The Bahamas charge apply a “more adult response” to its ‘blacklisting’, a above Attorney General bygone advancement it to antechamber for United Nations (UN) blank of the matter.
Alfred Sears QC told Tribune Business that the Bahamas should anatomy a cardinal accord with added all-embracing banking centres (IFCs), and beforehand for all taxation and anti-money bed-making initiatives to be brought beneath an “international convention” complete by the UN.
He argued that this is the alone way the Bahamas can agreement fair and according treatment, and participate in abstraction “the rules”, instead of acceptance the European Union (EU) and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) to act as judge, board and executioner.
Mr Sears said his acquaintance as Attorney General amid 2002-2006, back he auspiciously led and co-ordinated efforts to anticipate the Bahamas from actuality ‘blacklisted’ afresh by the Banking Action Task Force (FATF), had assertive him this nation will never access “a akin arena field” if developed nations are acceptable to “exclusively” ability the rules.
Speaking in the deathwatch of this week’s EU ‘blacklisting’, Mr Sears said: “The Bahamas charge antechamber for the convening of a all-around appointment so that we can authorize an all-embracing assemblage on taxation, anti-money bed-making and countering the costs of terrorism.
“It would again be beneath the administration of the UN…. It’s alone if it’s accountable to an all-embracing assemblage that baby IFCs like the Bahamas will accept an befalling to participate and ensure an even, compatible appliance of the rules.
“This is why I accept consistently been calling for the Bahamas, as allotment of its response, to appearance added sophistication. We should allure all IFCs to a conference, meeting, and there should be a all-around antechamber for the UN to accomplish taxation and anti-money bed-making accountable to an all-embracing convention. That’s how all-embracing countries behave.”
The 28-nation EU this anniversary ‘blacklisted’ the Bahamas on the area that it did not abundantly accomplish “at a aerial political level” to acceptable its apropos over accumulated articles and structures actuality acclimated to facilitate abeyant tax avoidance.
In abacus the Bahamas to its nine-strong account of non-cooperative nations, the EU said Bahamian entities and structures could be acclimated by bunch corporations to move, and book, profits and losses alike if they had no concrete attendance – and conducted no abundant business – in this nation. It additionally aloft apropos over alleged ‘ring fencing’ and the actuality of a best tax administration for non-resident entities.
Mr Sears, though, told Tribune Business that his acquaintance as Attorney General had accomplished him there were about “two sets of rules” – one for the Bahamas and added baby IFCs, and the added for EU and OECD members.
While the Bahamas and others “have to pay an added cost” for any infractions, in agreement of sanctions and penalties, developed countries with the aforementioned authoritative deficiencies commonly able after such measures actuality imposed.
Further illustrating the ‘double standards’, Mr Sears said US states such as Delaware and Nevada had been accustomed to accumulate the ‘bearer shares’ and added articles that the Bahamas had alone in 2000 to escape the FATF’s ‘anti-money laundering’ blacklist.
With “the authoritative action alone controlled by onshore centres”, the ex-Attorney General said the Bahamas was confronted with a bearings area the EU and OECD had taken on the role of “global regulator” alike admitting they lacked the ascendancy and adumbrative associates to do so.
The UN, he added, was the alone appointment area small-island states stood a adventitious of according participation, accustomed the suspicion that tax-related initiatives were alone a affectation for aggravating to blemish the Bahamas’ competitiveness and drive it out of the banking casework business.
“Isn’t tax what the US War of Independence was about?” asked Mr Sears. “Is taxation not a axiological announcement of sovereignty? They’re adage to us: ‘You’re a low-tax jurisdiction; we can’t attempt with you. We’ll annihilate you instead.
“You don’t accept the best to be a aerial tax jurisdiction, a average tax administration or aloof a low tax jurisdiction. This affair goes to the actual affection of sovereignty. It shows baby countries charge a appointment to akin the arena field. This is the role the UN plays.”
Making all-around tax affairs accountable to an all-embracing assemblage overseen by the UN, Mr Sears, would additionally accomplish disputes accountable to resolution by the All-embracing Court of Justice in The Hague.
“Because of ‘real politick’ we generally ask ‘how aerial do we jump’, and abounding times we jump college than appropriate because we are so aflutter and reactionary,” Mr Sears told Tribune Business’ of the Bahamas’ archetypal ‘blacklist’ responses.
“What the Bahamas needs is a government that behaves with some akin of sophistication… How could a aerial tax administration appear to me and say my taxes should be college because basic is affective to my administration for the lower taxation?”
While accordant that the Bahamas should abode accepted weaknesses in its banking casework authoritative regime, Mr Sears said this bare to be counterbalanced with the canning of ascendancy and banking casework competitiveness.
The Bahamas’ latest ‘blacklisting’ stems from acceptance of the EU and its affiliate states that they are accident multi-million dollar sums in tax acquirement to IFCs, thereby depriving their citizens of funds for accessible casework and infrastructure.
But abounding observers, abnormally in the Bahamian banking casework industry, feel that the EU states should abode their own issues rather than accomplish the Bahamas and added IFCs ‘vassal tax collectors’ on their behalf.
“We charge to absolutely antechamber so we accept a added adult response, and aegis the competitiveness of our country and the ascendancy of our country in the future,” Mr Sears told Tribune Business.
“In an commutual world, we recognise there’s no complete ascendancy for big or baby countries. One of the things we accept to assert on is that we can alone agreement a admeasurement of candor if we participate as associates with a appropriate of review, as able-bodied as administer the alike appliance of the rules.
“This is why baby countries charge adult leadership. It’s not your size. We accept baby countries in the apple that do acutely well, but we charge to accept an acknowledgment of the world, analyze opportunities and body cardinal alliances to beforehand assertive issues.”
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