and West Indies for the supposed lost of their property (slaves). Some current prominent citizens of UK families received compensation for their slaves after Emancipation.

        Thus, the only people that have not benefited from slavery were/are slaves and their descendants; the descendants of slave owners did and still are. Reparation for descendants is fair and equitable thing to do compensate slaves descendants for the slaves blood, sweat, tears, exploitation, cheap labour …..etc.

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        • RealPol says:

          @BVI Enclave, real talk. Real news, not fake news or alternative facts. This is truth and truth is truth. Slavery was the worst crime in human history; some pretend that it didn’t happen and want to sweep it under the rug. £20M (£17B today) paid to slave owners but nothing to the straw——Slaves—-that stirred the drink. Slaves were poorly fed bad and scant morsels, wore rags, lived in raggedy shacks, not paid even a half penny an hour, worked from sun up to sun down at least six days a week, severely beaten and abused, threated as human chattel, women raped, dehumanized ………etc yet neither they nor descendants got anything at Emancipation. Oh, they were kicked off the plantations with the rags on their abused backs. On the other hand though, slave owners and their descendants got paid handsomely and still getting paid. So Anonymous need to goh siddun wid uno nonsense.

          The UK needs to do the right thing and give slave descendants reparation as the Japanese, Indian, Jews….etc had gotten. It appropriated £20M for slave owners and their descendants so it should do the same for slave descendants; appropriate today’s equivalent, ie, £17B. By the way, no one is looking for a cash hand out; descendants just looking to be made whole.

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      • round of aplause. says:

        dude your comment brought some enlistment to my mind. clear and on point. you deserve a round of applause. but just wait for the haters commentators that have nothing good to say and no real knowledge to back it up.

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    • BVI lawyer says:

      When it comes to litigation, it is wise to keep your cards as close to your chest as possible until it is time to play them. I very much doubt the Government will make any public announcements about its decisions until just before it acts upon them.

    • Exit Commonwealth! says:

      We are attached to England by way of the Commonwealth, will it be possible for us to revoke this association, whereby we left the commonwealth?

      Let’s have an equally relations with the U.K .

      • @Exit Commonwealth says:

        @Exit the Commonwealth, the BVI is an OT of UK. The Commonwealth is an association of former or current Anglophone countries.

  2. Sad says:

    So 3 months sitting on the fence and still no clearer! wow this party really hasn’t any vision or direction at all – fact!

    Like 13
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    • Me says:

      Always best not to rush into things
      Let me say this.Kindly come to VG only port of entry and remove that coming sooòooon BVI Airways sign.It’s disgusting for a first impression knowing what’s behind it .Pls I do beg remove it NOW

      Like 21
  3. Sherlock says:

    Mr Premier, does your name appear on the register? Or perhaps members of your extended family? Is this the reason for the delay? And what about our past due audit report you promised to deliver? What have you been doing for the past 16 years? Everything is broken here.

    Like 11
  4. Hmmm says:

    All I could muster was a sign and lower my head upon reading this. Is this seriously what we have come to now?

  5. bvi resident says:

    another ndp success

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  6. vote PU says:

    Out with the old In with the new

  7. Reality says:

    “started discussions”, a “meeting internally” is that all that’s happened after 3 months? Wow amazingly slow if they went any slower they’d just stop!

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  8. bystander says:

    It may actually be worth not rushing, if the decision is that we are not going to win the case (or that ultimately we will back down but want to delay things).

    Launch the case now, and it may be dealt with before the time period for implementation of the registers. Wait until nearer the time, and it may drag on for a year or more (with appeals) delaying the implementation by an extra year or two.

  9. Cromwell says:

    Notwithstanding Anonymous could benefit from some assistance with his or her presentation skills, the observations are spot on, the self determination experiment has empowered and allowed the BVI to run the territory and it’s economy into the ground. It’s probably time for a referendum so the population in general can decide whether it wants the UK to come in with world class healthcare, good governance, and, world standard education etc etc. Alternatively, sit back and see the territory which has been bankrupted by numerous governments, become something akin to Haiti.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Forgive my presentation. It seems that the only way to spark a reaction in the hollows between the ears of the locals is to be a bit obnoxious. I find that they are so proud of their accomplishments in 200 years of freedom. Many countries are quite younger and are world leaders. The BVI can’t manage to clean up after a storm and the treasury has been robbed and is empty yet they continue to dictate. It’s a sad state of affairs.

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      • Kinte says:

        I agree with everything you have said about the B.V.I. but PLEASE find a better way to present your arguements.

