Inniss: B’dos a well regulated jurisdiction
Sun, 04/10/2016 - 12:00am
A Government Minister is giving the public the assurance that the relevant state entities continue to work assiduously to uphold this country’s reputation as a well regulated offshore jurisdiction.
Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss, says that not only are they ensuring that Barbados’ international business and financial services sector has the right level of regulation, but that there are also fitting penalties for those who do not adhere to the law. His comments come as recent reports on the Panama Papers scandal allege that 34 Barbadian companies are involved.
With that in mind, he told The Barbados Advocate that until the authorities know which Barbados-based companies are allegedly involved in the scandal, allowing a full investigation to ensue, the public should refrain from passing judgement.
“The first thing we have to ask ourselves, what have these companies done that is wrong? We must understand, tax avoidance is quite legitimate; tax evasion is not… But to date I have not seen anything as yet that points to any illegal activities by any companies. I have not been furnished with a list of any companies located in Barbados that are supposedly on the list, but if there are companies or individuals that have broken any laws, they can be sure the competent authorities in this jurisdiction will deal with them,” the International Business Minister affirmed.
He also made it clear that should any company be found guilty of wrongdoings, it should not be seen as a reflection of the way in which this country or its international business sector operates. He made the point while lamenting that this latest scandal, which saw some 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s largest offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca being leaked, is likely to give many persons a bad perception of countries with offshore jurisdictions. But, he is adamant that in the case of Barbados, persons desirous of doing business here need not worry.
“Barbados is not a tax haven. We are a well regulated jurisdiction with an appropriate level of taxation for companies and individuals. We are also a jurisdiction that is based on treaties and agreed recently to the automatic exchange of tax information… So Barbados must get out there and remind the rest of the world of the fact that we are a well regulated and serious jurisdiction,” the Minister said.
To that end, Inniss said Government will continue to fight any efforts to blacklist this country, especially given the significant contribution the international business sector makes to the island’s economy. As such, he said that in addition to constantly looking for new opportunities for the industry, they are also strengthening the regulations. (JRT)