Tag Archives: Tax Evasion

Barbados Minister of International Business Donville Inniss: Swiss Bank Account for your online porn business?

cropped-donville-inniss-hospital-goat.jpg

Revealed for the first time: Donville Inniss Swiss Money Connection

An interesting article in yesterday’s Nation Newspaper where Donville Inniss, our Minister of International Business, announced that Barbados is fully on board with the US and international efforts to have an automatic exchange of tax information between countries.

Some folks would say that Barbados is caving to the USA’s extortion, but others would say this is the future and welcome to it.

Of course, some folks would also question where the customers are going to come from if keeping money in Barbados is the same as having a bank account in Chicago or London. Why should anyone do their banking in Bim if there is no advantage?

“. . . My ministry has written to the secretary general of the OECD in Paris indicating that Barbados has formally committed to signing on to the automatic exchange of tax information,” Inniss said. “This is important because as a government there is somewhat of a paradigm shift in taking a position that Barbados needs to be a player, and to be seen as a major player in this international financial services sector where it matters most.”

… Nation News Bowing to Global Pressure

Barbados Sex Trafficking

What about all Donville’s porn profits?

This concern with international tax treaties is a newish thing for Pornville, er, Donville.

You see, not so many years ago, Barbados Free Press caught out Donville Inniss in the act of profiteering from online pornography.

“One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen is Orgasm.com’s pregnant woman porn section. How does Donville Inniss feel about these desperate young girls – making money for him like this?” 

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Slavery

UK helps Barbados with damage control over tax transparency failure

International Community wants action, not promises

A new Barbados Government press release says that the United Kingdom will upgrade our country’s status with respect to the UK’s legislation on offshore non-compliance by U.K taxpayers, and petition the OECD to reconsider its recent report about Barbados that resulted in “highly prejudicial consequences”.

Last January the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) slapped Barbados upside the head for failing to comply with international standards for sharing tax information. The OECD review was part of a crackdown on money laundering and tax havens and found that Barbados “did not have legislation in place to fully share information on tax matters with international partners.”

See BFP’s January 28, 2011 article OECD: Barbados fails tax transparency standards

Barbados was once again sent to our room by the international community until we could behave ourselves and pass some laws and regulations like we agreed to do years ago but never got around to. So now that we’ve taken a few weeks and passed the new laws we’d like to come out and play with the others, and the UK is going to vouch for us.

This same scenario plays out once or twice a year in one form or another when the international community gets tired of all promises and no action. Last year Barbados was downgraded to a spot below Cambodia over our failure to fight human trafficking. This year it’s our failure to comply with international tax information standards. Next year it will be something else.

Laws? Standards? What you talking about?

You see, we Barbadians don’t like to pass laws or comply with outside standards. We like to make promises and statements of intent, but actually passing laws is another thing. Laws make it inconvenient for the ruling class to do whatever they want. That’s why the DLP won’t pass their promised Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws.

Unfortunately, while we Bajans understand our leaders making promises and then doing the opposite, the international community is less forgiving than the voters.

Moral of the story: After the OECD slapped us around, it took our government about two weeks to pass the required laws because the downgrade threatened our economy.

Too bad our government won’t act so quickly to pass Integrity Legislation,  Freedom of Information and Conflicts of Interest laws. Or Environmental Legislation.

Prime Minister Stuart could make those laws happen if he wanted to.

But he doesn’t want to.

Barbados Government Press Release Damage Control

British Government believes OECD Global Forum should review Barbados tax information-exchange finding as soon as possible Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Corruption, Crime & Law

Attorney Donna Symmonds receives public apology from Barbados Free Press – sort of, but not really.

Updated April 18, 2011

Well folks, it looks like we can’t get a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client. Yup, Symmonds was in the mood to sue the heck out of poor old BFP until we started asking some very basic questions about whether her client had properly reported to the tax people.

Alright, we’ll put this article back into the list and that will be that.

Don’t know why it’s so difficult for some folks to just tell the truth straight up. It would be good if Bajans knew for certain whether the charges against the lawyer client were her carelessness or improper actions by government workers.

Updated April 15, 2011:

Bajans await a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client.

