Prime Minister Arthur Says Barbados Being Penalised For Success By The United Nations… Translation: Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie!

owen-arthur-barbados-pm.jpg

Looking Closely At A Specific News Story

Last week most of the BFP gang had a rare luncheon meeting near Oistins that turned into a two hour marathon discussing media literacy. Here’s a definition of “media literacy” that we’ll adopt for now…

Media literacy is the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day. It’s the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media— from music videos and Web environments to product placement in films and virtual displays on NHL hockey boards. It’s about asking pertinent questions about what’s there, and noticing what’s not there. And it’s the instinct to question what lies behind media productions— the motives, the money, the values and the ownership— and to be aware of how these factors influence content.

… from Jane Tallim & Media Awareness Network (link here)

Some of us are of the opinion that most Bajans lack even basic media literacy skills and while I’m personally not willing to say “most”, there are far too many people on this island who read the papers or watch television and actually take what is presented at face value.

I have been there myself, reading the paper or listening to the radio and not thinking about why certain aspects of stories are always left out, or why the television news story gives one side a minute to talk and the opposition only ten seconds. For me that unquestioning attitude stopped about five years ago and I began to look at the individual news stories with much more care.

With a little thought I began to see how “news” can be created or ignored – how much of the “news” in the Barbados papers is taken directly from government or business media releases and re-written in the style of the author with hardly a thought or a question. I also saw how even letters to the editor were gutted of facts when they were a little too persuasive. The Bajan media can be so good at pretending to present both sides of a story while favouring one version.

We grapple with the same issues at Barbados Free Press every day – but we have always said that we are willing to print the other side of a story if someone wants to compose a piece. (For some reason, Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke still hasn’t taken us up on our offer to print his side of the story of why he built a home on land that his government expropriated!)

Our main point is that every media outlet – including BFP – and every news source, has an agenda, likes, dislikes and personal biases.

That’s only human. As media readers or viewers, it is up to individuals to question every news story we are presented with – looking not only for the truths and lies, but also for the omissions and the whys. And especially the origin of the news story. Who told the reporter about the story? Why did they tell the reporter about the story? Did the reporter ask any questions, verify facts or ask any opposing source?

So here’s a “news” story about the meeting between Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon last Wednesday. Read the story and then I’ll give you my 2 farthings…

Cross border taxation an issue for the UN, says Barbados PM

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: There is a need for an agency to establish rules to govern cross border taxation issues, and given its mandate, the United Nations is perhaps best able to perform this role, said Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur during a courtesy call from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on Wednesday.

Arthur said that cross border taxation issues were becoming more important and had increased validity as countries moved towards a global economy. He acknowledged the existence of a committee at the level of the UN, but advocated that its work should now be at the level of an agency.

He pointed out that Barbados did not want to be used for tax evasion or money laundering, but wanted to participate in legitimate business with international tax corporations. He said the country was therefore keen to work with the UN on matters related to international tax corporations.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister also stressed the importance of middle income countries being recognised for their successes by the global community. He argued that whilst lesser developed countries must continue to be given attention, there was an “inefficient distortion” of the flow of resources which needed to be re-examined.

Arthur therefore suggested that middle income countries should not be penalised for their achievements, but rather, they should be seen as ‘change champions’ and should be involved in strategic alliances which would be enriching.

Secretary General Ban agreed with Arthur that countries like Barbados should be better recognised for their accomplishments. Noting that he was “fascinated” by the level of development which Barbados had achieved, he commended the country for its ability to overcome challenges such as extreme poverty.

Discussions also focussed on the technical assistance that could be offered by the UN for the regional integration process, the need for a long-term approach by the international community to the challenges being faced by Haiti, and strategies to combat global warming.

… original story at Caribbean Net News

Our Take

The UN Secretary General was in Barbados for the week and, according to Ian Bourne’s impeccable sources, he was primarily here for a vacation. He made a few “courtesy calls” of government leaders while he was here but the term “courtesy call” indicates that nothing substantive was intended to come from these meetings. Read “photo opportunity” instead of “courtesy call” and you’ll be closer to the truth… which is that the Secretary General of the United Nations can’t go anywhere on vacation without dropping in to say “hi”. It would be an insult if Ban Ki-moon came to Barbados for a little R&R and didn’t spend an hour or two with some of the country’s bigwigs.

