International Business Sector Vital to Barbados’ Economy
The contribution of this island’s international business sector to the social and economic development of Barbados is not to be underestimated. Minister of Industry and International Business, Donville Inniss, made this assertion recently while addressing a Corporate Trust and Service Providers seminar in the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre. The Minister told his audience that quantitatively, the sector contributed over BDS $900 million annually to the economy, which, he noted, ranked second to the contributions made by the tourism industry. Mr. Inniss quipped: “… I often argue with my dear friend and colleague Richard Sealy that the country gets a better return on its investment in international business and financial services than we do in tourism. I suspect that for every dollar that the government spends in the sector, they probably get a lot more than $2 back. And certainly for every dollar we earn in foreign exchange I suspect perhaps that 75 cents stays in Barbados. “This is not to suggest that there is any war between tourism and international business – we need both of them. But, no one can discount the immense contribution that this sector makes to the economy of Barbados.” Mr. Inniss maintained that service providers were quite aware of the contribution of how the sector benefited the economy and pointed to fees charged by companies, and jobs created and sustained by the sector. However, the Minister said he wanted Barbadians to be aware that indirectly, a significant number of workers could trace their employment back to the contribution of the international business sector. He added: “Those who work in the banking industry, those working in the various law firms and those who are employed in ancillary services are really benefiting from this very important sector. “As for you our valuable partners in the corporate trust and service providers arena…if the international business sector is really to move up the ranks and stay there, we recognise that we needed to have a cadre of professionals and companies who are appropriately licensed and regulated to ensure that we maintain a high level of professionalism.” He reminded the gathering that they were the gatekeepers of the sector and were instrumental in the attraction and retention of businesses. Article compliments Invest Barbados and GIS.
Sustainability of the Int’l Business Sector Key
The Government of Barbados is committed to the sustainability of the International Business sector and to its operation on a level that provides a secure jurisdiction from which and in which to conduct business. This assurance comes from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, while revealing that Barbados joined the ‘Inclusive Framework’ in July of this year and in so doing committed to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) framework and its consistent implementation. “We therefore collaborate on an equal footing with other members and will work to tackle tax avoidance, improving the coherence of international tax rules and ensuring a more transparent tax environment,” he stated. “We therefore have work to do. We must refocus our efforts on making the necessary amendments to the legislation to ensure that it meets the relevant standards and provides for the substantial business activity on which our ‘offshore’ sector was built,” he stated. Inniss was at the time addressing the International Business Week 2017 Conference “Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate”, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently. He also disclosed that Government is currently preparing Barbados’ draft Multilateral Instrument (MLI) position for eventual signature before the end of this year. This Instrument, he explained, is an important element of the BEPs Action plan, and is one of the four minimum standards, required in order to implement the tax treaty related aspects of BEPs. “Instead of a bilateral treaty renegotiation process that would take decades, the MLI will allow the entry into force in a shorter time span of tax treaty-related BEPs measures,” he indicated. “I am sure you will agree that our country’s tax treaty network has been one of the pillars on which the international business sector has stood. This growing network is a testament to Barbados’ cooperation and demonstration of an understanding of issues that affect tax systems of partner jurisdictions. The Government of Barbados is committed to honouring these Agreements, negotiated in a spirit of mutual trust, cooperation and respect”. The Minister further acknowledged that going forward, the strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework of the international business sector will also be a priority. He said that Barbados’ Mutual Evaluation report will be considered at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary next month and updates and revisions to the national AML/CFT regime will be informed by the outcome of that exercise. “I therefore urge you to embrace these challenging times, for they provide opportunities for the international business sector and for Barbados. You need to take a proactive stance and equip your businesses and staff with the necessary skills, technologies and knowledge to address the new changes. You too must put measures in place to strengthen your AML/CFT frameworks, for we Barbados is as strong as its weakest link,” Inniss expressed. Article compliments the Barbados Advocate and Invest Barbados
Barbados And Italy Pledge To Strengthen Ties