Weasel words from Attorney insider?

Attorney-at-law avoiding the truth?

Government tax authorities unfairly maligned by Attorney?

This story is gaining legs and certainly has the interest of our readers who want to know if the Attorney-at-Law “client” who is the subject of our story was unfairly charged by Barbados tax authorities or, as is looking ever more possible – was responsible for her own troubles.

At the center of the story is the question as to when “the client” who was charged with tax offenses (and who is an attorney at law herself) notified the Barbados tax authorities that she was no longer resident in Barbados.

If she properly notified the tax authorities years ago in writing and the government fouled up, then Bajans deserve to know about this unreasonable harassment by government officials.

But if the attorney at law “client” only notified the tax authorities after she was charged, and after ignoring years of tax demand letters, that means that the tax charges were fairly laid and that the attorney-at-law is hardly an innocent victim.

We’ve been trying to discover the truth, but so far all we get is silence and anonymous weasel words left as comments by an obvious insider.

The longer that Attorney at Law Donna Symmonds remains silent on this issue while screaming loudly about charges being dropped, the more it looks like the Attorney At Law “client” was charged due to her own negligence.

As we originally wrote to Attorney Donna Symmonds:

“Folks would like to know whether the fault is the government’s or your client’s and it would only be ethical to let the public know. That’s only fair to the government workers.

I mean, if it’s not the government’s fault, you wouldn’t want the public thinking it was, would you?”

Bajans await a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client.

Our original article published April 14, 2011…

“Our apology appears a little later in this article.”

Attorney says Client’s Charges Dropped! The Nation failed to report that all charges were dropped.

Why did Barbados lawyer Donna Symmonds publish a public letter on the internet instead of sending a private email?

Donna Symmonds (courtesy BBC)

Dear Attorney Donna Symmonds,

We just noticed today that you posted a letter to BFP as a public comment on April 11, 2011 on our story New Barbados Tourism Authority Director charged with tax evasion? (Your public comment is repeated at the end of this article.) Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press

OECD: Barbados fails tax transparency standards

Review part of crackdown on money laundering & tax havens

Measures on tax transparency in Barbados still do not meet international standards, according to The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, hosted by the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“In studies of 10 countries released on Thursday, it found that Barbados, the Seychelles, San Marino and Trinidad and Tobago did not have legislation in place to fully share information on tax matters with international partners.”

Reuters Africa story: Barbados, San Marino, others still not tax transparent

Further Reading

OECD Global Forum on Transparency

January 27, 2011 Information Brief (PDF)

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments

US “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” Names & Targets Barbados – Has David Thompson Actually Read The Legislation?

BARBADOS’ Prime Minister David Thompson said he does not believe that Legislation tabled recently in the United States Congress to deal with offshore tax havens is targeting jurisdictions like Barbados…

“I want to say that despite the strong feelings about that piece of legislation, it did not seem to us that it was aimed at jurisdictions like Barbados,” the Prime Minister told the function organised by Invest Barbados, this country’s leading business promotion agency…

… from the Barbados Advocate article Barbados Is Safe!

Internal Revenue Service Barbados

U.S. Internal Revenue Service Names Barbados As A “Secrecy Jurisdiction”

According to David Thompson, Barbadians have nothing to worry about when it comes to the new American “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act”. You see, the Prime Minister “feels” that the legislation is not aimed at jurisdictions like Barbados.

Perhaps Prime Minister Thompson had better read the American legislation and speak with the authors — who originally included a Senator named Barack Obama — because unlike David Thompson, those authors and the Internal Revenue Service “feel” that Barbados is an offshore secrecy jurisdiction and tax haven and they have said so in writing.

Senator Carl Levin Tax HavenYou don’t have to believe me, or Prime Minister Thompson. Just go to the website of President Obama’s partner pushing the legislation, United States Senator Carl Levin, and download it for yourself. (US Senator Carl Levin: Senate, House Members Introduce Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act – and here is his website: Senator Carl Levin Website)

The act includes a list of 34 jurisdictions identified in Internal Revenue court proceedings and Barbados is number five on that list of targeted jurisdictions. Again, you don’t have to believe me, you can read it for yourself (and frankly you won’t read it in any Barbados news media) Here is an excerpt…

‘‘(E) INITIAL LIST OF OFFSHORE SECRECY JURISDICTIONS.

