Barbados PM Freundel Stuart on Wednesday, told a visiting delegation from the United States that his country is a clean, well regulated, low tax jurisdiction and not a tax haven.
Seeks US help to clear misconception
Stuart, who met with the delegation that included chief aides and policy advisors to Congressional members Elliot Engel, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Eddy Acevedo and Eric Jacobstein, said from time to time, Barbados has had to defend its reputation in that area and he called on the US to lend its voice in helping to clear up any misconceptions.
“Because companies pay low taxes here, they repatriate large profits to their jurisdictions and that money is invested there, so there is a win-win situation,” he told the delegation that also included the US Ambassador to Barbados, Linda Taglialatela.
All Caribbean countries are vulnerable
PM Freundel Stuart said another area of concern was Barbados being classified as a high middle-income country and therefore did not qualify for necessary concessional financing. He stressed, however, that all countries in the Caribbean were vulnerable as hurricanes are able to wipe out their gross domestic product (GDP) within a few hours.
He noted Barbados was leading the charge for a vulnerability index for small island developing states to deal with those issues and pointed out that New Zealand has joined the cause.
Praise for US Ambassador Taglialatela
Stuart thanked the US officials for their interest in Barbados, saying that Ambassador Taglialatela had been serving her country and the Caribbean very well. He noted that the relationship between Barbados and the US had deepened as a result of her being there.
“Barbados values very highly its relationship with the US. It is an old relationship that predates our Independence, but there is still scope to further deepen relations. The two countries understand that they need each other and that is why there is the US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act,” PM Freundel Stuart said.
During the visit Acevedo and Jacobstein met with key national and regional stakeholders to get a better sense of the impact of US support and assistance to the region.
Acevedo serves as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor and Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Jacobstein is a senior policy advisor on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs democratic staff, managing the Western Hemisphere portfolio for Ranking Member Eliot Engel and Committee Democrats.
Engel and Ros-Lehtinen have been advocating for adequate funding for Caribbean specific programs, including the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
For more on Barbados, visit the link: Barbados Tourism Industry Strengthens Presence