The exchange of instruments of ratification between Barbados and Italy to effectively conclude a Double Taxation Agreement was among the highlights of a visit to Barbados by Italy’s Special Envoy for the Caribbean, Paolo Serpi. Ambassador Serpi and Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, officially exchanged the instrument, which was first signed in August 2015, during a courtesy call at Parliament recently. During the meeting, the envoy mentioned several areas of cooperation, including fashion design, agriculture, renewable energy and climate change. Ambassador Serpi signalled his country’s intention to work more closely with CARICOM on the development of the fashion industry, as well as other areas to advance the social and economic development of both countries. In turn, Mr. Inniss expressed his interest in that project, which he believed had the potential to strengthen the work at the Barbados Community College, where there was existing infrastructure and the teaching of some of the foundation courses in fashion. He added: “We have always looked to Italy in the area of fashion, design and technology. Many Barbadians have benefited from the opportunities available by the Italian Government and Italian institutions to further their skills particularly through the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.” Regarding cooperation in agriculture, the Minister mentioned the University of the West Indies’ programme to transform the agricultural sector from farm to market, with the assistance of the Italian Government, by using the pelt of Black belly sheep to produce high-quality products. Article compliments Invest Barbados
Overstock CEO: Be the First Movers in Blockchain Technology
“If we in the Caribbean are to be competitive, relevant and even revolutionary, we must embrace Blockchain technology.” This is the view of Chairman of the Bitt Board of Directors, Peter George. While giving brief remarks at a Bitt seminar entitled, ‘Central Bank Meets Blockchain’ at the Hilton Resort, he identified “that even though some less than savoury comments have been made, we at Bitt are the ones on the forefront in the Caribbean… We have spent the last 18 months building that compliance strength. This is an opportunity for real meaningful change”. Meanwhile Dr. Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, stated: “Central banks around the world are exploring digital currencies including Bank of England, Bank of Canada, Bank of Japan, etc.; they are all targeting 2018. The entire world is getting that Blockchain is a better system. “In Barbados and the Caribbean, we are ready to launch December 15. We have the whole stake built, it is no longer theory; it is the mobile wallet, merchant payment processor and the digital assets exchange and we are ready to go. They are built and in testing.” Dr. Byrne added: “What this means is the Caribbean and Barbados have a unique opportunity. There has been a lot of talk for the last 18 months, there is a crowd of the most distinguished central banks in the world lining up, but there is still a chance to be the first in the world. “I think the Central Bank that is the first in the world that adopts this technology is immediately catapulted to the very forefront of financial technology. “It is decision time for those that are here … as you consider dealing with Bitt. Bitt is a good company with the backing of a large American company. You have the unique opportunity in the next couple of months to go forward and that will put the region on the map as the most progressive forward leading Central Bank that there is, and the effects on the Central Bank and the people will be positive.” Source: The Barbados Advocate
Areas Spain Could Assist Barbados
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has identified renewable energy, tourism and culture as possible areas of collaboration between Barbados and Spain. Mr. Stuart made the comments recently when Spain’s new Ambassador to Barbados, Javier Fernandez Carbajosa, and Honorary Consul, Mandy Chandler, paid him a courtesy call at Ilaro Court. Explaining that renewable energy was very important to Barbados, the Prime Minister pointed out that the island was in the process of creating a green economy, which would require Government to invest more heavily in renewables. On the point of tourism, he said there was greater scope for people-to-people contact and he would like to see an increase in Spaniards visiting these shores. He also suggested that Barbados’ tourism infrastructure could benefit from “Spanish input”, indicating that this could boost arrivals. Mr. Stuart stated that Barbados was trying to develop its cultural industries and expressed the view that a Memorandum of Understanding with Spain could be developed in this area. Barbados and Spain established diplomatic relations 37 years ago, and the Prime Minister noted that while a Double Taxation Agreement was in place, the time had come to improve the relationship. Ambassador Carbajosa said he was ready to undertake any necessary process to push bilateral relations. He agreed that Spain could assist in the areas of renewable energy, cultural exchanges and tourism, disclosing that about 75 million tourists visited his country last year. Article and photo compliment BGIS.
Spain Eager To Work With Barbados
Barbados is eager to negotiate a Bilateral Investment Treaty with Spain. This was communicated to Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, Javier María Carbajosa Sanchez, during a recent courtesy call with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, in the Committee Room at Parliament. Ambassador Carbajosa shared similar sentiments and told the Acting Minister that his country was equally interested in drafting bilateral agreements with Barbados. Senator Byer Suckoo said Government was also keen on organising a cultural exchange to benefit the cultural industries in both countries. She added that Barbados was also interested in pursuing and exploring opportunities in the renewable energy sector, as the sector fell within the island’s “top three priorities”. Mr. Carbajosa said Spain would be “more than happy” to lend their experience and knowledge of that sector, along with the tourism sector, as locals in Spain were always “eager and excited to visit new destinations”. Article compliments BGIS.