Where did this story originate?

Did Caribbean Net News actually have a reporter at the press conference, or did they piece the article together from other sources, perhaps including a government press release of what the PM was going to say? I don’t know… but it doesn’t look like an “I was there” piece with quotes.

Concerns Over Barbados As A Money Laundering & Tax Evasion Center 

Prime Minister Arthur’s main message at the “photo op” – that cross-border taxation is an issue for the UN, along with his mentioning that “Barbados did not want to be used for tax evasion or money laundering” is an indication of the recent pressure that Barbados is facing from the United States and Canada as those two countries seek to tighten up the rules and their scrutiny of offshore banking centers like Barbados.

Arthur then went into his typical begging mode, complaining that we aren’t getting our share of UN funds because we are a “middle” country and not dirt poor chaos like Haiti. This was much the same message as Mia Mottley gave when she met with the UN Secretary General – give us money. More of the same: Barbados as international beggar. If we aren’t going to the EU for sugar money, then it’s China for naval equipment or the USA for anti-drug funding. Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie!

The Short Story…

There really wasn’t any news here – except for the indication of the pressure that the Barbados Government is currently facing as an offshore banking center that is being targeted (rightly or wrongly) by the United States and Canada as a tax-evasion and money laundering haven for US and Canadian citizens.

That’s our take of the story… What’s yours?

Advertisements

13 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Crime & Law, News Media, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

13 responses to “Prime Minister Arthur Says Barbados Being Penalised For Success By The United Nations… Translation: Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie!

  1. I wouldn’t beat yourself up over the reluctance/inability of many Bajans to apply more critical thinking to the Press. The Success of the newspapers “Sun”,”News of the World” etc in UK would sugest we have a very serious problem over here. Then we have another problem where reasonable papers are owned by “difficult” individuals. Another one is about to go in New York as we speak.
    Anything you can do to improve the situation in Barbados however, is most desirable. So please do continue what you do in addressing this issue.

  2. Green Monkey

    BFP:

    Some of us are of the opinion that most Bajans lack even basic media literacy skills and while I’m personally not willing to say “most”, there are far too many people on this island who read the papers or watch television and actually take what is presented at face value.

    I have been there myself, reading the paper or listening to the radio and not thinking about why certain aspects of stories are always left out, or why the television news story gives one side a minute to talk and the opposition only ten seconds. For me that unquestioning attitude stopped about five years ago and I began to look at the individual news stories with much more care.

    There’s a snip from a monologue by comedian George Carlin posted at http://www.youtube.com that gives his take on why media literacy is so poor. Basically, because it’s not in the interest of big business or politicians to have a population educated in critical thinking skills, so the system is designed NOT to produce critical thinkers. Sure he is talking about the USA, but you can listen to it and see how much might apply to Barbados as well. I won’t post the link because Carlin is rather “liberal” in his use of the “F” word, but you can find it easily enough by going to http://www.youtube.com and searching for “Carlin nails it”.

  3. Hants

    Why do Offshore companies register in Barbados?

    Is it for some greater good that we don’t understand or is it to pay 5% tax as opposed to in excess of 30% tax in their home country?

    The government of Canada says it is Tax avoidance.

    There must be someone who is willing to explain the reasoning behind the Barbados/Canada Tax agreement.

    I always thought it was to allow Canadian companies to avoid paying high Corporate Tax.

  4. Hants

    Prime Minister Arthur Says Barbados Being Penalised For Success By The United Nations.

    As “Father of first world Barbados and Prime Minister for life” (as stated by a BLP supporter on this Blog) you should be supporting poor countries like Haiti not begging for money that should go to the poverty stricken countries.

    Barbados is the 2nd richest country in the Caribbean. No need for handouts. Right?

