Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has suggested that there might be diplomatic repercussions between the BVI and the United Kingdom if the British nation proceeds with the controversial amendments to its Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
He made that statement coming out of discussions with the UK parliamentarians this week.
Dr Smith said he and Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie had a ‘full and frank exchange of views’ with senior members of the House of Lords.
In a media release on Friday (May 18), Dr Smith said: “Be in no doubt, that if the UK Parliament proceeds with seeking to impose public registers on the British Virgin Islands, this could fundamentally alter our relationship with the UK and we will take all necessary steps to protect our constitutional rights.”
Also commenting on this week’s talks with the UK, the territory’s Opposition leader said: “The Premier and I have made our position clear and both agree that this is a constitutional overreach. We stand united on protecting the constitutional rights of the British Virgin Islands.”
Effectively, the UK wants the BVI and other Overseas Territories to publicise the names of beneficial owners of offshore companies registered in those territories.
Such a move is feared to cripple the BVI’s financial services sector, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of the territory’s annual revenue.
In a separate media release last week, the Premier said it was “non-negotiable” that the BVI will not impose public registers unless it becomes a global standard.
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