Barbados has again called for greater dialogue between the Organisation of African Caribbean Pacific States and the European Union on matters relating to the latter’s listing of non-cooperative third countries for tax purposes and as anti-money launderers and counter-terrorism financiers.
St James North Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson recently attended the 62nd Session of the Organisation of the African Caribbean Pacific States’ Parliamentary Assembly and InterSessional Meetings of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly held in Brussels.
As co-rapporteur on behalf of the OACPS on the Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade, Hinkson piloted amendments to the Assemblies’ report urging greater discussion leading to stronger mutual understanding and strategic developments to address the concerns of the third world nations on the issue, since it is in the mutual interest of both sides to preserve the integrity of the global financial services sector.
The Barbados representative called for the establishment by the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers of Committees and Working Groups to more effectively address, appropriately consult and dialogue in a structured manner on specific issues such as trade and development finance, as is provided for in the Post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the two 79 OACP states and the 27 EU states. This Agreement is still to be signed after the existing Cotonou Partnership Agreement of 2000 has been extended on numerous occasions since 2021.
Hinkson again repeated Barbados’ position that the EU ought to be consistent by automatically removing any country from its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and of facilitators of anti-money laundering and of terrorist financing, once the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force have removed that country from their lists. The failure so far by the EU to agree to this continues to have serious negative consequences on the international image, reputation and sustainable economic development of many third world jurisdictions, including Barbados.
Barbados was in February this year removed from the updated grey list of countries deemed to be uncooperative by the EU on international tax matters, since the European countries agree that our country is committed to making changes on issues such as the declaration of beneficial ownership of companies. There are still, however, outstanding matters of concern to the EU such as the perceived low rate of prosecutions of anti-money laundering cases, which Barbados challenges.
The Attorney-at-Law supported the call for the establishment of a United Nations Convention which would have the responsibility of addressing issues of non-cooperative tax matters and AML/CFT allegations among member states, rather than the present situation of persistent unilateral action taken by powerful countries against more vulnerable nations.
The Member of Parliament also took the opportunity in the forum to advance the Bridgetown Initiative devised in July last year by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, calling for the International Monetary Fund to provide liquidity to small island vulnerable states such as Barbados to stop our debt challenges and to grant new concessional lending to these countries to assist our attainment of the sustainable development goals and to build our climate change resilience.