Features — 30 June 2015 — by Adele Ramos
CARICOM states strong objection to EU “blacklist”

BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 29, 2015–The Caribbean Community Secretariat has recorded its strong objection to a recent action by the European Union, listing Belize and several other Caribbean territories as international tax havens, as a part of a scheme which the EU has launched to crack down on tax avoidance.

“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) strongly objects to the recent decision by the European Commission to ‘blacklist’ a number of Member States of CARICOM on the pretext that there is no cooperation on tax law enforcement with the countries of the European Union (EU),” the statement from the Caribbean Community on European Union List of Non-Co-operative Tax Jurisdictions and Countries said.

CARICOM goes on to say that the assertion by the EU “is patently false in view of the continued efforts made by member states to comply with the onerous and unilateral regulatory measures put forward by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which sets international standards on tax cooperation.”

As our newspaper noted when we reported the story, Belize has signed a string of agreements with several foreign countries, including some belonging to the EU.

Most recently, Belize was cleared by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force after it introduced a gamut of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation, which involved sweeping reforms and more stringent reporting requirements in the banking sector.

When questioned about the EU’s listing last week, Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow described it as the empire striking back. Barrow said that the ultimate intent is to kill Belize’s offshore sector.

CARICOM, in its statement, said that, “It is indeed surprising that during the CARIFORUM-EU Summit Meeting on 11 June 2015 in Brussels, at which the strengthening of the bi-lateral partnership and cooperation was invoked as well as the strong historical, human and cultural bonds that unite the two regions, an issue as detrimental to the economic development of CARICOM as the ‘blacklisting’ of a number of Member States was not tabled by the EU, but announced subsequently.”

It concluded saying that, “The Caribbean Community, for which financial services are of vital economic importance, is forced to express its deep disappointment and grave concern at the conduct of the EU on this matter.”

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