UK minister responsible for Overseas Territories, Lord Tariq Ahmad is visiting the British Virgin Islands next week.
His upcoming two-day visit comes weeks after he reportedly skipped the BVI and made stops to other Overseas Territories such as Montserrat and Anguilla. At the time, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said ‘the timing of Ahmad’s visit was wrong for the BVI’.
Governor Augustus Jaspert said the UK minister’s rescheduled visit next week is to “look at how we (the BVI) are doing on recovery in areas where the UK supported”.
“Also, we would be able to discuss with the industry around … government and financial services following the [ammendment to the] Sanctions and Money-Laundering Act. He will be meeting, obviously, with Cabinet and those different representatives of the public service,” the governor added.
He said Lord Ahmad’s visit is a demonstration of the UK’s continued support to the BVI.
The British naval ship RFA will also be making a stop in the territory next week.
While docked in the BVI, members aboard the RFA will be providing further to support to the territory’s hurricane preparedness. This will include offering ‘training’ to local disaster teams, the governor said.
The RFA will remain it the region for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which began on June 1.
The BVI has been at odds with the UK since the British parliament passed a Bill that is forcing the BVI and other Overseas Territories to implement what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership.
These registers mean the BVI is required to publicise the names of beneficial owners of offshore companies registered in the territory.
Effectively, beneficial ownership is a legal term where specific property rights belong to a person even though the legal title of the property is in another person’s name.
A recent study has shown that publicising the names of these beneficial owners will discourage companies from doing business with the BVI as it relates to financial services. Up to 2,300 jobs could be lost in the BVI if public registers are implemented, the study said.
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