For purposes of this paragraph, each of the following foreign jurisdictions, which have been previously and publicly identified by the Internal Revenue Service as secrecy jurisdictions in Federal court proceedings, shall be deemed listed by the Secretary as an offshore secrecy jurisdiction unless delisted by the Secretary under subparagraph (F)(ii):

(i) Anguilla.
(ii) Antigua and Barbuda.
(iii) Aruba.
(iv) Bahamas.
(v) Barbados.
(vi) Belize.
(vii) Bermuda.
(viii) British Virgin Islands.
(ix) Cayman Islands… (and 25 other jurisdictions)”

… From the (PDF) “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act”

Why Should The United States Trust Barbados?

If you take emotion, patriotism and sheer will to survive out of your normal Bajan reaction to the US anti-tax haven legislation, you must admit that Barbados neatly fits the definition of both a “secrecy jurisdiction” and a “tax haven”. As well as the United States, both Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have named Barbados as a recognised “tax haven”.

What defines a “tax haven” and “secrecy jurisdiction”?  If you read the US and Canadian government reports and other materials freely available on the internet, you’ll see that a big part of that definition concerns what a “tax haven” is MISSING in terms of controls, oversight, transparency and rule of law. These missing structures allow what President Obama defines as “tax haven abuse”.

How About Barbados’ Controls, Oversight, Transparency and Rule of Law?

Ahhhh…. not so good….

Successive Barbados governments have failed to implement even the most basic controls and oversight over offshore corporations and government officials, so why should the United States remove our country from the list of secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens targeted by the new legislation?

Let’s look at some of the mitigating qualities for “good” offshore jurisdictions that might make Senator Levin and his colleagues reconsider placing Barbados on the list…

* Transparency of operations through Freedom of Information Legislation?

(NO! – Barbados doesn’t have FOI legislation or a culture of transparency and accountability. We were promised FOI, but it never came. As for transparency, Barbados does not hold inquests into deaths even when an entire family is wiped out . The elites are protected at all costs. )

* Oversight over Corporations?

(NO! – Barbados has a record of failing to provide sufficient oversight and accountability when it comes to corporations. Corporations are allowed to get away with refusing to file financial information as required by law. When the current Prime Minister was a practicing lawyer, some of his big corporate clients like CLICO failed to file required information and he didn’t care. Not to mention the fact that many government-owned corporations have failed to account as per law. Heck, even the Chief Justice of Barbados doesn’t file proper corporate documents for 13 years and gets away with it!)

* Integrity Legislation, Conflict of Interest Laws for Government Officials?

bribery.jpg(NO! Barbados has no integrity legislation, conflicts of interest rules or a Ministerial Code! The current DLP Government promised to implement all this within the first 100 days, but that was almost a year and a half ago. Unbelievably, in Barbados it is still legal for a government official (elected or appointed) to issue a government contract to a company owned by the government official or their immediate family! See: Thanks To Prime Minister David Thompson, Barbados Government Officials Can Still Use Their Office For Personal Profit)

* Corporate Records Requirements?

(NO! Barbados has consistently failed to compel Barbados corporations to adhere to the law. It is not unusual for records to go missing – even government records – if it is convenient to some of the elites. Even government-owned corporations don’t file records as per the law! Here are some examples of failed oversight regarding corporate records keeping5: Gymnasium Limited, GEMS Hotels, CGI Consumers’ Guarantee Insurance Company, and CLICO for a start.

* Requirement To List Beneficial Shareholders of Corporations?

(NO! According to the International Monetary Fund Country Report No. 09/19, (link shows all IMF reports) Barbados law does not require the disclosure of beneficial shareholders of corporations. While the Registrar of Companies maintains a register with information on directors and registered offices of companies, there is no legislative requirement to disclose beneficial ownership information. Many Barbados foreigner-owned offshore corporations are “fronted” by Bajans, but the corporate records are kept in another jurisdiction, while the money flows to another jurisdiction like Panama or the Caymans. The true owners of the corporations remain hidden by Barbados law!

