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CARICOM: EU blacklists encroach on sovereignty

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque last week said the European Union’s (EU) constant goal post shifting on tax matters is tantamount to the encroachment on the sovereignty of the region’s countries, according to a press statement on the matter.

LaRocque was addressing the opening of the 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government, in Frigate Bay, St. Kitts and Nevis, when he contended that if the EU’s aim is to topple the international financial services centers in the region it can be seen as a “frontal attack on the economies of the affected member states”.

“As CARICOM confronted what he described as ‘a persistent threat’ to its efforts for development, he said the principle of non-interference applied with respect to concerns about the EU labelling some CARICOM countries as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions,” the release said.

LaRocque said the EU’s “self-determination of what constitutes good tax governance reeks of a bygone era, which came to an end with our political independence”.

He added: “Financial services provide significant revenue for many of our member states, and therefore are an important source of domestic resources.

“The mobilization of domestic resources was recommended by the United Nations Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), as a major part of the finances needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

According to the secretary-general, the EU’s requirements of regional states are “onerous” and in some instances go beyond those required by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Meantime, he contended that CARICOM states have committed to meeting the OECD’s requirements and continue to pursue those imposed by the EU all while attempting to “build resilience against our inherent vulnerabilities”.

The Bahamas was recently blacklisted by the European Commission due to “strategic deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) legislation.

The commission said in its press statement that it conducted an in-depth analysis that “assessed the level of existing threat, the legal framework and controls put in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing risks and their effective implementation”, and that it also considered the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in determining the list.

The European Union itself, however, blocked publication of that list after uproar from some of the prominent countries named.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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