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Montserrat and other Overseas Territories not tax havens

Upon his return from his response to the UK Prime Minister Cameron’s invitation to discuss global tax matters, Premier the Hon Reuben Meade told the media here that Montserrat and the other Overseas Territories (OTs) are not tax havens, and are in some cases way ahead of G8 countries as it relates to tax compliance.

He said this was clearly articulated to the UK P M Cameron by OT leaders during recent the talks in London following Cameron’s invitation in June to to discuss Tax transparency matters ahead of the G8 summit, where Cameron was to assume the chairman’s duties.

According to the British P M, the meeting was held in an effort to end what he called a scourge of tax evasion in the UK OT’s and Crowned dependences.

But the Premier had this to say on the matter. “As a matter of fact most of the jurisdictions in the Caribbean are even beyond what is being required by the G8 countries. We have operating the financial action task force, and we are complying with the legislation as it relates to the financial action task force.

“We do self-appraisal, where groups from within the region assess others – we make the modifications as are required.

“The tax information exchange agreement; We have gone beyond the minimum levels, and we have even gone beyond in terms of the registration of trust on the beneficial owners of trust’.”

Meade said that they (OTs) asked the Prime Minister, “To convince and convey to his colleagues in G8 and elsewhere that, we are not only not tax havens, but in fact we are tax jurisdictions that benefit from the legal framework established by those countries to facilitate the development of the financial services sector within our jurisdictions.”

Montserrat and offshore banking business

As for Montserrat not benefiting from the offshore business like some other OTs, the Premier said, “Montserrat has gone through a process where we were dirtied and the period of cleansing is very long,” adding “we got out of the financial services business and other jurisdictions then leapfrogged ahead of us and were then became leaders in the markets.”

“When we went back to the market in about 92/93, the indication from the market was it takes a little longer than that for people to forget and therefore you are not yet cleansed,” PMier Meade continued, commenting that it was rather difficult to get into the market and by that time Cayman, Bermuda, BVI had already established themselves. He added that by that time the requirement offshore banks was that you must have a physical presence of the country for new offshore banks, “and therefore Montserrat really did not get too heavily in that business.”

Besides, with the advent of the volcano during  the late 90s, “we may have been able to get into the financial services business a little more whole heartedly,” he said, “but by which time the fiber optics coming into Montserrat had been taken out.”

Premier Meade calls out the US

The Premier was critical of the United States for making comments about Cayman Island and Bermuda, noting, “all one needs to do is to look within the US…there is one building that hosts I think 13,000 offshore companies, while claiming that the Cayman Islands and others are tax havens.”

Meanwhile, “in their own territory in the mainland United States, those facilities are made available for offshore financial services,” not targeting their own, “they target the smaller ones who they believe cannot fight back.”

A somewhat irritated premier accused the US, “…and what we are saying to the British government we want you to stand with us in our corner and say to the United States and other such jurisdictions the overseas territories are being very diligent; they are doing things right, they’re not the repositories of terrorist financing.”

He reminded that all Territories have modified legislations and ”have the Antiterrorist Act. We have modified all of the legislations with in all of the overseas territories to ensure that it is rather difficult for you to be hiding money in these jurisdictions,” he concluded.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Upon his return from his response to the UK Prime Minister Cameron’s invitation to discuss global tax matters, Premier the Hon Reuben Meade told the media here that Montserrat and the other Overseas Territories (OTs) are not tax havens, and are in some cases way ahead of G8 countries as it relates to tax compliance.

He said this was clearly articulated to the UK P M Cameron by OT leaders during recent the talks in London following Cameron’s invitation in June to to discuss Tax transparency matters ahead of the G8 summit, where Cameron was to assume the chairman’s duties.

According to the British P M, the meeting was held in an effort to end what he called a scourge of tax evasion in the UK OT’s and Crowned dependences.

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But the Premier had this to say on the matter. “As a matter of fact most of the jurisdictions in the Caribbean are even beyond what is being required by the G8 countries. We have operating the financial action task force, and we are complying with the legislation as it relates to the financial action task force.

“We do self-appraisal, where groups from within the region assess others – we make the modifications as are required.

“The tax information exchange agreement; We have gone beyond the minimum levels, and we have even gone beyond in terms of the registration of trust on the beneficial owners of trust’.”

Meade said that they (OTs) asked the Prime Minister, “To convince and convey to his colleagues in G8 and elsewhere that, we are not only not tax havens, but in fact we are tax jurisdictions that benefit from the legal framework established by those countries to facilitate the development of the financial services sector within our jurisdictions.”

Montserrat and offshore banking business

As for Montserrat not benefiting from the offshore business like some other OTs, the Premier said, “Montserrat has gone through a process where we were dirtied and the period of cleansing is very long,” adding “we got out of the financial services business and other jurisdictions then leapfrogged ahead of us and were then became leaders in the markets.”

“When we went back to the market in about 92/93, the indication from the market was it takes a little longer than that for people to forget and therefore you are not yet cleansed,” PMier Meade continued, commenting that it was rather difficult to get into the market and by that time Cayman, Bermuda, BVI had already established themselves. He added that by that time the requirement offshore banks was that you must have a physical presence of the country for new offshore banks, “and therefore Montserrat really did not get too heavily in that business.”

Besides, with the advent of the volcano during  the late 90s, “we may have been able to get into the financial services business a little more whole heartedly,” he said, “but by which time the fiber optics coming into Montserrat had been taken out.”

Premier Meade calls out the US

The Premier was critical of the United States for making comments about Cayman Island and Bermuda, noting, “all one needs to do is to look within the US…there is one building that hosts I think 13,000 offshore companies, while claiming that the Cayman Islands and others are tax havens.”

Meanwhile, “in their own territory in the mainland United States, those facilities are made available for offshore financial services,” not targeting their own, “they target the smaller ones who they believe cannot fight back.”

A somewhat irritated premier accused the US, “…and what we are saying to the British government we want you to stand with us in our corner and say to the United States and other such jurisdictions the overseas territories are being very diligent; they are doing things right, they’re not the repositories of terrorist financing.”

He reminded that all Territories have modified legislations and ”have the Antiterrorist Act. We have modified all of the legislations with in all of the overseas territories to ensure that it is rather difficult for you to be hiding money in these jurisdictions,” he concluded.