Fraser Charges Premier With Being Kept Out Of The Financial Services Loop, And Being Misled By Senior Staff In His Administration
Why France Blacklisted BVI After G8?
--- Is Our Premier Out Of The Financial Services Loop? ---
Sep 24 2013
It is clear to me that for our Premier to first express shock at being Blacklisted by the French while claiming to be compliant, then for him two weeks later to be making what amounts to be an apology for not knowing that the territory had been deficient in providing information to the French, adds up to an acknowledgement that he is being misled by persons high up in his Administration.
I literally gasped when I saw the reaction from our Premier upon learning that the French had decided to blacklist the Virgin Islands, but what was more troubling to me, and should trouble you as well, was his claim of not knowing of any difficulties with France. According to reports the Premier said "he did not know of any instances where the VI was uncooperative with France but said once this discovery is made the necessary action will be taken".
If what the Premier is saying regarding his knowledge of compliance, and the information given in the same report by Reuters informing of the blacklist being true: “According to data compiled by the French government through to August 2011, Jersey and Bermuda had responded to all French requests for information. The British Virgin Islands had responded to 31 out of 41 requests", then this is a precise indicator that the Premier is being kept out of the loop and therefore is not aware of what is happening in our bread and butter industry.
It would appear that the French authorities in taking this long to take action, had been pursuing local authorities for compliance for a long while, but without success. Or maybe it might be possible that given that both Bermuda and Jersey responded fully and were still blacklisted that the reason for our being blacklisted was unrelated? Only the Premier can answer this, but of course like everything else, he fails to let us know.
Imagine the Premier's statement: “I would not have seen those requests on an individual basis. We have set up an ITA in the Ministry of Finance and they handle all the [requests] that come through the Ministry in that regard”! One would think that he was not the Minister of Finance, and was also not responsible for their actions, especially something as crucial as this.
If according to the French reports, the Virgin Islands have only been disposed to responding to 75% of their requests, then one can see the reason for their frustration and consequent action.
In his statement of acknowledgment as captioned in the media on September 18th, almost three weeks after being blacklisted, the Premier told journalists: “As Minister of Finance, I requested a restructuring of the ministry so that it could be more aligned with international standards. As a result, these issues encountered with the French Authority were corrected in the middle of 2013 with the establishment of the International Tax Authority”.
This is simply double talk with contradiction after contradiction, especially considering that the French action was taken after the middle of 2013. Here again he lays the blame for the blacklisting squarely at the feet of his Ministry of Finance, after claiming not to know of their incompetence
This industry has always received the support and loyalty of all Legislators regardless of Administration. Our commitment has been so strong that no one even ventured to question. My thoughts now are: whether we were doing a disservice to the very people now responsible for what is happening to us today, and indeed to the industry as a whole?
A lack of openness and a kind of protectionism has been the norm for so long, that even a request for mandatory consultations between the Members of the House of Assembly and the FSC was flatly rejected by the Premier. Isn't it time for this to change? From what I can see, the answer is yes, and it does not have to come at the expense of the industry which has served the territory so well.
Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith has expressed shock at revelations in the media that France has blacklisted the Virgin Islands and placed it on a list of uncooperative tax havens.
According to Fraser: If what the Premier is saying regarding his knowledge of compliance, and the information given in the same report by Reuters informing of the blacklist being true, then this is a precise indicator that the Premier is being kept out of the loop and therefore is not aware of what is happening in our bread and butter industry.
Since This Story Break And I Got To Commenting, The Media Has Done Their Part By Making Sure My Position On The Subject Was Well Circulated.
see what the media did...
1 Virgin Islands News Online
Hon Fraser scoffs at Premier over France blacklisting
Third District Representative Hon. Julian Fraser, RA expressed that he literally gasped after seeing the reaction from Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith after learning that France had decided to blacklist the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Revelations made by the Premier (above) about being shocked at France’s disclosure, amount to 'an acknowledgement that [Premier Smith] is being misled by persons high up in his Administration,' Hon. Fraser stated in his release. Photo: VINO/File
Hon. Fraser contended that a lack of openness and a kind of protectionism has been the norm for so long, that even a request for mandatory consultations between the Members of the House of Assembly and the FSC was flatly rejected by the Premier. Photo: VINO
In August 2013, France added Jersey, Bermuda and the [British] Virgin Islands to its list of uncooperative tax havens, paving the way for tougher financial levies as the EU's No. 2 economy tries to crack down on tax evasion. Photo: www.hothdwallpaper.net