Another International Medical University Opens in Barbados
Yet another international medical school has opened in Barbados. Just recently, 17 student doctors donned their ceremonial white coats, marking not only their rite of passage into the profession of medicine, but also signifying them as the first group of students to enter the American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS), School of Medicine at the campus’ new home in Barbados. Founded in 1999, the AUIS was previously known as the University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, and was established on the island of Sint Eustatius by a group of medical school educators and administrators. In 2013, the school came under new ownership and management, International Educational Management Resources LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia and led by Managing Director, Milo Pinckney and President, Renu Agnihotri. Speaking at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the university’s Basic Sciences Facility, at #9, 5th Avenue, Belleville, St. Michael, Dr. Edward Layne, a gastroenterologist and native of Barbados, provided the background of the AUIS’ move to Barbados. Dr. Layne, who served as the Honorary Consul for Barbados in Atlanta for the past 20 years before his retirement last December, was instrumental in paving the pathway for the institution’s move to Barbados. “Two years ago, a young visionary entered my office, his name was Mr. Milo Pinckney. He said to me, ‘Dr. Layne, I am not a doctor but I am the son of a physician entrepreneur with Caribbean roots’. He said ‘I am a businessman, who owns a medical school and have several patents in the field of medical technology’, and that in my opinion may be able to revolutionise the training of young doctors and the practice of medicine.” He added that he was quite curious as Mr. Pinckney explained his interest in moving the university to Barbados and deploying a patented, medical information technology device called The Clinical Activity Rotation Log or CARL. The device contains the templates for state-of-the-art training programmes that encompass traditional western medicine as well as the proven aspects of complementary and alternative medicine, now called CAM. Admittedly impressed by what the young businessman had to say, Dr. Layne saw it necessary to introduce him to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, while hosting the 4th biennial Barbados Comes to Atlanta event, in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 2016. Highlighting Barbados’ literacy rate and the rank by the US Department of State as “one of the most politically transparent nations on the planet”, he believes Barbados has many unique qualities and presents tremendous opportunities for his institution. “In our short tenure here, we have developed a great partnership with Senator McClean and Dr. Layne, [who] facilitated our relocation. The growth of our institution and our contribution to the island of Barbados will come together entirely, so I thank you all for your support and most importantly, for your recognition of a quality programme and the opportunity for us to bring it here,” he expressed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that convincing her colleagues was “not a hard task” as they all recognised the potential of the institution as it has been demonstrating its capacity to produce good students. “It is my hope that given the importance of medical training and the demand globally for medical training, that there will be opportunities for synergies to be forged between our traditional medical faculties at the University of the West Indies and the programmes offered by the American University of Integrated Sciences,” she added. “Being in Barbados gives you the opportunity to experience not only state-of-the-art medical training but the opportunity to live in a small society, which, in many respects, has demonstrated the capacity of a resource-scarce nation to engage the world and to demonstrate that we are able to foster a level of development and quality of life that is of interest to other countries,” she conveyed to the students. The Minister thanked Dr. Layne and Mr. Pinckney for their vision and interest to move the university to the island’s shores. Invest Barbados played a key role in facilitating the establishment of AUIS in Barbados. Adapted from the Barbados Government Information Service
American University President says US can learn from Barbados
CALIFORNIA, United States – There’s an island in the Lesser Antilles that the head of one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California, US, thinks very highly of. In fact, Woodbury University President David Steele-Figueredo thinks the US can learn a lot from it. “While Barbados may not be perfect in every sense of the word, maybe we can learn a lesson or two from its excellent educational system, its history of compassion and humanity, and the longevity of the people on this little island.” That is how the Venezuelan-born Dr. Steele-Figueredo concludes an article in the Huffington Post in which he highlighted his own experience in Barbados’ education system as a student of the Lodge School, and what he observed of its people in his time on the island. Barbados was one of several countries in which he lived outside of Venezuela, the others being Trinidad, England, Japan, Belgium and Spain. “The key difference between little Barbados and the US is tolerance and respect between black and white. And what has been the secret recipe? I would argue it is education,” he wrote. “According to a 2014 study by the US Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults, or 14 per cent of the population, cannot read. Shockingly, 21 per cent of adults in the US read below a fifth grade level, and 19 per cent of high school graduates cannot read at all. By comparison, a recent report by the Commonwealth Network states, ‘There is virtually no illiteracy among people age 15-24’ in Barbados. Thus, the fundamental question: How can we have a truly working democracy in the US when many people cannot read, have not assimilated the lessons of world history, and cannot think critically and unemotionally about social and moral issues like racial hatred?” Dr. Steele-Figueredo questioned. He pointed out that another lesson that could be learned from Barbados is “celebration of life.” The university president pointed out that while the key to the island’s stability has been an educated populace with a strong black middle class and representative government, Barbadians have inherited the centuries-old African love of music and dance. “Add that the first rum was supposedly distilled in Barbados in the 17th century and it’s easy to understand the popular belief that, on the island, life is always a party. Perhaps by coincidence, together with Japan it has the world’s highest per capita occurrence of centenarians. But there is also drive, strength and hope, summarised by the almost tri-century Lodge School motto: ‘Possunt Quia Posse Videntur: They can because they think they can.’” Adopted from the Daily Herald Article compliments Invest Barbados
International Business Week Conference 2017 – Early Bird Registration Now Open!
Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate Schedule Speakers Exhibitors Join the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Invest Barbados and other strategic partners for the ninth International Business Week Conference. This two-day conference is the flagship event of the International Business Week of activities and features both local and international experts who will give insight into some of the trends, developments, and issues impacting the international business and financial services sector. Topics for this year’s conference include: Artificial Intelligence: Is it Bad for Business? The Future of Work: Technology and Humanity Developed Market Debt is Rising — What are the Global Implications? Successful Economic Adjustment in Small Economies: Four Recent Examples Presenters include: Mr. Sanjay Joshi | Head of Fixed Income, London & Capital, U.K. Mr. Carlton Cummins | Co-Founder, Aceleron Ltd, U.K. Mr. Niel Harper | Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders Programmes, Internet Society, USA Dr. DeLisle Worrell │Economic and Financial Consultant, Barbados Early Bird Tickets: $375.00 US | $750.00 BDS Early Bird Registration and Payment deadline: 29 September 2017 Regular Tickets: $450.00 US | $900.00 BDS Don’t forget: To take advantage of the Early Bird Registration rates, payment must be received on or before 29 September 2017. All payments are required in advance of the conference. Register now!! Please make cheques or drafts payable to: Barbados International Business Association. Registration closes 13 October 2017
Call made for fair treatment
THE international business sector is contributing as much as $1 billion to the local economy, but only some $8 million is allotted annually to promoting that sector. This says Marlon Waldron, President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), is something that needs to be addressed. He made the comments while delivering welcome remarks at a seminar hosted by BIBA yesterday at the Savannah Hotel, under the theme “What Businesses Need to Know about BEPS and DTAS”, as he lamented that tourism promotion is allocated over $100 million a year. “We are asking the powers that be, now that the country is aware of the impact of international business to our economy, to reconsider this disparity so that international business can reach its full potential and make the contribution we know that it can to the revenue and foreign reserves of Barbados,” Waldron added. He noted that much of the blame regarding the country’s current economic reality has been placed at the feet of the international business sector. Waldron lamented that Government officials have, in referring to the shortfall of revenues of some $1.4 billion and lower corporation taxes collected by the Government, placed the shortfall at the doorstep of the International Business and Financial Services sector. “One may see this as blaming of the International Business sector for the current unfortunate state in which our country has found itself as grossly unfair, especially when in good times it is not this sector that is given the credit for the country’s sound, healthy state in terms of its foreign reserves and fiscal position. In better times that credit is given wholly to a sector which, up to now, the nation has been encouraged to think of as our most important one. I believe we should find this very interesting. I take it in a very positive light; I see it as being at last a recognition of the immense importance of international business to Barbados and the valuable contribution it has been making over the years,” he said. Nevertheless, Waldron admitted that the sector has had challenges, and will likely always experience challenges given the nature of the sector. But he maintained that its survival will depend on how we adapt and equip the domicile to take full advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in spite of the challenges. He made the point as he argued that Government missed such an opportunity when Canada made changes to its laws, allowing exempt surplus treatment for profits flowing from countries that agreed to tax information exchange agreements with it. “Some companies left Barbados and re-domiciled in zero tax jurisdictions. As a result of the relocation of four of those companies, Barbados lost about US$60 million in corporate taxes. One of the four companies which re-domiciled actually engaged the Government, requesting a solution. Needless to say, it was never given in a timely manner and that company left Barbados,” he said. Waldron maintained that was the time that Barbados should have intensified its efforts in the market place. He further contended that there should have been an increase in the financial and other resources allocated to the development of the sector. Article compliments The Barbados Advocate – September 2, 2017 (Page 1&2)
