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Mar 15, 2019

PM and John Briceño Mutual on Recent EU Blacklisting

Dean Barrow

The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition don’t often see eye-to-eye on national issues, but the recent blacklisting of Belize by the European Union has both political leaders looking cross-eyed at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  That’s because the Government of Belize has raised significant concerns about the flawed conclusions drawn about the country’s obligation to work with its global partners in establishing an up-to-date, fair international tax framework.  G.O.B. is also questioning the process by which the EU concluded that Belize should be placed on the list of “Non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.”  Today, during the sitting of the House of Representatives, amendments to the International Business Companies Act, as well as the International Financial Services Act, were read through in their entirety.  PM Barrow and P.U.P. Party Leader John Briceño both discussed the blacklisting.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We’re going to be asking to pass these amendments all at once, because why, this code of conduct sent to us at the same time, right after they said your various regimes are still, as far as we are concerned, in violation of the harmful tax practices and in addition, we want you to do something about the International Business Companies Act and the International Financial Services Act to make sure that all international business companies must have a physical presence in Belize, a physical premises.  Fine.  They never said that before but they said they were meeting on February twenty-sixth.  We wrote to them to say, listen, we will do this.  We are going to the house on March fifteenth and we will pass the amendments.  We need this little time because we have to consult with the stakeholders, but we give you our word that we will pass it.  They turned around and blacklisted us on the twenty-seventh.”

 

Dean Barrow

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“In effect, what has happened to us is that we have tried to do things last minute.  When we were told that we have to change our laws, it was from early 2017 and just to the end of last year we quickly tried to do these amendments.  And obviously when you do the amendments, you believe you’re doing what is asked of you, only to find out that here you are, you are going to be blacklisted.  I do agree with the prime minister on this one though, that I believe that these developed countries they are taking advantage of us.  Here we have a competitive advantage where we can set up certain tax advantages to foreign companies and individuals so that they can save their taxes and we can benefit, and then they change the rules on us.  Why don’t the EU blacklist the Americans?”


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