  5. J. Payne

    Re: Hants comment.

    “There must be someone who is willing to explain the reasoning behind the Barbados/Canada Tax agreement.

    I always thought it was to allow Canadian companies to avoid paying high Corporate Tax.”

    My parents explained when those were crafted they were mostly so that companies from those countries could repatriate money from the Caribbean operations back to their home country without having to pay huge taxes on it.

    Example:

    ScotiaBank, RBC, and CIBC for years had their lead operations in Barbados (accept when they had operations in countries that were geographically larger like Jamaica or Trinidad and Tobago — In which case those units would report back to the parent individually.)

    So it would basically work like this… Scotia, RBC, and CIBC make their profits in Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua, Saint Vincent etc. They use the CARICOM accord to ship their profits into Barbados without having to pay huge fees. Then they pay the small tax in Barbados. Next they pay the few dividends to the local stock exchanges, then they export the large sum back to the parent in Canada, the United States etc. without having to pay massive taxes on it.

    However- if that parent institution is publicly held in the home country, then the amount to be paid out to shareholders back in Canada or the United States becomes taxed… So before the shareholders of the banks get their cut it is taxed in Canada. It is partly an illusion tactic.

    Scotia will show a huge amount of profit coming from the Caribbean because it is pre-tax. But just before the shareholder get their fair-share it does get taxed and shows up much smaller.

  6. J. Payne

    Think in the vain of the ‘tax burdon’ being shifted from the company instead onto the shareholders.

  7. Annon

    Caribbean Net News gets a lot of their news from the Yahoo group where all the Caribbean Government Information Services services post online…

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newsline1/

  8. history

    I am sure the Tax Treaty started off with a very altruistic motive.

    The former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau went to the London School of Economics
    with Errol Barrow and became friends.

    I am also certain the idea of having a Tax Treaty was to help create a banking infrastructure and jobs inside Barbados to help the whole cairibbean region.

    This Treaty has resulted in billions of Canadian Dollars being sent to and through Barbdaos annually and has been implemented to the point where it has become a leading revenue earner for Barbados next to Tourism.

    In reading this site over the past year, it has become self-evident that the Rule of Law has been hijacked by a group of people who care nothing about outside investors or the basic rights of transparency and accountability in their system of law.

    It is probably time that the Canadians reviewed the rationale for their tax treaty and either scrap it or insist on the kind of legislation, transparency and integrity that their own citizens enjoy.

  9. notesfromthemargin

    The double taxation treaty was formed for the reason that all such treaties are formed, to stimulate investment and trade between two countries. Contrary to much of what is expressed on this post, you don’t need to look to altruism rather look at economics.

    The basic principal of a double taxation treaty is that profits that are taxed in Barbados are not taxed when they are repatriated to the other country that is party to the treaty. The reason why companies come to low tax jurisdictions is because it allows them to be more competitive in export markets, due to paying less taxes. Shareholders like offshore tax shelters because if the company is paying less taxes, it means more surplus for reinvestment or distribution.

    Barbados (and other low tax jurisdictions) want to get the UN involved because otherwise it becomes subject to things like the ludicrous OECD “harmful tax competion initiative” where the OECD countries attempted to subject low tax jurisdictions to a level of standard that even it’s own members don’t subscribe to.

    Barbados has negotiated a series of double taxation treaties, not only with Canada but with a range of other countries. It is clear that this government is seeking to develop this as another area to reduce dependence on tourism.

    There is nothing dishonest (per se) about offshore tax havens, and it should be noted that Barbados was never on any list by the Financial Action Task Force for money laundering. The reason why the major countries do not simply repudiate the treaties is that, while offshore tax havens are unpopular politically, the truth is that they are good for business.

    Marginal

  10. Aw c’mon guys, stop playing coy. You know all too well that Caribbean Net News is mostly reprinting press releases verbatim as news.

