Following concerns raised by Barbados about its recent blacklisting, the European Union (EU) is due to issue a formal response to the island on Friday.
This disclosure from President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Marlon Waldron, while expressing strong optimism of “a positive outcome” for the island, which now faces the threat of sanctions following its identification by the EU last week Tuesday as one of 17 global tax havens. However, he stopped short of saying whether he meant Barbados’ removal from the list or the lifting of the threat of sanctions.
In giving the rationale for its action, the EU said “Barbados has a harmful preferential tax regime and did not clearly commit to amending or abolishing it as requested by 31 December 2018”.
The development has been strongly condemned by Minister of International Business Donville Inniss, who is maintaining that the island has been fully cooperative, and therefore its blacklisting is both “unfortunate and unfair”.
However, Opposition Shadow Minister Kerry Simmons is not convinced that Government has done enough to shield the sector from the dreaded listing even though BIBA has come out in support of Inniss’ position that the categorization of Barbados by the EU is unfair, “given the fact that there have been numerous pieces of correspondence between Barbados and the EU.
“However, we believe all resources must be deployed to remedy this situation,” the association president added in a note issued to its membership in response to the harmful listing.
While acknowledging that some of its members had expressed “serious apprehension about the implications this could have for their businesses and for Barbados”, he revealed that BIBA, through its tax committee, has been involved in the process of fashioning Government’s response, particularly to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Waldron also said he was in constant communication with Inniss, as well as Director of International Business Division Kevin Hunte, “and have been assured that the ministry is engaged in vigorous discussions with the EU on this matter, and that the EU would be issuing its response by Friday.
“To this end, we are very optimistic that this interaction will result in a positive outcome for Barbados,” the BIBA president said, while warning of the possible danger to the jurisdiction’s reputation.
Though aware that offshore financial centres are always under scrutiny byG20 countries and related international organizations, Waldron said it “imperative that our Government remains engaged with these international bodies to mitigate what is potentially harmful to us all”.