Inniss: Barbados is a domicile of substance
There is more to Barbados as an international business jurisdiction than a low tax rate. That’s the message Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, says is imperative that Barbados broadcast aloud and abroad for all to hear. He made this clear as he suggested that the low tax rate marketing strategy could actually be doing the country more harm than good. The International Business Minister made the point as he gave the feature address at a seminar hosted by the Barbados International Business Association at the Savannah Hotel on ‘What Businesses Need to Know about Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs)’. “The OECD [Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development], the Forum is looking to see are we just attracting businesses because of the lower tax rate. And let me say that part of the deliberation today must be an indication to you as to what it is that we are proposing to do to address the issue. But we also want to hear from you as what you think we ought to be doing,” he said. Inniss added, “I have been contending for years that our marketing efforts as a jurisdiction should not continue to be centred around the lower tax rate. We may very well be shooting ourselves in the foot and doing harm to us as a domicile if our marketing effort is focused almost exclusively on coming to Barbados because we offer a very low tax rate. Barbados offers much more than that tax rate.” As such, the minister, contending that a new marketing strategy is critical, also took issue with the fact that the agency tasked with marketing the International Business sector is not part of the Ministry of International Business. Inniss said this has been a major concern for him for many years and he is adamant that the matter needs to be addressed, as there is the risk of losing the connection, directive and policy perspective that is required to advance the sector. “Our marketing strategies must be relooked to ensure that we are saying the right things, to the right people, in the right markets. I don’t think we are there yet… So even as we go forth, we can’t keep saying, ‘Come to Barbados because we have a low tax.’ We want to say, ‘Come to Barbados because we offer substance to your business,’” he said. Turning his attention to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development’s BEPS initiative, Minister Inniss said efforts by countries to exploit gaps and avoid taxation have been going on for many years and has been driven by countries feeling that they are losing out on significant revenue that is needed to keep their economies going. With that in mind, he said the BEPS initiative offers an advantage to Barbados, as we can promote Barbados as a “domicile of substance”. “We have competent professionals here to run your businesses; we have office space you can operate from; we have flights in and out of Barbados; we have a banking system that works… So one of the solutions we will have to wrap our minds around quickly is our definition of substance, and it may mean that some of the companies that are not looking to offer substance may have to find another domicile to go to. Because it is better for you to have 100 companies offering a great substance in our domicile, than a thousand that are really are not doing anything of significance,” he maintained. Article compliments The Barbados Advocate – Saturday, September 2, 2017 (Page 2)
International Business Division Revamp
New Director of International Business Kevin Hunte, has been tasked with implementing innovative strategies to redirect the department, making it more inclusive and dynamic. Minister of Commerce, Industry and Small Business Development, Donvillle Inniss, issued this challenge, last Friday, as he introduced the new head during the Institute of Chartered Accountants International Business Workshop at Hilton Barbados. The Minister said one area which must be addressed by the new director was that of establishing an online presence for the International Business Division. “We must become paperless and provide services online and in real time. I am truly embarrassed to think that we are even discussing this in 2017. But it is a culture in our public service to be slow to change and to resist change a bit too much.” Mr. Inniss lauded the work of the accounting body and pointed out that as a critical partner, the Ministry understood the challenges, the opportunities, the importance of shaping new policies and products and the need for continuous assessment of the sector. Article compliments BGIS.
