As published on barbadostoday.bb, Thursday 29 July, 2021.
A Barbados-based regional economist is blasting the European Union (EU) on its blacklisting of small island states, which she says reeks of racism and was 21st century economic warfare.
Marla Dukharan, an economist, and former senior economic advisor to Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) Caribbean operations, ripped the EU in one of her most forceful denunciation of the Europeans.
Writing in her July Economic Review in a commentary titled From Blackbirding to Blacklisting – The EU’s Ongoing Subjugation of Vanuatu, she condemned the decision to blacklist Vanuatu, one of the world’s poorest countries, which was also suffering through a pandemic. She said the group of islands which was recovering from the damage of a Category 5 Cyclone, was placed not only on one EU blacklist but two, for alleged tax and anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) non-compliance.
The EU, Dukharan pointed out, took the action against the South Pacific country, even though it was cleared by the “globally recognised tax and AML/CFT authorities”.
According to the economist: “This, when only an estimated US$7 million in corporate tax revenue is ‘lost’ annually due to zero-corporate tax, while an estimated six trillion in euros is managed in never-blacklisted Luxembourg, for example.”
Last year, the EU blacklisted Barbados, despite the island clearing the legislative hurdles prescribed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Finance Action Task Force (FATF). In a scathing critique the Europeans’ actions, Dukharan added: “How could this ever be justifiable? Furthermore, it is quite the bureaucratic and statistical feat that the European Union concocted and executed a methodology for their blacklists, so complex, so sophisticated, so precise, and ultimately so effective in achieving their true intent, that it produced not one, but two blacklists, where not one single country is predominantly white.”
The economist added: “It is embarrassing that even EU Members of Parliament highlighted the fact that jurisdictions currently on the EU tax haven blacklist account for less than two per cent of worldwide tax revenue losses, and that EU ‘member states forgot something when composing it: actual tax havens.”
Describing the EU’s blacklists as “farcical” and “devoid of any shred of credibility or validity”, Dukharan slammed the EU’s overreach into the sovereignty of an independent nation as “grossly disproportionate treatment” and “shamefully discriminatory”.
In her hard-hitting broadside of the EU, Dukharan said: “The EU’s blacklists represent indisputable examples of entrenched institutional racism and bullying. The penalties being imposed on Vanuatu have the potential to damage its economy irreparably. This is nothing short of economic warfare. Especially in the context of the pandemic, the EU’s behaviour is totally unjustifiable.
“The EU’s Blacklists are a clear manifestation of Europeans’ longstanding penchant for domination, exploitation, and brutality, which evidently continues unabated even today.”