  11. Let us repeat, whenever the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC) is elected to form the government of Barbados, there shall be the complete Abolition of ALL Taxation in this country within a reasonable time, and this shall be done in a phased manner: first, all so-called direct taxation like personal income taxation, corportion taxation, etc., shall be Abolished, and then, so-called indirect taxation like VAT, Excise Duties, Departure Taxation, etc., shall be Abolished. It will be within our sovereign rights as a country to do these things. For further information on these aspects, including what strategies such a government shall implement to help it earn its own revenues and pay its own bills, see our pre-election Manifesto when it is placed on our Website within a couple of weeks. Suffice it to say, that Taxation remains one of the most if NOT the most manifest and vilest example of the political exploitation of the masses and pseudo-elite by the state, and esp. with the state working in conjunction with many elites/pseudo-elites/masses to do so, in any society in which such a wicked system – system of taxation – is ideologized and implemented and practiced. It is these Taxation systems, along with Interest Rates systems, Repayable Loans systems, Mortgage systems, Rent systems, and other generally brutalizing and evil systems, that are primarily responsible for the untold suffering, despair and marginalization experienced by the masses and pseudo-elites/middle classes at the hands of these states/elites in such global societies, including Barbados, where these systems continue to be so wretchedly reproduced and dishearteningly validated.

    As a consequence of such, PDC wishes to let this BLP Prime Minister of Barbados know – and this is if he has NOT known as yet – that the fundamental fact of the matter is that Taxation, which is given the genteel or euphemism – public financing within economics and government – is wholesale theft of the worst and most barbarous kind ever imagined any where in Barbados and elsewhere it is done, never mind that in Barbados’ case, the Barbados Constitution mockingly sanctions it with a few words!! Could any member of the Barbadian public imagine that such grand and openly wicked and gross theft of the income and property of the relevant persons residing in or being visitors to Barbados by the state is pre-empted from being challenged in the courts of Barbados because some, if not ALL, of the framers of the Barbados Constitution not only thought it expedient to allow it in complete violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, who is presumably guaranteed protection from deprivation of property, but also in perfunctory satisfaction of some kind of political avoidance or legal way out of an eventual dangerous moral and political conundrum and dilemma, which they have NOT so far succeeded in avoiding or copping out of, but which has become so exposed in view of the fact that the state itself punishes individuals for stealing? (Rightly a public/criminal offense under the laws of Barbados and which was certainly prohibited and outlawed under Mosaic law re THOU SHALL NOT STEAL (REF. Holy Bible).

    Hence, see that S. 16 (1) of the Barbados Constitution states that ” No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of, and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired, except by or under the authority of a written law and where provision applying to that acquisition or taking of possession is made by a written law – (a) prescribing the principles on which and the manner in which compensation therefore is to be determined and given, and (b) giving to any person claiming such compensation a right of access, either directly or by way of appeal, for the determination of his interest in or right over the property and amount, to the High Court.

    S. 16 (2) of this said constitution, inter alia, states ” Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section – meaning section 16, (a) to the extent that the law in question makes provision for the taking of possession or acquisition of any property – in satisfaction of any tax, duty, cess or other impost” In relationship to this uncivilized and barbarous activity called Taxation, see too that S. 17 presupposedly protects individuals in Barbados from arbitrary and unlawful searches of themselves and their properties and arbitrary and unlawful entries upon their properties by others on their premises, but how that is qualified or compromised by Ss. 17 (c), which, inter alia, allows an officer or agent of government, or of a local government authority or of a body corporate established directly by law for public purposes to enter on the premises of any person in order to inspect thereon for the purposes of any tax, duty, rate, cess or other impost..

    And see that S. 26 of the said Barbados Constition saves constitutionally all of those wicked pre-independence Taxation laws. It is these kinds of legal provisions, which incidentally do NOT even begin to connect with the brute and fascist ideological and philosophical underpinnings and purposes of Taxation, that seek to and do cosmetize and soften the fact of the inherent danger of Taxation systems helping prevent societies like Barbados from achieving greater freedom and responsibility, greater liberation and industry, and greater prosperity and wealth, with the said continuation with them.

