CARICOM has voiced strong objection to the European Union’s (EU) recent labelling of some member states as being non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.
Caricom Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said, “This decision by the EU has been based on new and unilaterally-determined criteria that go beyond the generally accepted international tax transparency and accountability standards which our countries have been diligently meeting over the past several years.”
LaRocque was speaking last week while accrediting the new Ambassador of France to Caricom Antoine Joy, at the Caricom Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana. “Caricom strongly objects to this listing of our member states and calls on the EU to remove our member states from this pernicious list,” he said.
The Caribbean countries listed were Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and TT. LaRocque also said Caricom stood ready to discuss this matter with the European Council and urged France to leverage its influence with the EU to desist from “taking such arbitrary and punitive actions against” those Caricom states it had blacklisted.
These countries, he emphasised, have not been so labelled by the relevant regulatory authorities such as the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD Global Forum.
LaRocque reminded that a major consequence of blacklisting was the de-risking strategies which include the withdrawal of correspondent banking services by certain international banks and said the impact has had a “detrimental impact on the trade and financial operations” of the region’s economies.
“As ambassador to the community, your direct engagement in promoting awareness about the extent of our capabilities and the obstacles we face in our aspirations for economic development is of great significance,” LaRocque told the new French envoy.