Barbados’ Minister of International Business Donville Inniss said the move was unjustified and government would be objecting.
The EU listed Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands among 30 territories identified by 10 or more EU nations as tax havens.
But in a swift response, Inniss said Barbados had no right on that list.
“I can’t speak for all the jurisdictions but I know that this labelling of Barbados is extremely unfortunate and as minister responsible for international business I am not going to sit back and take this lightly,” he told the Daily Nation.
“Barbados is a reputable jurisdiction with a very clean [record] and I intend to adopt an approach where all gloves are off.”
Cayman Finance, which represents the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands, said it was disappointed to see the territory included on the list, based on the views of 11 EU countries with which it does little international business.
“It is not clear what standards have been used by these 11 countries to come to such a conclusion, in particular when the Cayman Islands has exchange of information mechanisms in place with all but one of these countries,” it said.
“The Cayman Islands has consistently evolved and maintained its international tax cooperation practices to meet robust, balanced and globally implemented standards for regulation and cross border cooperation that apply equally to G20 countries and all International Financial Centres . . . .
“We are confident that if these 11 EU countries transparently and objectively evaluate the Cayman Islands robust international tax cooperation regime against global standards that the Cayman Islands will be promptly removed from this non-compliant list,” it added.
In a statement seeking to clarify the list, the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean said the list of 30 was not a new list, but a compilation of EU member states’ lists as they were communicated to the European Commission in December 2014.
“The consolidated list is not an assessment by the Commission but a compilation of existing lists of EU member states which looked at how non-EU countries and territories around the world apply standards of good tax governance. These standards vary, but generally include transparency, exchange of information and fair tax competition,” it said.