While European allies were marking a pivotal Second World War invasion, it was also D-Day for the Prime Minister, her foreign minister and a senior civil servant as they moved to establish a beachhead in France against rich nations’ sustained attack on Bridgetown’s financial services oversight and tax regime.
The Government revealed today that Mottley, Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Dr Jerome Walcott and the Director of International Business Kevin Hunte met with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the intergovernmental club of industrialised nations.
The Barbados delegation began two days of talks with the OECD’s Deputy Secretary General of Ludger Schuknecht and his team in France on Thursday – the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Allied invasion of Western European, triggering the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany a year later.
It is unlikely the irony was lost on the Barbadian delegation, seeking its own endgame in the battle against the OECD and the European Union over what the rich nations deem harmful tax practices.
The Government statement said: “Barbados currently participates in the work of the OECD through direct involvement in several of its bodies, including the Forum for Harmful Tax Practices.
“Its work in the different fora of the OECD remains critical to the country’s overall reputation on the international stage.
“It is important Barbados meets its commitments to the OECD and participates in the rule-making process, focusing attention on the particular concerns of small-island developing states.”
Today, Barbados’s first female Prime Minister was due to join Ethiopia’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, in speeches at the first-ever FIFA Women’s Football Convention, also in Paris, ahead of today’s kick-off of the eighth FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The inaugural convention assembled leaders in sports and politics to discuss developing and empowering women in football.
The Government’s timetable sees Prime Minister Mottley in London on Saturday speaking to Barbadians living in Britain. On Sunday, she is to meet with Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland.
The two are to discuss initiatives to promote transparency and fight corruption, promote renewable energy and access legislative drafting skills, the statement said.
A key highlight of the Prime Minister’s week is a speaking engagement at the Oxford Union, the world-renowned debating society with a tradition of bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. On Monday, she is also to meet with the Vice Chancellor of Oxford University.
“There will also be a number of other meetings and engagements during the London visit,” the statement conclude.
In Mottley’s absence, Minister of Housing George Payne will hold the reins of Government.