Sound reputation ‘shield and sword’
Prominent lawyer and international business pioneer, Sir Trevor Carmichael has tipped Barbados to emerge from economic hard times with that main foreign exchange earning sector intact. The founder of local law firm Chancery Chambers said with its “international treaties, shipping soundness, and a freedom from the ills and evils of money laundering and crime”, Barbados “remains full of strength in a just environment”.
In a January 2014 analysis entitled Barbados: Too Entrenched To Expire, Sir Trevor said Barbados’ historical strength as a well-governed and regulated jurisdiction “continues to act as both shield and sword”. He also saw the island’s various tax treaties as a plus, saying they were a sign of “a jurisdiction which characteristically and for a long time has been governed with a keen recognition of the need for sound regulation and irrefutable transparency”.
“Such an orientation is at the core of the jurisdiction’s history of a double and bilateral treaty development which continues to gather momentum. For a long time the double tax treaty has served as a means whereby certainty as to the tax treatment of transactions is given to the jurisdictions who are parties to that treaty. It is also the vehicle which establishes and sets out clear administrative procedures, as for example the long heralded mutual agreement procedure,” he said.
“Barbados as a small jurisdiction geographically positioned in the Caribbean, has like the [Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries themselves, enjoyed a penchant for the tax treaty. At the beginning of 2013, it had 32 double taxation agreements in force with the global CARICOM agreement counting as ten individual agreements.
“Later in 2013, it added new treaties with Ghana, Bahrain, Quarter and San Marino. With Italy, Belgium, Singapore and Slovak Republic, it has initialled treaties which currently await signature. As regards bilateral investment treaties it currently has nine in force, and additionally with Ghana and the Belgian Luxembourg Economic China it also has two such treaties which are awaiting ratification.”
Sir Trevor said that with such a wide array of treaty involvement, Barbados “continues to cement its policy commitment to certainty and transparency”.
“It is therefore not surprising that the jurisdiction has avoided the strictures of the Financial Action Task Force . . . and its affiliate the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force . . . Barbados, with its well-developed AML programmes and its treaty tradition easily avoids being identified with those jurisdictions to which the warning words are directed,” he said.
The Queen’s Counsel also lauded Barbados’ focus on “shipping integrity”, pointing to its “pre-eminent” legislation and practice.
“The proactive approach to safety and inspection issues requires all vessels to be well-managed and to be able to meet international maritime and environmental conventions. A wide range of internationally-owned vessels of all types fly the Barbados flag, underpinned by the two commitments to the marine industry: good Governance by way of a recognition of its responsibilities to the international maritime community and a duty of care by way of the recognition of its responsibilities to monitor the condition and operation of its ships and the conditions of employment of their crews,” he said.