Leader of the Opposition Hon Philip J. Pierre issues statement on the blacklisting of Saint Lucia

By SLP

(PRESS RELEASE) – You may recall that when I first disclosed in Parliament that Saint Lucia was black-listed by the European Union as a non-cooperative jurisdiction for tax purposes the government’s response was ignorance of the fact and then to make excuses and attack the opposition.

My response was Saint Lucia was blacklisted because of the negligence of the Chastanet Government. The Government had failed to give the necessary commitment to the EU that they would take corrective measures before December 2018 so as to cause Saint Lucia to be taken off the blacklist. Saint Lucia was not the only island on the blacklist, Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago were also included.

The Prime Minister and the Minister in the Ministry of Finance assured the country that Saint Lucia would take all the necessary steps to ensure that we would not remain on the blacklist. The Prime Minister claimed that he was unaware as to why Saint Lucia was included on the blacklist even if it was clearly stated that the island’s Based Erosion and Profit Strategy (BEPS) was the reason why we were blacklisted.

Last week news surfaced from Brussels that two islands Barbados and Grenada that were originally blacklisted with Saint Lucia would be removed but Saint Lucia would remain.

I immediately alerted the country and restated my original assertion that the Government had failed to take the necessary steps and continued its negligence in this very serious matter.

The government responded through its Director of Communications and said that discussions were being held with the EU and the matter contrary to opposition claims was a high priority for the Government.

On 12th January, 2018 a communique from the EU stated “since December 2017 several new commitment letters signed at a high political level by jurisdictions ……were received by the Code of Conduct Group. These letters were assessed and delegations agreed, through silence procedure that based on the specific commitments made through these letters the following jurisdictions should be removed from Annex I to Annex II of the Council’s conclusion.”
These jurisdictions included Barbados and Grenada meaning that they were removed from the blacklist but Saint Lucia remained because Saint Lucia did not show commitment at a high political level.

The question is why did the government of Saint Lucia not take the necessary steps like Barbados and Grenada to ensure that Saint Lucia’s reputation is protected? The answer is simple the government does not have its priorities right and engages in pettiness and vindictiveness while the important matters that would improve the economy and image of Saint Lucia are neglected.

Grandstanding, towards the United States and the EU threats, vindictiveness and intimidation by the government and its surrogates will not hide the negligence and incompetence of the Government. The reality of the blacklisting of Saint Lucia and the implications of the Leahy law will not disappear with idle talk or propaganda.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party pledges when in government to continue to take the matter of Saint Lucia’s reputation and financial integrity seriously and will take all necessary steps to ensure that the necessary attention is paid to these serious matters.

In the meantime, the Saint Lucia Labour Party is calling on the Government, once again, to take the necessary steps to ensure that Saint Lucia is removed from the European Union blacklist and financial integrity is returned to our jurisdiction.

(9)(17)
This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

14 comments

  1. It patently clear, that up to this very minute, the SLP never ever had within its ranks, any one of note who obviously understood economics. Beyond this, that group of talkers and slackers never had a growth policy for the country. Every good thing that happened to Saint Lucia under SLP was pure accident. Aimless and clueless the SLP drowned the country in debt, and burdened it with the foolishness of party hack accommodation with its poster child of the economic idiocy, called STEP.

    (0)(0)
  2. These guys act like these policies were put in place over night and not over years, since the last recession people are trying harder to hide their money all over the place. Everything is going to become a problem for the opposition. They want the current administration to implement everything overnight after increasing the countries debt, where we getting the money ? They kept spending on stupid things while the world was going through a major recession. Dont believe me, go to the IMF site check out the reports on stlucia, its all there. Compare the increase of debt to gdp during the SLP and UWP reign and tell me who caused it.

    Did they consult the people when selling us out to grynberg, did they consult us when appointing jufali ?

    (16)(6)
  3. Phillip J. Pierre stop talking papishow!

    The first time when Caribbean islands were being blacklisted by the EU in 2015, what was your government's response?

    FATCA, which had been in the air since 2012, your government did nothing to comply with it. It's only when the present administration came into power did they put the necessary legislation in place to comply with FATCA. Had they not rushed to do this job which your government neglected, Lucians would be paying a 30% tax on every dollar they send through the USA. SO don't come here playing like you are some paragon of tax compliance because you are not.

