Director of International Business Kevin Hunte says Barbados will be working assiduously to ensure it was cleared from the EU’s grey list by the end of 2018. (Picture by Justin Newton-Gadsby.)
Describing Barbados’ recent blacklisting by the European Union (EU) as unfortunate, Director of International Business Kevin Hunte expects the country to go one step further and to be removed from the EU’s grey list by the end of the year.
Barbados, along with neighbours St Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, was among 17 countries placed on the blacklist of tax havens last December, following ten months of investigations by EU officials.
Last week, Barbados was removed from the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax regimes and placed on the grey list. That list includes countries which are not compliant with EU tax standards, but which have committed to changing their rules.
Hunte told the Sunday Sun that it was a simple misunderstanding which led to Barbados being blacklisted.
“The EU had a query which was not communicated to us until after we appeared on the list, and so it is because they did not have the answer to that query, which I must stress we never knew beforehand, we were then placed on that list as being a jurisdiction that is deemed non-cooperative or otherwise known as the blacklist.
“We would have written to them, engaged them and explained to them that we complied and that we did not know of the query subsequent to the list being posted. We were able then to work with them and that’s how we were removed from the list,” Hunte explained.
“So we’ve been moved from Annex 1, which is the blacklist, to Annex 2 which is the grey list, and that is a list where pretty much the countries on that list are monitored to see how they go about implementing the changes that are needed to be made.”
However, Hunte, who took over the post on August 15 last year, gave his assurance that Barbados would be working assiduously to ensure it was cleared from the grey list by the end of 2018.
“So yes, it is good news that we have been removed from the blacklist, but we have to continue the work we are doing to ensure we meet all the standards, make whatever amendments we have to make, but all of this within the context of keeping Barbados positioned as a jurisdiction where we attract the best quality international financial services,” he said.
“We have until December 31, 2018, to make all the changes that we would have committed to. I believe it is a realistic goal because it is not something the Ministry of International Business is doing alone. We have the Ministry of Finance involved, the Barbados Revenue Authority, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados, the Barbados Bar Association, we have the Barbados International Business Association, and we have tax consultants as well, and that is just to name a few.” (RB)