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BPSA chairman pays tribute to Ben Arrindell


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BPSA chairman pays tribute to Ben Arrindell
Ben Arrindell - GP

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Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Trisha Tannis hailed the life and work of deceased international tax and trade advisor, Ben Arrindell, who died on Wednesday.

For nearly three decades, Arrindell was a faithful and competent advisor to the government in a variety of roles, especially when it came to matters involving international tax regimes.

He was also a past chairman of the BPSA from 2005 to 2011, and he spent a lifetime of service in the accounting and financial services sector, including international tax and managing partner of Ernst & Young, director of Invest Barbados, as well as a member of the United Nations committee of experts on international cooperation in tax matters.

The full statement from Tannis reads:

The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) acknowledges with profound sadness the news of Ben Arrindell’s passing.

Ben held the formal title of Chairman of BPSA for the period 2005 to 2011, but the true fact is he was never too far “out of reach” of the BPSA.

He served the private sector of Barbados for most of his working life. There is unanimous agreement among the private sector that Ben served with distinction, humility, and with the greatest of commitment, not only to business, but to his family and to our nation.

As a person, Ben exemplified good virtues in his manner and sought to bring out the best in people. He was the consummate professional who was able to interact with persons from all strata of society. He possessed a wealth of knowledge with outstanding intellect, especially in the areas of international trade, accounting, and taxation, which is truly a great loss at this critical time in our nation and region.

As a professional, in whatever capacity he served, Chairman, Special Advisor, Managing Partner, Ben has left an indelible mark as he worked with others on building out the international business sector.

Working with equal commitment to the private sector and to the public sector, he tackled some of the greatest challenges Barbados encountered in its effort to develop and maintain a sustainable international business sector, a sector that has greatly contributed to the wealth of our country and to those who work or who are connected to it.

Ben was never seemingly unwilling to fight back some of the greatest punches given to Barbados by the international community and its representative organisations. He was the first private sector individual appointed to the United Nations committee of experts on cooperation in international tax matters in 2005.

Ben worked tirelessly with government, labour, and other key stakeholders up to the time of his passing on very critical matters not only for Barbados, but for the region.

One of our members recalls speaking with him to plan for meetings on his return to the island.

He served as the deputy chairman and international tax consultant for the Barbados-based Cidel Bank and Trust since 2009, and he also served as a member of the Ministry of International Business’ joint policy working group (1995 to 2018); the chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, a director of Invest Barbados since 2018; and a member of the Barbados tax treaty negotiating team since 1995, in which capacity he represented Barbados in several tax treaty negotiations including with Canada, the United States, Botswana, China, Luxembourg, Ghana, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Some of his most recent contributions included chairman of the Barbados International Business Association task force on OECD BEPS (2018-2019).

Mr. Arrindell led the development of proposals for the major reform of the Barbados corporate tax regime applicable to the international business sector and financial services sector. These reforms were necessary to enable Barbados to meet its commitment to remove all harmful tax practices from its tax and legislative regimes by December 31, 2018, under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Initiative Action 5.

The Task Force’s recommendations were adopted in full by government, resulting in convergence of the island’s domestic and corporate tax rates for domestic and international businesses.

Also appointed in 2018 as special advisor to the Barbados government on international business, Ben participated in extensive negotiations with the OECD and the European Union (EU) to have Barbados removed from the “blacklists” on which it had been placed by both organisations for perceived anti-competitive tax practices.

As a result, the reforms undertaken by Barbados were subsequently endorsed by the OECD’s forum on harmful tax practices and the EU as having met the Action 5 requirements of the BEPS Initiative, and Barbados was removed from these blacklists.

There is no denying the fact that Ben’s contribution to the international business sector was significant and meaningful.

We are pleased that Ben received the national accolade of Silver Crown of Merit in 2012, and the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2020 during his lifetime in recognition for his contribution to business and to the nation. They were well deserved.

On behalf of the membership of BPSA, we express sincere appreciation for the work and contribution of Ben to the private sector. He leaves a rich legacy to the nation and region and can be regarded as a good model for upcoming trade experts.

The BPSA expresses deepest condolences to his family, friends, and associates.

May he rest in peace.

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