As published on nycaribnews.com, Saturday 10 October, 2020.
Almost a week after PM Mottley challenges EU blacklisting of Barbados as “wrong”, CARICOM is now condemning the move by EU for adding more islands to the blacklist of tax havens.
European Union finance ministers added Anguilla and Barbados to the EU’s blacklist of tax havens on Tuesday and removed the Cayman Islands and Oman after they introduced the necessary reforms.
The list now includes 12 jurisdictions: American Samoa, Anguilla, Barbados, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Vanuatu.
CARICOM called on the EU to desist from this “harmful practice of blacklisting small states, and instead pursue a mutually collaborative engagement towards our shared goals of effective tax governance and combatting money laundering and terrorism financing”.
A statement from the body noted that the most recent inclusion of CARICOM States to the blacklist of alleged non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and jurisdictions identified as being deficient in the area of Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), underscores the EU’s “unwillingness to take into account the substantial progress made by CARICOM Member States at compliance with global standards”.
The statement also said that the unquestioned use of ratings from other international bodies as a determining factor in the listing of jurisdiction along with the absence of meaningful prior consultation with the affected States negates the spirit of partnership that has characterized the relationship between CARICOM and the EU.
“This labeling causes significant reputational risk, erodes our competitive advantage, and discourages the investment that CARICOM States desperately need to drive inclusive growth and build economic resilience”, the statement said.
Along with the unprecedented task of staging a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, these CARICOM States now have the added burden of being subjected to the EU’s discriminatory tactics, the statement added.
The statement said that blacklisting severely affects the economic prospects of the listed states and the Community, in general, at a time when Members are already faced with the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.