A Guy’s View: Fighting Goliath

Destruction of the weak is nature’s plan
The humble and the meek must understand
This day of the strong man is the devil’s heyday
But they will bite the ground when the master appear
Johnny King – Nature’s Plan

Recent reports coming out of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggest that Barbados, and a few other countries, are about to be blacklisted for not obeying the instructions of that organisation. No one has taken note of the fact that a group of rich countries can feel free to band together and legislate for the rest of the world.

The OECD’s sister organisation, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has been able to do a similar thing. These are essentially one entity, operating under different labels, pursuing the same end, that of ensuring that the financial resources of the world remain in OECD countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. I have deliberately listed all of the members of the OECD. No points for guessing why.

The countries that established the United Nations (UN) convinced the other countries of the world that that organisation would be the forum through which countries could settle their differences. Although it is essentially run by the Security Council, the General Assembly gives all member states the feeling of being able to participate in the business of the group. The one-member-one-vote rule gives those who make the important decisions the opportunity to hear what the real world thinks and this creates the opportunity for all states to influence the complexion of final decisions.

If ever there is a place for world legislation, it should come through the UN. A small group of countries with the same profile decided that they had no interest in what the rest of the world thought and, therefore, with the support of their allies, instituted a law making body outside of the UN. Enforcement of their rules is through naming and shaming and blackmail.

The OECD operates in the interest of its members. Barbados is not at the table. The FATF operates in the interest of its members. Barbados does not have a seat at that table either. But it is Barbados and other states like Barbados that they are really targeting. The challenge for them was how they could have the countries that were not members of their club obey their rules. The solution was to create a veneer of joint cooperation, and we bought it.

But they did not leave it to chance. They let it be known that you either come on board or the big stick that was used to beat these states down into vassals in the first place, would come again, even if in different form.

The OECD and the FATF are private members’ clubs, neither of which has any authority to direct the laws or tax policies of any other country. Recognising that they had no authority to do what they were doing, the FATF called the rules it developed for others to follow Recommendations. These Recommendations set out what the laws on your books should say and how you had to interpret them. It was never assumed that Barbadian law makers and functionaries could understand what the words of the Recommendations meant and could, therefore, put local laws in place to prevent criminals laundering the proceeds of their crimes here. To give an example of their sublime policies, Barbados was deemed noncompliant for not having rules in place to control the use of weapons of mass destruction.

Consistent with the graduation from colonialism to neocolonialism, they decided that rather than police the activities of all the countries that they were forcing to toe their line, they permitted the vassal states to police themselves, of course, under FATF supervision. So they set up satellite organisations to do the policing for them. So, no Caribbean state has a right to be a member of the FATF, although there was a time when the cousins of the rule makers sought to have Barbados seated in heaven, but there is a Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) which is tasked with ensuring that regional countries never attempt to break out and go their own way.

Of all the satellite organisations, the CFATF has proven to be one of the more effective in enforcing the code to stifle Caribbean economies. To show that they were more holy than the pope, there was a time when the CFATF developed its own 19 Recommendations that were added to the 40 of the FATF. The world had 40 Recommendations, but the Caribbean had 59. These additional Recommendations were given up grudgingly, but they did not disappear. Smartly, the FATF incorporated them into their 40 to make them even more stringent.

The creation of the offence of money laundering and the obliteration of the line between tax evasion and tax avoidance were two master strokes that gave legitimacy to the efforts of the first world to prevent the transfer of wealth to the states they regard as comprising the third world. The genius of these developments lies in the fact that, although previously untitled, the act of cleaning money obtained from crime was never regarded as a virtuous activity and was already subject to legal sanction, so selling the “new” offence was easy. And states with a social conscience needed those subject to taxes to pay them so that essential services could be provided to those less able to provide for themselves.

The Christian concept of the strong being his weaker brother’s keeper, made it unconscionable for the rich to keep growing in comfort and reclining in his castle, while the poor begged at his gate. Faced with this hypocrisy, even the church which was the guardian of the status quo stopped singing this song: at least in developed countries. It may still be a beloved hymn in these parts.

The wealth grab was pursued on the two fronts that could fit under the umbrella of the FATF and the OECD. Money laundering was pursued under the criminal code and tax transparency through civil procedures. The true intent of these organisations is exposed by the manner in which they keep moving the goal posts to ensure perpetual noncompliance.

They find it absolutely amazing that Caribbean Governments could bow to their rules and still find ways to conduct legitimate international business. So as soon as a Caribbean Government implements a strategy, they find something wrong with it. The idea is to reduce our countries to the status of nothing more than outposts for their policing efforts. This will not stop until the region shuts down its international business sector. The sword of Damocles hangs over us as a constant threat because we do not have the self-confidence to tell them to do their worse and chart our own course. In the absence of a single Caribbean front, no individual country has the courage to resist their unrighteous demands.

Barbados Advocate

Mailing Address:
Advocate Publishers (2000) Inc
Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados

Phone: (246) 467-2000
Fax: (246) 434-2020 / (246) 434-1000