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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 27.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 27.
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has urged the United Nations to stand resolutely against the “thinly-veiled war” being waged against small island developing states (SIDS) “under the guise of combatting tax secrecy and reducing ‘illicit financial flows’”.

“The constant bullying by ruffians, the bureaucrats of the European Union, in particular, has revealed that the unambiguous objective of the EU is not well-regulated Caribbean financial centres, but a decimated and discredited sector, while pandering to the thriving centres that exist within EU borders, or in other, more powerful locales,” Gonsalves told the UN General Assembly last Friday.

Last year, lawmakers in Kingstown were summoned two days before Christmas to change the law to avoid EU sanctions.

The changes to the International Business Companies Act, ahead of an EU review in February, which could have seen St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) blacklisted for non-compliance.

And even as Kingstown attempted to comply with the EU requirements by passing the law, Gonsalves had called for creative resistance to the EU on this and other matters, which he said are not in the interest of Caribbean and other small states.

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Gonsalves spoke to the issue against at the UN last week, saying:

“The war being waged on legitimate commercial activity in the Caribbean by the European Union traffics in outmoded stereotypes and is accompanied by the unmistakeable whiff of a paternalistic bias that romanticizes the Caribbean servant or subsistence labourer, but instinctively rejects the concept of a Caribbean banker.

“It is self-evident that opaque, non-inclusive, undemocratic entities are presuming to impose an illegitimate rule-making authority on island states in the hope that our financial sector collapses under the weight of onerous regulation, rapidly changing requirements and the threat of unilateral blacklists,” the prime minister said.

He said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines “is under no illusions: our financial services sector, and those of our Caribbean brothers, is experiencing a synchronised political assault, masquerading as an objective bureaucratic regulatory exercise.”

Gonsalves also used the speech to address the issue of de-risking — the threat by banks in developed countries to withdraw correspondent banking services to the region.

Caribbean countries have been arguing that de-risking would exclude the region from the global finance and trading system with grave consequences for maintenance of financial stability, economic growth, remittance flows and poverty alleviation.

Gonsalves told the general assembly that SVG wished to formally place the issues of de-risking and loss of correspondent banking relations finally on the agenda of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.

 “Well-meaning, but ill-fitting regulatory attempts to combat terrorism and money laundering have had the unintended effect of making it prohibitively expensive for banks to operate in small island locales,” the prime minister said.

He said the flight of these banks, and the withdrawal of relationships with other financial institutions, threatens to disconnect island states from international trade and commerce, with disastrous developmental consequences.

“International cooperation is essential to addressing these vexing challenges of modern globalisation and sustainable development,” Gonsalves said.

He said that some of SVG’s allies, such as Taiwan, “have been exemplary in offering their perspectives and support to our developmental aspirations, and have proven time and again to be more than deserving of a meaningful role in the specialised agencies and bodies of the United Nations.

“Indeed, more and more South-South cooperation is moving from the periphery to the centre-stage of the global political economy to the benefit of SIDS like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,” the prime minister said. 

9 replies on “Gonsalves raises tax, banking issues at UN”

  1. I cannot speak for other islands but I can for SVG. SVG has attracted more financial criminals and international tax dodgers than one can list.

    We have had a chain of offshore banks open and swindle investors and depositors, has gone on for years.

    SVGS Trust companies were almost all involved in a huge Ponzi Scheme in the US, along with their administrators.

    This is a useful article

    I can deliver up loads of stuff if anyone in the UN is interested.

  2. Leadership schizophrenia at one end and ordinary posturing at the other end. Somewhere in the middle, there is something resembling dishonesty that defies proper explanation

  3. Although I do not agree with the Macro-Economic Philosophy of our Prime Minister, I am sure he is correct in his assertions concerning regulatory bodies and policy directed at the Caribbean. The venues for most of the world’s corruption in Finance is said to be New York and London, not the Caribbean, although we have not been saints either. Europe or the USA dictating to the Caribbean may be a case of the pot calling the kettle…uh….Afro-American.

  4. I think the PM should of told the UN who deposit the $1000000 in the former bank.And then start his speech.

  5. Talk is easy when talking is one’s business Mr MAC! Stealing and Banking in paradise is easy too when one knows how so to do! Stealing Paradise goes with the territory also! I am given to understand that Maurice Bishop of Grenada kept two sets of books during his term in Office! What does that tell us?

    Mr MAC here is a thing. In this case here is “Evidence of corruption in the Maldives”
    When it’s big its big and only money talks. Get it?

    By the way I have a beach to sell. Any takers?

  6. Thank you James for reminding us about Maurice Bishop, I will further add that he wanted two sets of books and sent Grenadians to Cuba to learn how to do that. The reason behind two sets of books was to commit fraud against the IMF, World Bank, and buyers of Grenadian bonds. But the worst of that which affects Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is when Ralph Gonsalves announced he wants to finish Bishops work, listen to this.

    Thank you for the offer James yes I want to buy the beach, no not dirty beach, he has gone on a long journey, and only the devil knows where.

  7. Also we must not forget to remind the UN that SVG caused the US Corresponding banks to withdraw from the Caribbean.

    Maduro was funding the revolutionary overthrow of the Spanish government in Catalonia Spain. Paying the leadership via an offshore bank in Kingstown until the Americans found out. There is lots online about it.

    That action caused the withdrawal of US Corresponding banking in SVG, worse than that is affected the whole Caribbean.

    I am surprised the US did not follow up and put sanctions on the whole family and the dynasty members, watch out because sooner or later that will come about.

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