    In 2012, when the OECD stated their intention to implement the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) by 2018, Countries around the globe started to scramble to put the necessary changes to comply with the Standards. In an effort to push countries to expedite the process the EU, in 2015, made the first Blacklist, which later got trashed when the OECD itself denounced the blacklisting. By 2016, most Caribbean countries had done nothing to begin compliance and the OECD started to get irritated so they begun to threaten Caribbean countries with the blacklist.

    After the threats were made, numerous countries became "early adopters", implementing CRS by 2017. The SLP Government had done NOTHING. Mid-last year, Chastenet began signing Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) agreements with the OECD in preparation for CRS. So by all accounts Phillip his administration did in 2 years way more than yours did in 5.

    Now you may ask: why did we still get blacklisted if Chastenet had begun the process? That is because the fight against international tax evasion (championed by the US/OECD) comes on two fronts:

    1. Exchange of information: FATCA requires of banks to effectively declare the origin of every account holder to the government. The government will then tax this individual at the tax rate of his country of origin. This basically means, if American works here, they will get taxed by the US as these taxes belong to the US (by international law). Ironically this gesture is not reciprocated to the Caribbean by the US, so its a one-sided deal.

    CRS, on the other hand, requires the exchange of information among all countries. While this may seem fairer, in many ways CRS is more stringent than FATCA, but that is a long discussion.

    2.Base erosion and profit sharing( BEPS): This basically means some countries create an "offshore sector" which the charge 0% corporate tax to these foreign entities. In most cases, these entities have no physical presence in the country and exist only on paper. The reason for the existence of these entities is to shift profits. For example, if Google wants to avoid paying taxes they made Australia, they shift the profits to St. Lucia. Australia would have charged then 25%, St. Lucia charges 0%. The monies are also hidden by a cloud of privacy laws which prevent law enforcers from finding out.
    While this mechanism was developed to be used as a vehicle for capital which would prevent double taxation, it has been exploited by the corrupt. Many, many many dictators, thieves, terrorists etc. hid money in the Caribbean and were protected by privacy laws while paying 0% tax.

    What does this have to do with St. Lucia and the Blacklisting? Basically, the EU is asking for "tax equality". They are basically asking Caribbean countries to implement one corporate tax rate across the board in their individual countries. For example, St Lucia charges the offshore sector 0%, which the local business get charged 20%. The EU is asking for one uniform rate across the board for both the Onshore and Offshore sectors. I'm sure you can riddle the consequences out for yourself (yes you lose either way).

    The SLP administration had ample time to ease the economy through this transition, they did nothing and have the gall to issue this hypocritical tripe. Shameful!

    -A die-hard Labourite (sorry for the typos, did this on a phone)

    (19)(2)
    • Pwet La, I do not need much space to tell you that you long sermon is a sorry excuse for what is happening today. All your cook up history does not negate the fact that late last year there was a blacklist which included many countries including some from the Caribbean. They did what was necessary and by January they were off the list. St. Lucia's PM Chastanet continues to talk but not act and this is why we are still blacklisted. If the government was serious we would have been off the list just as those who in quick time got off it.

      Pwet La, you see how easy it is to come straight to the point with the truth.

      (0)(0)
    • By the way Pwet La, concluding as " A die-hard Labourite" is cheap and tells us clearly where you stand and says further that you are a liar.
      Anyway, you typos are forgiven since the phone caused them. What is not accepted is the attempt at misleading caused by your brain.

      (0)(0)
    • Wish I could like this one thousand times. Very well compiled and informative....brings everything to light.

      (2)(0)
  4. New Testament Verse of the Day:

    "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

    –Matthew 26:11

    (2)(0)
  5. Take heed it all starts from the top is these same guys in high places that screw it up for the country then they claim to be our saviours!!

    (8)(0)
  6. Pep nor this nor that . He has again highlighted the consequences, of not promptly and aggressively attending to matters of national importance.

    (3)(4)
  7. Pip. Seriously?? You're just as bad as trump. Take responsibility for your part

    (11)(2)
  8. RAISE the Age of consent to 21 and legalize same-sex marriage if your island doesn't want to be invaded by the US Army..."I'M WARNING YOU"....I know Nikki Haley personally and she will encourage President Trump to invade your tiny homophobic island.

    (2)(7)
  9. Where is the IMPACS Report?

    (4)(2)
  10. PIP how else will you seek attention

    (10)(2)
  11. "Financial integrity" by the SLP? please explain Grynberg, Juffali etc

    (13)(5)
  12. Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.