Court of Arbitration and Mediation a must
The Government of Barbados has been presented with a blueprint for the establishment and operations of a Caribbean Court for Arbitration and Mediation and according to Minister of Commerce and Small Business Donville Inniss, “We are moving full speed ahead”. Speaking to participants attending the 15th Annual Caribbean Commercial Law Workshop hosted by the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, the minister noted that it is too costly and time-consuming resolving commercial disputes in Barbados and the Caribbean. He believes if we are to develop and sustain a more vibrant and friendly investment climate in the region, a system must be created to help to enforce contracts and to resolve disputes in a timely and cost effective manner. The minister said that with a Barbados International Arbitration Act, experienced jurists, trained Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialists, and an international market, the island must now move full speed ahead to establish the appropriate ADR facilities He lauded Chancery Chambers and related parties that ensured that the Government now has a blueprint for the establishment and operations of a Caribbean Court for Arbitration and Mediation in Barbados. “My Ministry is in the final part of consultations with relevant Ministries and I expect to invite my Cabinet colleagues to deliberate on this shortly. We are treating it as a business case to be operated like a business void of the layers of bureaucracy that is the norm elsewhere. I am satisfied that it is a financial and human resource investment that will genuinely assist Barbados in becoming the centre of excellence for commercial and corporate law and practices in this region,” he explained. Minister Inniss used the opportunity to call on those in the legal fraternity to, “Come on board with us in this bold initiative as we look towards a brighter future for commercial law in the region.” Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
It’s Up To Investment to Put Caribbean Back on Growth Path
Recovery of growth in Latin America and the Caribbean depends on invigorating public and private investment, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The UN organization gave that assessment today as it presented its Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2016, in which it forecasts that the region will contract -0.8 per cent this year. This marks a steeper decline than in 2015 (-0.5 per cent). It stressed the urgent need to mobilize investment – both public and private – to promote the region’s economic recovery and meet the challenges imposed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “The capacity of countries to accelerate economic growth depends on the spaces for adopting policies that support investment. These policies should be accompanied by efforts to change the conversation between the public sector and private companies. Increasing productivity is also a key challenge for moving forward along a path of dynamic and stable growth,” Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said during the press conference in Santiago, Chile where the report was presented. The survey indicates that in the external arena, the global economy will maintain low levels of growth, which will be accompanied by a slow expansion in trade, which has not managed to recover the levels seen before the international financial crisis. On top of that, the report points to deteriorated prices for the region’s commodities exports and greater international financial uncertainty and volatility, which have increased since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (Brexit). This decision has also produced greater risks to the world’s future growth. In the regional sphere, the report forecasts a -2.1 per cent contraction for South America in 2016, mainly due to a deterioration in its terms of trade, weaker external demand and a significant deceleration in domestic demand, which reflects a sizeable fall in domestic investment. Declines All Around The Caribbean will suffer a -0.3 per cent contraction in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ECLAC said. According to the report, six countries are expected to show an economic contraction in 2016: Venezuela (-8.0 per cent), Suriname (-4.0 per cent), Brazil (-3.5 per cent), Trinidad and Tobago (-2.5 per cent), Ecuador (-2.5 per cent) and Argentina (-1.5 per cent). On the other hand, regional growth will be led by the Dominican Republic (6.0 per cent), Panama (5.9 per cent), Nicaragua and Bolivia (4.5 per cent), and Costa Rica (4.3 per cent). “Faced with an economic contraction, the region needs progressive structural change with a big environmental push that promotes development based on equality and sustainability, as we have proposed in our institutional document Horizons 2030: Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development, which we presented in Mexico last May,” Bárcena said. In its Economic Survey 2016 ECLAC calls for resuming the path of growth and mobilizing financial flows for development financing. To achieve that, it said, countries must change their fiscal structures to improve tax collection and progressivity, strengthen income taxes (both for individuals and companies), and fight tax evasion and avoidance, which reached the equivalent of 6.7 points of the regional GDP in 2015 at an estimated US$340 billion. It added that it is necessary to promote renewed public-private coalitions and policies that create appropriate incentives to channel financing towards development goals. Article compliments Caribbean 360.com
Canada: Banks to hand over offshore tax files
The Trudeau government has won a round in its battle against offshore tax cheats, reports Guelph Mercury Tribune. Two banks have agreed to give the federal revenue minister information from the accounts of a Caribbean financial institution to help the government crack down on Canadian tax evaders. The Federal Court of Canada has approved federal requests for seven years’ worth of transaction information from the Royal Bank of Canada and Citibank, N.A., related to accounts in the name of Cayman National Bank Ltd. The Royal Bank and Citibank — neither of which opposed the federal demands — have 120 days to hand over records from Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2015, including account statements, deposit slips, cheques, bank drafts and wire transfer orders. The Canada Revenue Agency plans to comb through the data to see if Canadian residents are using the Canadian dollar accounts, opened by Cayman National Bank, to transfer funds to Canada and avoid reporting taxable income from their foreign holdings. The move is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to fight offshore tax evasion, said revenue agency spokesman David Walters. “The CRA is committed to combating the abusive use of offshore jurisdictions and protecting the integrity of the Canadian tax system.” In an affidavit filed with the Federal Court, David Letkeman, an auditor with the agency’s offshore compliance section, says past investigations have confirmed that Canadian residents use accounts with foreign financial institutions to hide taxable income. “In my experience, the expectation of such persons is that the CRA would not discover the entities, accounts and omitted income.” In this case, the revenue agency has not yet identified Canadians suspected of an offshore tax dodge. However, Letkeman says the agency was alerted to the possible Cayman ruse by a Canadian woman who voluntarily disclosed her dealings through a special program that allows those who come forward to avoid prosecution. Documents showed the woman’s funds flowed from the Cayman Islands — through Cayman National Bank’s correspondent account with the Canadian branch of Citibank, N.A. — to a Canadian bank account in her name. As a result of the revenue agency’s review, she was ordered to pay a total of more than $1.2 million plus interest for unreported capital gains related to offshore property. The revenue agency acknowledges that some of the information it seeks from the two banks may already be in its possession as a result of federal measures that in 2015 introduced mandatory reporting of international electronic funds transfers of $10,000 or more. However, the agency says, audits have revealed cases where Canadian residents attempting to conceal income and assets had periodically paid themselves “allowances” of less than $10,000 from offshore accounts. Walters said the latest court actions are unrelated to the so-called Panama Papers trove of leaked data, which exposed the offshore dealings of many high-profile people around the globe. Article compliments IFC Review.