Categorized | International, Local, News, Regional

Montserrat signs its 12th Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Germany

Now removed from the lack of transparency list

by B Roach

Premier Reuben T. Meade signs Agreement

Two weeks ago on October 28, 2001, German Ambassador to the Caribbean and Counsel General to Montserrat His Excellency, Stefan Schlüter began a three-day visit Montserrat. His main purpose was to sign with the Government of Montserrat a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), conducted on the first day of his visit, following the handing over of his credentials to the government.

The event took place at the Governor’s office conference room in the presence of the Governor Davis, Financial Secretary John Skerritt, Comptroller Inland Revenue Violet Silcott, with both the Ambassador and Premier Meade signing several documents of the tax Agreement. Also on hand for the occasion were the media and other officials from the Governor and Premier’s office.

The tax agreement was the 12thsuch Agreement signed by Montserrat with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Miss Silcott introduced the Premier who formally welcomed the Ambassador. He later introduced himself, as having responsibility jurisdiction for ten countries in the region going from Guyana, Suriname, all the way through the islands up the chain to three British Overseas Territories to include Montserrat, Anguilla, plus CARICOM and the OECS. The Counsel General confirmed that “this is my first visit to Montserrat.”

HIs Excellency, Stefan Schlüter, German Ambassador

Premier Meade in welcoming and thanking the Ambassador Schlüter for coming to Montserrat  and being part of this ceremony, said that signing of tax information and exchange agreement, “also signals the beginning or the continuation of a relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and indeed the people of Montserrat, means that we will have to speak with one another a bit more frequently on a range of issues and therefore the relationship we expect, will build form time to time and strength to strength.”

The Ambassador in turn said that following his handing over of credentials previously to FCO and now to  the Governor said he had several conversations with both the Governor and the Premier. “…had a very good conversation,” he said, adding that he was looking forward for the next three days to see more of the island to meet many people, and “have many talks and conversations.”

He joined the Premier looking towards a closer relationship: “I also hope that with this agreement it will give us a good basis, a good reason to work even closer in the future,” he concluded.

Revenue Comptroller Miss Silcott, following the signing by both gentlemen, noted:  “we now have our 12th agreement in place…we have now reached the stage where we can be identified as a jurisdiction that has substantially implemented the international agreed standards as outlined by the OECD,” she concluded.

Premier Meade pointing out that the OECD has set a minimum limit of 12 Agreements to be signed, explained that “the tax information exchange agreement is a requirement of the OECD…where in the earlier years it was relatively easy to transfer money across various jurisdictions for a range of purposes not least of which was avoid taxation”

He recognised also, “we have a situation in terms of – Money laundering…”

He explained further that even regular banking transactions can be traced. “If someone,” he said, “wants to invest in a bank in Germany, we presume he may have been involved in either illegal activities or tax evasion. Then Germany would be obliged to provide us with information on your bank accounts…without these tax information exchange agreements they would not be obliged to provide that information to us. In relation to Montserrat, money laundering, offshore banking, even regular banking transactions, it is very important that we be able to track money and track persons conducting business anywhere in the world.”

The Premier answering questions also pointed out that Bank of Montserrat which does business within the OECS an using correspondent banks, could be stopped from doing businesses, “if we were not in compliance with these tax information exchange agreements,” adding, that having reached the  threshold of 12, did not mean that we will stop. “We will in fact seek to extend the numbers significantly,” he said.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Now removed from the lack of transparency list

by B Roach

Premier Reuben T. Meade signs Agreement

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Two weeks ago on October 28, 2001, German Ambassador to the Caribbean and Counsel General to Montserrat His Excellency, Stefan Schlüter began a three-day visit Montserrat. His main purpose was to sign with the Government of Montserrat a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), conducted on the first day of his visit, following the handing over of his credentials to the government.

The event took place at the Governor’s office conference room in the presence of the Governor Davis, Financial Secretary John Skerritt, Comptroller Inland Revenue Violet Silcott, with both the Ambassador and Premier Meade signing several documents of the tax Agreement. Also on hand for the occasion were the media and other officials from the Governor and Premier’s office.

The tax agreement was the 12thsuch Agreement signed by Montserrat with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Miss Silcott introduced the Premier who formally welcomed the Ambassador. He later introduced himself, as having responsibility jurisdiction for ten countries in the region going from Guyana, Suriname, all the way through the islands up the chain to three British Overseas Territories to include Montserrat, Anguilla, plus CARICOM and the OECS. The Counsel General confirmed that “this is my first visit to Montserrat.”

HIs Excellency, Stefan Schlüter, German Ambassador

Premier Meade in welcoming and thanking the Ambassador Schlüter for coming to Montserrat  and being part of this ceremony, said that signing of tax information and exchange agreement, “also signals the beginning or the continuation of a relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and indeed the people of Montserrat, means that we will have to speak with one another a bit more frequently on a range of issues and therefore the relationship we expect, will build form time to time and strength to strength.”

The Ambassador in turn said that following his handing over of credentials previously to FCO and now to  the Governor said he had several conversations with both the Governor and the Premier. “…had a very good conversation,” he said, adding that he was looking forward for the next three days to see more of the island to meet many people, and “have many talks and conversations.”

He joined the Premier looking towards a closer relationship: “I also hope that with this agreement it will give us a good basis, a good reason to work even closer in the future,” he concluded.

Revenue Comptroller Miss Silcott, following the signing by both gentlemen, noted:  “we now have our 12th agreement in place…we have now reached the stage where we can be identified as a jurisdiction that has substantially implemented the international agreed standards as outlined by the OECD,” she concluded.

Premier Meade pointing out that the OECD has set a minimum limit of 12 Agreements to be signed, explained that “the tax information exchange agreement is a requirement of the OECD…where in the earlier years it was relatively easy to transfer money across various jurisdictions for a range of purposes not least of which was avoid taxation”

He recognised also, “we have a situation in terms of – Money laundering…”

He explained further that even regular banking transactions can be traced. “If someone,” he said, “wants to invest in a bank in Germany, we presume he may have been involved in either illegal activities or tax evasion. Then Germany would be obliged to provide us with information on your bank accounts…without these tax information exchange agreements they would not be obliged to provide that information to us. In relation to Montserrat, money laundering, offshore banking, even regular banking transactions, it is very important that we be able to track money and track persons conducting business anywhere in the world.”

The Premier answering questions also pointed out that Bank of Montserrat which does business within the OECS an using correspondent banks, could be stopped from doing businesses, “if we were not in compliance with these tax information exchange agreements,” adding, that having reached the  threshold of 12, did not mean that we will stop. “We will in fact seek to extend the numbers significantly,” he said.