The Swiss and Their Secrets
A New York Times editorial is calling upon the United States government to reject any deal with Switzerland that would let 52,000 American citizens off the hook for having unreported Swiss bank accounts. This “get tough” attitude is reflected in many American media articles and mirrors the long-standing position of President Obama — who sponsored anti-offshore banking legislation long before he became president.
Barbados government officials have always talked a good game when it comes to transparency, accountability and monitoring of Barbados offshore corporations and international banks, but increasingly the United States is calling upon foreign governments like Barbados to open their records for US inspection — which of course destroys much of the attraction of offshore financial centers.
As economies come under increasing pressure there will be more calls to rein in offshore financial centers from real or imagined misdeeds as the developed nations fight to retain their tax base.
What Can Barbados Do To Avoid The Wrath Of Developed Countries?
As we have pointed out from the day we published our first article over three years ago, Barbados does not have any integrity legislation, transparency laws or conflicts of interest regulations. Barbados corporations are routinely allowed to violate existing laws regarding records keeping and public accountability, and the government itself is one of the worst violators of corporate reporting laws for companies in which it has an interest.
All of this sends the wrong signals to the United States, Canada and other countries that have expressed concern over our offshore financial and corporate industries. It is a shame that the DLP and David Thompson lied about their promise to implement ITAL – Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation.
As Switzerland is discovering, chickens do come home to roost when it is most inconvenient.