Int’l Business Sector Review Ongoing
A full review of the International Business Sector has already commenced with a view to making changes to the legislation that governs the island’s international business and financial services sector. This disclosure came from Minister of Industry, International Business and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) International Business Workshop at Hilton Barbados recently. He told his audience that “we have to be far more proactive and realise that there are some inherent dangers to the present suite of legislation which must be amended”. Mr. Inniss said: “Our design is to have a product mix that fits into global standards, ensuring greater substance in our jurisdiction and better positions Barbados to be a more significant domicile for international business…” The Minister of Industry also hinted at changes to the existing tax rates as work moves ahead on the new regime for international business and financial services. He made a case for greater exploitation of the island’s foreign exchange earning potential and engagement on matters regarding risk and compliance and the best practices that can “be deployed in our jurisdiction”. “So, members of ICAB, we are now poised to restructure, re-engage and redirect Barbados’ international business and financial services sector to make an even greater contribution to our economy. Part of that restructuring must include methodologies that would allow us to better measure the contribution of the international business and financial services sector to the economy,” Mr. Inniss underlined. The Minister noted that a team comprising primarily public officers and the Barbados International Business Association had been assembled to “look at devising such mechanisms, that would allow us to better define the international business and financial services sectors, capture the data on the sectors and to be able to report in a timely fashion [for] making informed decisions about the sector”. Article compliments BGIS
BIDC Lauded For Export Efforts
Efforts by officials of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) to help businesses get export ready have not gone unnoticed by this country’s Minister of Industry, International Business and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss. The Minister lauded the tremendous work done by the Corporation Tuesday while, addressing an Export Readiness graduation ceremony in the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, St. Michael. He said when the Export Readiness project started in 2011, there was some bewilderment as to what the programme would achieve. However, he pointed out, that there were many elements involved along the way before companies were export ready. Mr. Inniss contended that before a company could become export ready, they must be able to operate in their own comfort zones “at a level that was second to none” adding that too often, some people in this society settled for mediocrity. “But I keep saying that if you really want your business to grow and to really get involved in export, you have to do it well at the micro level. So, any export thrust or development of enterprises to get more into the regional and international markets, means that all aspects of your domestic market must be done and done well. So, we cannot compromise on matters such as human resources, ensuring that you have fit for purpose and have the right employees [assigned to the right areas].” He continued: “It means that you have to make the best use of all the technology available in developing our processes. It also means that all the business operational aspects must also be streamlined to be as efficient and effective as possible within your own limitations. Additionally, your record keeping must be second to none because nobody is going to take you seriously if you don’t know what it cost to produce the good or the service you are seeking to offer domestically and regionally.” Mr. Inniss also advised entrepreneurs to observe strict financial management practices and to be compliant with paying their taxes. Certificates were presented to representatives from 17 companies who successfully completed the 16-week Export Readiness programme. Article compliments BGIS.
Improving Competitiveness Is Key
The government remains committed to improving the competitiveness of Barbados over the short, medium and long-term. This assurance came today from Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, as he delivered remarks at the closing workshop for the Barbados Competitiveness Programme, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Mr. Sinckler contended that attaining competitiveness was not a one-off achievement but a continuous and dynamic process that had to be coordinated and managed. He pointed out that achieving competitiveness was not just about a set of institutional arrangements or processes, but encompassed attitude. “If the attitude of the persons who are charged with the responsibility of managing these institutions and processes determine in their minds that they are going to facilitate and provide the leadership necessary to achieve competitiveness, it will be achieved. “The converse occurs if persons do not believe they can provide leadership…to achieve competitiveness, no institutional framework, institutional process or competitiveness programme will help us to achieve that. It is up to us Barbadians to determine that we want to be better at what we do, know that we have the talent and go ahead and achieve the results,” he stressed. Mr. Sinckler stated that Barbados’ levels of efficiency, policy framing and implementation and overall productivity were now key variables in determining “if we attract, who we attract, and in what areas we attract desirable investments”. He expressed the view that there was justification in the concerns about Barbados’ global competitiveness ranking which slipped to 72 out of 138 economies surveyed in 2016-2017. He added that in the Doing Business 2017 Report, Barbados was ranked 117th out of 190 countries overall in 2016. According to him, officials here have identified some flaws in reporting in those two reports. “We cannot challenge the fact that as a country heavily dependent on international trade…for domestic consumption and production, we must commit to simplifying and streamlining existing regulations, behaviours and practices that impact business and trade facilitation,” the Minister stated. The Barbados Competitiveness Programme started in 2010 and the US$11.8 million project was funded by Government and the Inter-American Development Bank. It was designed to address key bottlenecks being experienced in relation to the efficient movement of goods in and out of Barbados, private investment, productivity and the general business climate. The project was also expected to enhance Government’s tax and incentives policy mechanisms while seeking to initiate a process to formally institutionalise matters related to competitiveness. Article compliments BGIS.
