|Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson|
Barbados has made much headway in legislative reform aimed at enhancing the country’s overall supervision and regulatory competencies, and to facilitate the exchange of information.
Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, said one of the main reforms was the establishment of the Financial Services Commission in April 2011.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the International Tax and Trust Congress at Hilton Barbados today, Mr. Hutson said the Commission served to enhance the supervision and regulatory framework of non-banking entities such as insurance companies, investment bodies and co-operatives.
He added that government also brought to Parliament and passed the Financial Services Commission Act 2010; the International Corporate and Trust Services Providers Act 2011; the Tax Exchange of Information Regulations Act 2011; the Companies Amendment Act; and the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) Act 2011.
"The legislative framework we have created and continue to build is a means to an end, and cannot be seen or assessed in isolation, but must be paired with other innovative strategies," the Minister said.
He noted that government also endeavoured to support its legislative framework by an ever expanding tax and investment treaty network. He explained this was instrumental in securing long lasting relations between countries, and providing exceptional opportunities for companies and individuals seeking a comparative advantage in the global market place.??
"As a government, we are well aware of our dual role as a facilitator; that is, to create an enabling environment which will allow international businesses to thrive, while we [government] undertake the responsibility of being the industry regulator," he said.
Mr. Hutson also pointed out that in an effort to attract diverse and long term investment, Barbados was also in the process of enacting legislation to bring into effect the formation of private trust companies and private foundations.
The Minister told delegates that Barbados stood out from other jurisdictions because of the unique nature of its Double Taxation Treaty network, which was supported by incentive legislation.
"We need to consolidate our efforts in enacting more relevant legislation in a timely manner. These instruments not only allow us to meet the international standard for regulative purposes, but render us the opportunity to invent new and dynamic products for the market place," the Minister said.
However, he stressed that it was important for Barbados to maintain its standard of being a well-managed, well-regulated jurisdiction, that is opposed to foreign direct investments from ill-gotten gains.
Mr. Hutson gave the assurance that Barbados remained committed to the implementation of an internationally acceptable global standard which was evident through its actions at the Global Forum.
But, he stressed, the standard must be applied in a non-discriminatory way, creating a level playing field for all.
He revealed that Barbados addressed recommendations made by the Global Forum Peer Review Group, and submitted its Supplementary Report at the recently concluded meeting in Brazil.
The Minister said Barbados was expecting a positive outcome, and to move onto phase two of the assessment, which involved an evaluation of the effective implementation of exchange of information in practice.