Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith has called an emergency government meeting in light of the United Kingdom parliament’s decision today to impose a public register of beneficial ownership on the BVI and other British Overseas Territories.
The UK’s decision is an amendment to its Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. This means the BVI has until the end of the year 2020 to publicly reveal the names of all persons who own offshore companies in the territory.
When the bill was mentioned in UK parliament today (May 1), the British Government — who initially supported the overseas territories — announced that it recognised “the majority view in this House”.
As such, the Prime Minister Theresa May-led British government said it would not oppose the amendment to the bill, which possibly has rippling effects on the BVI’s financial services industry and economy.
Back in the BVI, Premier Smith subsequently postponed this morning’s sitting of the House of Assembly to contemplate the UK’s decision.
“We must have a discussion about it and decide where we go as a country … I’d like to now ask that the House be adjourned sine die (indefinitely) ” Premier Smith told legislators this morning.
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