Barbados: Tax experts say tourism will pay if de-risking is ignored
The Freundel Stuart administration is being warned not to ignore the vexing issue of de-risking even as it struggles to address the country’s worsening economic conditions, reports Barbados Today. The warning which came from overseas tax compliance experts, cautioned that if the issues relating to de-risking were put on the back-burner, the country’s bread and butter tourism industry, as well as other sectors, could pay dearly. De-risking is the term used for the termination or restriction of business relations, or the severing of correspondent banking relations to avert risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Up to June of this year the Central Bank of Barbados had given the assurance that the concerns regarding de-risking were being addressed at the highest level among regional states and the international community. Economist Jeremy Stephen said over the past few months it seemed Barbados had become relaxed in tackling the threats and issues relating to de-risking and the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), in order to focus more on issues relating to public financing. “I think that we took our eyes off the ball with respect to de-risking. It is as if it is not even a big threat anymore and people have just put it in the back and we are focusing on the fiscal issue that Government has,” Stephen said. Speaking to the media today, ahead of a seminar to be held here next week on matters relating to FATCA, Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and de-risking, President and Chief Executive Officer of Foodman CPAs & Advisors Stanley Foodman said if Barbados failed to save its institutions from de-risking sectors of the economy could be “severely impacted”. “It is an issue that can permeate and affect every sector of the Barbados economy and I think it is important to keep that in mind that it is probably the most unforeseen dangerous financial issue that has crept up behind FATCA,” Foodman said. “With respect to de-risking the impact on the local economy is for example, if you are not self sufficient with food supply you might have trouble bringing in food supplies. If you import your medicines and medical supplies that can be impacted and tourism in and of itself,” he said. The compliance and risk management specialist explained that jurisdictions that have already lost their entire correspondent banking relations were now reeling from the effects. “De-risking is negatively affecting the Caribbean in a way that we haven’t seen since the ramification of the Caribbean Basin Initiative. It has become a terrible problem for economies in the Caribbean. It has caused loss of jobs, it has caused a loss of food supply in some places and of course it is affecting the tourism industry. “If for example, I were to go to Barbados and I wanted to use a credit card in Barbados and the banking system in Barbados was de-risked then I couldn’t use my credit card in Barbados, which is a throwback to the days when I would have to travel with travellers cheques and cash, which also creates the spectra of potential increases in street crimes and other issues affecting the local economy and the local cultures and countries,” he added. Foodman said if institutions were de-risked, a part of the solution was to find “second tier banks” to provide the necessary correspondent banking services. “The solution is a bifurcated solution that comes together. The first is to make sure that Barbados is completely FATCA compliant from top to bottom. That is an absolute. Also to make sure that Barbados is CRS compliant,” he said. FATCA, passed by the US Congress in 2010, requires foreign financial institutions to report to the US tax office, the Inland Revenue Service, information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. President of the anti-money laundering consultancy firm ComplianceAid Michelle Martin said even if local banking institutions were de-risked the country should still ensure it was up to date on a number of tax compliance matters. “If entities de-risk then they are looking for the second tier and to even go back to the first tier they have to have the house in order. If the house is not in order they are not going to be looked at. Obviously, you are going to need a strong AML (anti-money laundering) programme in place where your policies and procedures are not just written but they are tailored to your industry and then to your specific institution,” Martin said. She also warned of the need to have a qualified and capable compliance officer in place, and that requirements under the local tax compliance law were followed, including annual training, audit, risk assessment and controls. Article compliments Barbados Today.
Chile’s President To Visit Barbados
President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, will pay an official visit to Barbados on Thursday, August 24. During her brief stay, President Bachelet will meet with Acting Governor-General, Sir Philip Greaves, in a courtesy call at Government House. Later that day, she will join Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and several senior Government officials at Ilaro Court for a working meeting. In addition, the Chilean President will visit the headquarters of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Lower Estate, St. George, and will also attend a special luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister. President Bachelet will depart Barbados later that afternoon. Article compliments BGIS.
NEW DATE: BIBA Seminar – What Businesses Need to Know about BEPS and DTAs
Please be advised that due to the Tropical Storm Harvey the BIBA Seminar: What Our Businesses Need To Know About BEPS and DTAs which was scheduled to take place on Friday, August 18th, 2017 has been rescheduled to Friday, September 1st, 2017 at the Savannah Beach Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church. BIBA apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused. NB: Registrations and payments already submitted will be honoured for the new date.