        I myself would love to see the British goverment take over and get rid pf the thieves that have been running the B.V.I. for all these many years.

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  10. rastarite says:

    Take advantage of the 400,000,000 dollars cheap loan from the UK and FIX the island. The offer is still on the table I believe. Worry about repayment later when the island is booming – when it surely will.

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    • Kinte says:

      It wouldn’t be booming under either of these two partys. I would prefer to see the british goverment take over running of the goverment.

      All of the current politricikians runnings things or vieing to run things are nothing less than thieves with some of them throwing ariund slavery as a crutch

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    • LCS says:

      It is not a loan from UK. It’s a guarantee to pay up to that amount, BVI loans, if BVI doesn’t pay. But no one wants to lend us money with the present state of the financial country affairs.

  11. Wake up says:

    Irma has revealed our Government to be not only lazy, inept, incompetent, corrupt, proud, out of touch and selfish but also scarily devoid of any coherent action plan – not one NDP representative seems to have an ounce of fire in their belly for the good of our country even the young ones have compromised their values and moulded in with the older tired failed politicians sadly! I sigh for our future we desperately need some fresh fired up young men and women who will stand up and be counted but I don’t see any sadly….

    Like 10
    • YOUTH says:

      If you don’t have anything positive to put on the news media please stay off. All this negative comments on a daily basis is destroying us.

      I am tired of you all. Speak positive into us. Speak the word of God to us. we need it more than ever.

      • Youth@ says:

        “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Eph 4:28 …just wish the NDP could apply this!

  12. Cromwell says:

    Then, perhaps it’s time for the “common man” to rise up and insist the UK come in and take control of what could be the Jewal of the Caribbean thereby raising the living standards for everybody versus just the privileged BVI families living off the backs of those people who are still living in poverty and sub sub standard living conditions. Wake up BVI Islanders, your government officials are not living in derelict housing with no water, their houses are all repaired and life is good, how does that compare to your current lot in life ??

  13. The wise. says:

    The UK is coming The UK is coming!!!!!!!!!

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    • YOUTH says:

      Do we really want the UK to fully take us over?
      People of the BVI, with that powerful tool name the tongue. Every day we contribute negative words for this country and it is going down slowly day by day.

      I am call on God’s people who are call by his name to humbly your self and seek God’s face and turn from your wicked way.

      Not the Government not the people but God’s people.

      Rise up among them and shine, go house to house, bars, strip house and give the trouble hearts the word of God in this troubled word.

      We are in perilous times and we have to safe the lost at any cost. Men hearts are desperately wicked.

      I am call on God’s people on Sept 6 to go out in your numbers. Fast on the day before, repent of all yours sins. Go with a clean heart and pray for this country that he will heal our land.

      Our forefathers were on the needs praying for our country. Let us go back to basis.

      Get off your promp and pride. Peacher of every denomination go out in your number and pray for this country.

      Asked yourself this question. What you are doing at this present time is it pleasing to God.

      May God have mercy on our beautiful british virgin islands

  14. Anonymous says:

    The notion/comments suggesting that Britain should come in, take over and fix our problems speak very poorly of our mental, political mind and personal psychology.

    The house negro mentality is evident and provoking, putting it mildly.

    To see that our people still think in such terms suggest that the donkey is much more evolved than us.

    Like 1
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  15. Political Observer (PO’ says:

    The House of Commons and House of Lords approved and the Crown assented requiring Caribbean OTs establish registers of beneficial ownership; the same requirement is not being imposed on crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and Island of Man. Why not? Nevertheless, amendment to Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act passed, the electorate was mobilized against the bill. One of the largest march in the territory’s history was held on May 24, 2018. Yet the government is vacillating if should challenge the bill.

    Is the government now getting cold feet because it senses it may lose the challenge? Is the government neither prepared nor ready to file the challenge? What is the government serving up as the down side of the legislation? Does the government see this as a national sovereignty issue? Is it incline to pursue independence over this issue? What will the UK do if the BVI refuse to establish registers? Will the UK temporary take over the BVI government as it did in the TCI? Is the delay because the government is collaborating with OTs to file a joint challenge? What is the Opposition position on the issue?

  16. Cromwell says:

    Re PO’s commentary vis a vis the Channel Islands, since the Treaty of Paris established in the year 1249, Jersey has been a self governing country and the UK does not have the legal right to legislate for the territory. However, the establishment there fully expects share registers to ultimately be demanded by the UK as per the OT’s

  17. Province says:

    Give the bvi the relationship that the dutch antillies has with the netherlands.Self governing Countries within the united kingdom with representation in the u.k

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