IMF Barbados Corruption

The IMF report also talks about corruption and bribery and other serious offences not being illegal…

“Barbados has criminalized money laundering (ML) broadly in compliance with international standards. However, while the definition of unlawful activity allows for a wide array of serious predicate offenses, human trafficking, corruption and bribery are not totally consistent with the requirements of the Palermo Convention.”

See the – PDF – IMF Country Report No. 09/19, January 2009)

* Rule of Law?

(NO! Successive Barbados governments have consistently shown that the “Rule of Law” means “We enforce laws when convenient to do so for our purpose and agenda.” Prime Minister Thompson declared that previous government officials stashed millions in foreign bank accounts, yet no action was taken against them. Rapists with money are allowed to buy their way out of criminal charges. THAT says everything about how Barbados views the wider societal importance of Rule of Law.)

* Effective Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement?

(NO! First, as the IMF report above points out, Barbados lacks the laws necessary to curtail bribery and conflicts of interest. Second, as the IMF report points out – the anti-money laundering authorities in Barbados haven’t really done anything! Left unsaid is that the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority hasn’t really done anything, but the government took the international funding anyway. Naturally… 🙂

The most telling indicator of how the Government of Barbados views money-laundering, tax evasion and other international financial shenanigans though, is the fact that our country had to admit that the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority Acted Illegally and Without Authority For Two Years.

The government only fixed things up retroactively after the story broke on a Barbados blog! – See Keltruth Corp’s article Does the Barbados Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) Really Exist?)

Lack Of ITAL (Integrity, Transparency & Accountability Legislation) Is A Root Cause Of American Legislation Targeting Barbados

PM Thompson Lied About ITAL

PM Thompson Lied About ITAL

Successive Barbados governments, including the current DLP Thompson government, have deliberately refused to implement integrity reforms because doing so would limit their ability to profit from their public offices. Period.

By their actions and inactions, Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley, David Thompson and dozens of other political elites placed Barbados squarely in the target sights of the Obama administration’s “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act”.

How fitting that if Barbados finally does implement ITAL, it will be because the corrupt politicians were finally dragged kicking and screaming to do something decent for the country – by the first black President of the United States of America.

Further Reading Continue reading

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Filed under Barack Obama, Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

President Obama and America Getting Tough With Tax Cheats

Apparently, President Obama has imposed tough new requirements on his officials and cabinet members: They must pay taxes.

This onerous rule has already sidelined or slandered a number of candidates or appointees for his critical posts. Many wonder if such strictures are a wise move, but it’s hard to quarrel when their jobs are about spending trillions of taxpayer dollars – a cause that some of these people have not made a contribution toward.

… Diane Francis in The National Post article US Protectionism Globally Destructive

US Protectionism Likely To Rise

Times are tough everywhere, but nowhere are they tougher than in the wallet of the United States of America where taxpayers are now on the hook for a trillion dollar giveaway to corporations in what is euphemistically called “a bailout”.

president-obama-barbadosThat money has to come from somewhere and one of the first messages sent out by President Obama is that all Americans and American businesses will pay their fair share of taxes. The Obama administration must, and will, stop the secret foreign economy conducted offshore by Americans who continue to live in the homeland but keep their assets and income hidden offshore.

The second message of the Obama Presidency is that America intends to stop being the world’s policeman and better look after things at home. While the world breathes a sigh of relief that the American bully cop will be seen less, the other side of the coin is an increase in trade protectionism. As the USA withdraws into a “look after the homeland” mode, smaller countries that don’t matter a whole lot to the United States (like Barbados) will find their offshore financial industries under increasing scrutiny.

Like the vast majority of people in Barbados, we at BFP supported (at least moral support) Obama’s bid for President. But we also understood that Obama will be no special friend to foreign nations, at least not at the expense of the United States. As we wrote in several articles, Senator Obama was a fierce opponent of the offshore banking industry in the Caribbean and he even sponsored several pieces of legislation that were directly harmful to Barbados.

So enjoy the moral victory and social progress represented by the election of a non-old-white-guy President, but hang on to your wallets friends because money is going to get tighter ’bout hey.

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments