The Trinidad and Tobago government says it is moving to have the oil-rich twin island republic removed from a global tax haven list issued by the European Union last week, after indicating the information contained in the document was wrong.
Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia and Barbados are the four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries named by the EU among 13 other countries worldwide.
Trying to get off the list
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley told the TT Parliament that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is undertaking efforts to get the country off the list. He blamed the last People’s Partnership administration for the current situation. “This is the outcome of inactivity by the (then) government in Trinidad and Tobago, but let me just say also that these (EU) are all members of Global Forum. We in Trinidad and Tobago currently do not report to Global Forum.
“For clarity, Trinidad and Tobago chose in 2011 to subject itself to Global Forum oversight. In 2014 we reinforced that position but did nothing to execute that commitment,” Rowley told legislators.
Ten months of investigation
EU finance ministers who met in Brussels on Tuesday said the new list was drawn up after 10 months of investigations by EU officials. The finance ministers also named American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates as tax havens.
The ministers said the countries on the blacklist were not doing enough to crack down on offshore avoidance schemes. Potential sanctions that could be enforced on members of the list are expected to be agreed in the coming weeks.
The EU said that the new list was compiled through a three-step process including the pre-selection of 216 countries worldwide using more than 1600 indicators and all jurisdictions chosen for screening were formally contacted, to explain the process and invited to engage with the EU.