Barbados blacklist ease coming

Barbados International Business Minister, Donville Inniss.
Photo by George Alleyne

Barbados and Grenada have reason to celebrate as they are getting off the European Union so-called blacklist of non-cooperating countries on taxation but that leaves behind, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago in immediate peril of sanctions.

EU finance ministers had stated on Dec. 5 that the union had placed Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago among 17 countries on a tax havens blacklist for failing to meet agreed tax good governance standards.

But, according to a Reuters News Agency report this week, “European Union officials have proposed to remove eight jurisdictions from the bloc’s blacklist of tax havens adopted in December.”

EU finance ministers are scheduled to meet close to month-end when Barbados and Grenada are set to be among the territories whose names will fall within of those eight jurisdictions which will be liberated.

Naturally this news delighted Barbados Industry and International Business Minister, Donville Inniss, who since the December blacklist announcement has been crying foul, and had undertaken to involve the European countries in talks aimed at clarifying what he and Barbadian officials saw as EU misconception of this island’s operations and intentions as regards to its laws.

“Over the past two weeks Barbados has engaged with the EU with respect to us being labelled as a jurisdiction of concern to the EU. My ministry has vigorously explained and defended our jurisdiction,” the Nation newspaper Tuesday quoted Inniss saying.

“Whilst we are satisfied with our defence and there is optimism from within the EU, we await the outcomes of the EU finance ministers discussions on Jan. 23.”

Besides St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago there are several Caribbean countries which at this time cannot share in the joy of relief from sanctions being anticipated by Barbados and Grenada.

In announcing the unilateral blacklist in December, the EU had explained that its concerns about Caribbean countries failing to meet the bloc’s set standards could include many more but listing of them will be delayed as they are given time to recover from natural disruptions this year.

“For certain jurisdictions, specific factors needed to be taken into account. For example, eight jurisdictions, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, that were badly hit by the hurricanes in summer 2017 have been given until early 2018 to respond to the EU’s concerns,” an EU statement announcing the blacklist read in part.

Among possible EU sanctions for Caribbean territories are the bloc’s withholding of various areas of bilateral assistance such as financial and technical aid on development projects, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars in the various islands.

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