OECS Heads Make Strong Demands for European Union Countries to Withdraw ‘Illegal’ Blacklist

Monday, June 29, 2015 3:30 PM - George's, Grenada
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ST. GEORGE'S, GRENADA, June 30, 2015 - GIS: The OECS Authority has expressed concern with the unjustified blacklisting of OECS members by ten European Union countries, with which these countries in the OECS do not have a substantial economic or financial relationship.

OECS members on the Blacklist had individually written to the EU, registering their objection to the Blacklisting, which is based on, inter alia, inaccurate data and erroneous information.

The Heads are concerned that this unwarranted and unjustified attack on the well-regulated financial sector of OECS Members, was already leading to negative implications for the corresponding banking relationships and the generally negative impact of Investor confidence; as well as a safe, compliant area for financial services.

“We will aggressively pursue getting this thing removed. We are not sitting there. It is not a positive assessment. So therefore it is something that we must move to get rid of. So that’s why collectively we are going to do whatever we have to do,” declared new OECS Chairman Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada.

“We are taking our case to the CARICOM region.

Barbados was also named and historically Barbados was named as one of the more compliant countries in the Caribbean.

So having Barbados on the list makes it even more ridiculous”.

The Heads reiterated that the OECD's Global Forum and the FATF, as authorities on tax compliance, have repeatedly taken an opposite view of the financial services in the OECS; that is, recognizing their bonafide standing as sound, credible and internationally compliant.

The Heads noted that Member States had executed the required Tax Information Exchange agreements as required by the Global Forum, and had been found to be substantially compliant with the required standards.

“The interesting thing is that the European Union Council members actually sitting on the councils of the FATF; and the FATF would have found us to be fully compliant, certainly the global forum. They indicated that our countries are compliant and we operate at a transparent manner,” said Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda.

“So clearly that categorization is flawed, it has serious implications for our respective countries and it’s an issue that we intend to continue to fight”.

As a result, the decision was taken in St. George's on Monday, June 29th, by the Heads, to commit to issuing a joint letter/Communique to the European Union Commission on Economic Affairs and Taxation, imploring them to take action to repair the damage which this ill-conceived and misleading blacklisting has caused on the financial services sector of the OECS.

“This is really an illegal list. Persons who issued the list have no authority to make such a determination,” declared Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules.

“It is only the relevant international agencies that can do that and all of the agencies have given most of the jurisdictions in the Caribbean a clean bill of health”.





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