No ‘secret jurisdiction’
Barbados may have to battle against any negative fallout from having its name linked to the Paradise Papers offshore database leak.
So said Marlon Waldron, president of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA). He was responding to the recent release of information by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on more than 40 000 offshore companies associated with Barbados.
Waldron told the Sunday Sun that Barbados was no “secrecy jurisdiction” as made out by the ICIJ and that the information released was actually available to anyone.
“They talk about Barbados’ database for companies not being accessible and that they only have limited information. If they wanted to find out . . . they could hire someone here to go into our corporate registry, pay the fee and do a company search. Anybody can walk off the streets of Barbados and do [that].”
He also rejected the website’s listing Barbados as a tax haven, pointing out that countries which had double taxation treaties with Barbados could access information on companies. “It is written into the treaty. Barbados has no secrecy laws as it relates to the international financial services,” he stressed.
In terms of the website’s reference to Barbados being blacklisted by the European Union, Waldron pointed out that the ICIJ should have investigated why the country was blacklisted.
“We are only on that list because of one piece of legislation and that is the fiscal incentive act. From our reports and speaking to the powers that be, the only reason we are on that list is because the communication between Barbados and the EU, somehow got muddled.
“They would have asked us to commit to removing the fiscal incentive act. A letter went off to the EU and we have committed to removing the act, but somehow we still ended up on the list. We are still in negotiations with the EU and we will be off that list shortly or in the near future,” he said.
The BIBA president was equally peeved about the ICIJ’s mention of prominent attorney Sir Trevor Carmichael, who has worked extensively with the international business sector to promote the sector over many years.
The ICIJ reported that Sir Trevor was associated with more than 1000 companies as a nominee director while the real owners remained secret.
“[Sir Trevor] has contributed so much to the international financial sector not only in Barbados but throughout the Caribbean. He is a pioneer in the area and therefore to just come out and say he has been a nominee director I think it is a real stretch and it is very unfortunate.” He added that Barbados’ Anti-Money Laundering Legislation required that information on directors and shareholders be provided. (MB)