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Jun 28, 2013

Prime Minister talks about tax havens on BBC

Prime Minister Dean Barrow is winding down an official one week visit to the United Kingdom. PM Barrow’s itinerary included an audience with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. He addressed trade and investment with financiers and had meetings with the Mayor of London, Alderman Roger Gifford, as well with the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague. The PM also visited the Tate and Lyle American Sugar refinery and met with senior officials to discuss the sugar industry.  Earlier today he gave an interview to the BBC’s Today program. The Prime Minister was asked about connections with Lord Michael Ashcroft which he described as a mixed blessing.  He was also asked about tax havens, of which Belize is considered as one. Here is that BBC interview:

 

BBC Reporter

“Let’s talk about tax because the world circle tax havens are becoming under increasing scrutiny as you know from politicians in recent weeks. Last week’s GA meeting in northern islands, political leaders hailed an agreement to stop companies hiding their profits in shoddy offshore centres. One of these is Belize which has already agreed to share tax information with international authorities. I spoke with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and asked what impacts that would have.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It seems to us that the developed world tells us about diversification and when we try to diversify into financial services, we get this kind of reaction. We are very happy that there are things happening that will allow all of us to weed out the baddies, weed out the bad guys; those that might be trying to take advantage of our jurisdictions. We still feel that there is a space; that there are people who use our jurisdictions to park their money not only for illicit purposes or for tax avoidance purposes. So we are comfortable that we will be able to maintain this sector of our economy; perhaps in a slightly attenuated form, but viable nonetheless.”

 

BBC Reporter

“The E.U. and the U.S. are trying to strike a trade deal at the moment—no doubt it will take a long time to finalize it. But does that leave you a little bit out in the cold?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No, not really. Remember as part of the African Caribbean Pacific sort of access that is party to the agreement with the E.U. with access for the main stays of what we send to Europe; primarily sugar and bananas—which is not to say that there are not problems. There is going to be huge competition now from Beat Sugar for example. But we don’t see that the possible trade deal with the U.S. is going to affect that in any fundamental way.”

 

BBC Reporter

“In the U.K., the link often we feel we have with Belize is Lord Ashcroft. Is that a good connection for you to have?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I would say that it’s been a mixed blessing. There is no doubt that he’s done very good things and the initial investments were welcomed. Along the way, there have been problems, but we still see that it is good to be possible to ensure our relations are configured in such a way that we can be satisfied that he is adding value to our economy.”

 

The Prime Minister was also scheduled to attend a special fundraising event for the Belize Children’s Trust Foundation hosted by his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow at which a large turnout is expected.  Simplis-Barrow’s program included a meeting with Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, to discuss charitable foundations. The PM and family are expected back in the country early next week. In his absence D.P.M. Gaspar Vega was acting Prime Minister, but the Vega travelled on personal leave today and Minister John Saldivar is holding the reins of government. That’s interesting because it was Minister Patrick Faber that assumed that role prior to the U.D.P. convention earlier this year.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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No Responses for “Prime Minister talks about tax havens on BBC”

  1. Al says:

    This PM needed to talk about how he neglects what is necessary to be done in this country. He should have talked about the looting of the government that is done by the people in office. He should be ashamed for the lack of leadership among his party.

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