As the territory reacts to the UK’s decision to implement a policy that forces the BVI to reveal the names of all beneficial owners of offshore companies in the territory, government said it has been preparing for years for such ‘changes’ to its financial services industry.
“In the coming weeks, we will be taking action on those plans,” Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said in a statement late Tuesday, May 1.
“Now is also an opportune time for us to embrace new businesses to support not only our recovery and development but a futuristic economy with modern and innovative ideas and technology,” added Dr Smith.
BVI has ‘dirty money’, says UK
The new UK policy is an amendment to their Sanctions And Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which gives the BVI and other Overseas Territories roughly two years to comply.
The UK claimed the BVI has been accepting “dirty money” through its financial services industry and said their new policy will increase transparency in the territory.
But Premier Smith yesterday described the UK’s policy as ‘deeply flawed’ and one-sided.
Not a level playing field
He said there are no global standards that mandate that financial service providers publish the names of beneficial company owners; so the BVI should not be made to reveal its beneficial owners.
“We believe that in the absence of a global standard and a level playing field, the imposition of public registers of beneficial ownership on the Virgin Islands could have negative economic consequences. It is unfortunate that this development has taken place as we continue to recover from last year’s disasters.”
“Certainly, these are difficult times,” the Premier said.
While the BVI grapples with the new reality forced on by the UK, both the Premier and Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie have called for local unity to address this new challenge.
The Premier’s full statement about the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill can be read HERE.
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