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Eastmond: Don’t blindly follow others

marciadottin, [email protected]

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Barbados should avoid blindly copying regulations introduced by other international business centres.This bit of advice has come from former Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development Lynette Eastmond.Barbados is a special and different type of jurisdiction and this profile has to be a major consideration in adding or amending regulations, she argued. She made the comments yesterday during an Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) workshop at Hilton Barbados.
At the meeting, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said there were some things Barbados needed to change in its offshore sector, including an automatic audit for all companies with $1 million on their books.Brathwaite said he was for raising the threshold, but wanted key people in the sector to recommend whether it should be pushed to $5 million or higher.At the meeting, he was told that some major regional offshore business centres – the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) – had no threshold for an audit.However, Eastmond argued that some jurisdictions Barbados was asked to imitate did not care about trade agreements or any of the other things it had invested in. “We are a different jurisdiction. We’re trying to do lots of different things at the same time . . . ,” she noted.While there should be an increase in the level at which companies have to come under an audit, raising the level too high “would likely put us in more trouble than do us good”, she argued.“Maybe, we can start incrementally,” she said. “If we think that in a few years’ time [an increase is necessary], maybe we can do that. “But to me to take a huge jump from $1 million to – some people are saying $15 million, $20 million –  is really not going to be in the best interest of Barbados.” ICAB’s executive director Reginald Farley said the agency would hear from an expert in the matter September 21-23 and then come up with proposals to be submitted to Government. (TY)