    Therefore, the Prime Minister of Barbados and the Secretary General of the UN must be told in very polite but firm language that the time will come for an end to Taxation in Barbados, and that NO amount of Prime Ministerial talk about the harmonization of fiscal policy in the context of the very farcical CSME and about how cross-border Taxation is an issue for the UN – and which amounts to, in PDC’s case, the idea of throwing Barbados’ problems to others for them to deal those problems, and at the same time attempting to make some other Barbadians including ourselves believe that the movements (including ourselves) which are very frontally charging up against the sources of these problems, will have a bigger fight dealing with those (CSME,UN) to whom the Prime Minister seems to be throwing Barbados problems to, will suffice as to prevent the masses and the pseudo-elite/middle classes of Barbados from being liberated from the bondage and destruction that Taxation is. Also, the fact of the dangerous moral and political conundrum and dilemma mentioned earlier partly has to do with the fact too that certain public and private sector figures who fervently insist on and support the continuation of this wicked Taxation system are usually the ones engaging in the devious habit of doing things/omitting to do things, directly or indirectly, and under all sorts of pretexts, that lead to their helping to fleece the public treasury of Barbados for their own private personal, familial, commercial and friends gain and benefit, and which are things that they could not so easily do in the private sector, without being caught and dealt with.

    Just look at the major government projects for a long time, most of which are supported by this thieving Taxation system, and see how they are distributed and upon what bases, and who undertakes them and who more than others benefits from them?? Just look around and see who remains at the top of this Barbadian society, as if they have this divine right to be remaining at the top of it, and see who remains at the bottom of this society, as if they have some divine right to remain down there too?? Hence, we begin to see that there are also serious national distribution of income , wealth and land issues underpinning or related to this crooked Taxation system in Barbados, not only issues of theft, The masses and pseudo-elites/middle classes had better wake up!!

  12. J. Payne

    Serious question for de “The People’s Democratic Congress”

    Howcome allyuh choose a “$” to be a part of your party’s symbol… That makes me nervous… First thing that comes to mind you all are into “bling-blinging” or only interested in money. Or money is what driving your party… Or even the saying I grow up hearing money is the route of all evil…..

    Would you consider going for something like a flying fish in flight? or the broken trident etc. or something hoisted just above the keys???

    (NOTE– I’m bear these rules in mind before any such change. All yuh wouldn’t want to give the BLP ammo to say you all breaking the law.)

    http://www.barbados.gov.bb/bdoscodeitq.htm

    “National Emblems” means The Broken Trident, the Coat of Arms, the National Flag, the National Flower and any of the National colours when used together. This Act clearly defines the Coat of Arms and the National Flag in Parts I and II of the First Schedule. The “National Anthem” means the words and music recognised by the Government as the National Anthem of Barbados. The Minister responsible for the national Emblems may declare by order The National Flower, The National Prayer, and The National Song of Barbados.

    The copyright in the words and music of the National Anthem and the design of the National Emblems is vested in the Crown in perpetuity.

    A person who desires to import into Barbados, manufacture for sale, offer for sale or sell any articles, goods or things that represent or on which is reproduced or represented any of the National Emblems must apply to the Minister responsible for his approval and grant of a licence for the purpose. This is also necessary when it is intended to use or displaying any of the National Emblems in connection with a business, trade, profession or calling, or with the activities of a body or persons, whether corporate or unincorporate.”

  13. Wishing in Vain

    I know that I am Wishing in Vain on this one but it is a sincere wish that I would love to see fufilled and carried out and that is that this gang are taken before the law courts of this island and charged for corruption, I would be willing to lay the charges before them without hesitation.
    These crooks have raped this country to such an extent that it is hard to believe or trust anything that they say or do.
    We need to seriously consider our next vote and where are going with this gang of bastards.
    Barbados cannot afford much more of them because at this rate they will break the treasury.
    When one considers that Owings financiers are the likes of Rausing, Smith, Paynter, Smurfitt,Weatherhead, Bjerkham, his bank account is sitting pretty as ever so why then still want to rob from us the taxpayers ?