(CMC) – The Dominica government Monday blasted the international community over its unilateral demands for tightening measures within the international financial services sector and again called for a united Caribbean Community (CARICOM) approach to the situation.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking in parliament on the amendments to various pieces of legislation, including the Offshore Banking Amendment Act 2019, as called for by the European Union, said that there was also need for total national unity in dealing with the matter.
Skerrit said that the Europeans and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), among other institutions, “have extended these impositions on all countries in the world” to the point that many parliaments in the Caribbean are now rushing to meet the end-of-month deadline or face being blacklisted.
He said even as the countries are giving assurances that they intend to meet the new measures, the goal posts are being changed even when original targets are being met.
“I have always held and I have made public pronouncements on this, I believe that these international organisations are imposing their way on people even to the point …that it impinges on our constitutions in our region.
“We in the Caribbean must not see this as a partisan issue. This is not a partisan issue. This is about pour countries and imposition placed on every Caribbean country,” Skerrit said, noting that some regional governments have had to go to their parliaments in emergency sessions to ensure passage of the measures to meet with the EU and OECD requirements.
“Because there is a deadline by the end of this month, cause us to be compliant to the impositions,” he said, noting that he has made his positions known to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank “that what this world is imposing on poor small jurisdictions like ours it will have a serious repercussion on our abilities to create better opportunities for our people”.
Skerrit described the new measures “as an external shock” that will down the road have an impact on employment, for our people.
“It will have an impact on our ability to attract investments. What do you expect tomorrow,” he said, reminding legislators that he had forewarned about the international community shifting the goalposts even as the Caribbean countries struggle to meet with their requirements.
“I said expect many more and I give the country the assurance that there will be many more amendments to our legislation. We are small, we are spats among whales in the ocean,” Skerrit said, urging all legislators to unite in dealing with the matter before them.
Skerrit said he remains at a loss as to how “these developed countries can believe a small country like ours with 72,000 people could hurt them”.
“I am sometime flabbergasted by this thinking and everything we think to do here according to best international practices, in accordance with international law, somebody external to us has an issue with it and find a way of imposing their will on us.”
Skerrit said that while he has an “ideological objection to this thing” he cannot allow his personal position to harm the entire country.
“I am not in a position to impose my ideological, philological thinking on the country because the failure of the parliament to bring this amendments…could have serious repercussions for the way we do business…and for our village to be part of the international monetary systems.”
Skerrit brushed aside remarks that the new EU measures were aimed at countries with the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CBI), under which citizenship is granted to foreign investors who make a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of these islands.
He reminded legislators that several Caribbean countries are also included in the new EU measures even though these countries do not possess any form of CBI programme.
“This is not about CBI because Barbados does not have CBI, St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not have CBI, Jamaica does not have CBI, and all of them, all of us, must comply us,” he said.