Agreement Signed With C’bean Export
Barbados has signed on to a Host Country Agreement with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) to receive support for private sector development. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, and Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, recently signed the agreement in the Ministry’s conference room, Culloden Road. Senator McClean stated that she was very pleased that after 20 years, both parties had finally signed an official agreement “formally documenting the facilitation efforts”. “I am happy to say that the Government of Barbados was able to offer to the agency the high level of support that we have deemed appropriate for our regional and international partners. “Caribbean Export was established in November 1996 and since then, it has been, and still is, the only regional trade and investment promotion agency in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, and that is an important indicator of its significance and value,” she shared. The Minister noted that there was a long partnership between the agency, the country and the region, and it was a “shining example” of the CARICOM, CARIFORUM and the European Union partnership. Mrs. Coke-Hamilton said that her agency was pleased to formalise its position, and looked forward to continuing to support the Government of Barbados and its private sector. She said that to date, Caribbean Export has assisted over 500 beneficiaries from Barbados with work programme-based initiatives, and subsequently, has spent over $1.8 million supporting private sector development on the island. “As we ramp up the 11th EDF work programme, we hope to continue our support to Barbadian companies. We have already supported a number of Barbadian companies to get grants via the LINK-Caribbean Angel investment programme, and I would encourage any early-stage company that is in need of financial support to explore this programme,” she advised. The Executive Director thanked Senator McClean for her continued support over the years and expressed the hope that Barbados would continue to move in a direction that “promotes a strong and vibrant private sector”. Article compliments BGIS.
Hunte New Director Of Int’l Business
Attorney-at-Law and former Deputy Registrar with responsibility for the Copyright Division at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO), Kevin Hunte, has been appointed to the post of Director of International Business. Mr. Hunte, who takes up the position from tomorrow, Tuesday, August 15, was previously in private practice for ten years with an emphasis on Conveyancing, Estates and Personal Injuries. He later joined the team at CAIPO in 2009. He was intimately involved in the structuring of the online filing system at CAIPO, particularly from an administrative and legislative point of view. Additionally, together with staff, he worked assiduously to improve the level of customer service and business facilitation at the Companies Division. In May 2016, Mr. Hunte assumed the role of Deputy Registrar (ag.) at the Supreme Court Registry of Barbados. He was assigned responsibility for the Court of Appeal and Caribbean Court of Justice Registries. While there, he played a vital role in vision-casting, administrative stream-lining, rectification of procedural policy and development of staff morale. Article compliments BGIS.
Understanding the Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF)
Acting Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Michelle Doyle-Lowe recently sat down with Public Affairs Officer, Novaline Brewster to discuss the new Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF) and how it will be implemented: Click here to view the video (Link to Central Bank).
Switzerland Interested In Closer Ties
Ambassador of Switzerland to Barbados, Mr. Didier Chassot has presented his credentials to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean. According to the Ambassador, Switzerland was committed to strengthening its relationships in the region and its plans for Barbados included collaborating on matters related to tourism and cultural affairs. He also expressed a desire to offer assistance in the implementation of relevant monitoring systems that would ensure the protection and preservation of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Senator McClean agreed and added that Barbados was also interested in deepening bilateral relations in the area of tourism, as well as education and training opportunities for students and teachers. She said that the Government of Barbados was also desirous of negotiating a new Double Taxation Agreement with Switzerland, given the outdated status of the current one which was signed between the United Kingdom and Switzerland in 1954. Barbados and the Swiss Confederation established formal diplomatic ties on March 4, 1980. Article compliments BGIS
FSC Appoints New CEO
FSC’s newly appointed CEO, Kester Guy (second from left) is being congratulated by chairman, Sir Frank Alleyne. Looking on are fellow Board commissioners Lawson Yearwood (third from left) and Basil Murray. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has a new chief executive officer. Kester Guy, who was acting in the post since January this year, has been given a clear mandate by the FSC Board of Commissioners to head the local regulatory body. Chairman of FSC, Sir Frank Alleyne, made the official announcement to staff on Tuesday morning indicating that Guy had been fully endorsed by the commissioners as “the right person to take FSC forward”. Sir Frank explained to the over 50 staff members gathered to welcome their new CEO, that the process of selection was very extensive. “We hold the view that the most important decision the Board will make in relation to staff is the choice of CEO. We used the most modern methods available to us and after careful scrutiny, made a recommendation that has now been confirmed by Cabinet,” said Sir Frank. Guy, who moves from his substantive post of deputy CEO, Supervision & Regulation, is the second Board-appointed CEO at FSC. He is a career regulator and economist with an extensive background in research and quantitative analysis. His most recent post before joining FSC was that of assistant director at the Central Bank of Barbados. He has also held the post of CEO of Barbados Deposit Insurance Cooperation, senior economist at the Central Bank of Barbados and economist at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Article compliments the Financial Services Commission,
BARBADOS’ BILATERAL TREATY NETWORK AS AT JULY 17th, 2017
Please see following updated version of Barbados’ Bilateral Treaty Network as at July 17th, 2017 with the most recent update highlighted. Barbados’ Bilateral Treaty Network 17-07-2017