International Business Minister, Donville Inniss, has made a plea for special attention to be paid to developing countries.
Speaking ahead of the plenary session of the Global Forum, scheduled for October 29 to 30 at the Hilton Barbados Resort, the Minister stated that mechanisms such as the Forum allowed Caribbean nations, and developing countries on the whole, to ???sit around the table, have an equal voice and locate where the goal posts will be???.
He made these comments last night at a reception hosted at his Husbands Heights, St. James, residence for members of the Steering Group of the Forum.
???Hitherto we are really the ones sitting back taking the dictates of others and not getting up and shaping the policies. This meeting (the Global Forum) in Barbados is very instructive; it is the second time they are doing this in the Caribbean, the last time was in Bermuda. And, I have always argued on behalf of Barbados and the region in our capacity as Vice-Chair of the Global Forum, that developing countries need to be given special attention,??? he emphasised.
Mr. Inniss further explained that due to macro-economic policies and challenges, developed countries sometimes sought to pursue high net worth individuals and corporations who they felt were evading the payment of taxes, or legitimately avoiding taxes owed to their jurisdiction. Due to this practice, he said, they tended to paint everyone with the same brush.
???They see jurisdictions like Barbados quite often as one that facilitates the avoidance of taxes that they should be collecting elsewhere. And, we continue to argue that we have a right as a sovereign state to determine our tax rate and our tax arrangements. We also have a right to see financial services and international business as part of our economic development programme,??? he maintained.
He further stated that many of the individuals and companies who came here to make investments on a global scale recognised that places like Barbados were not tax havens but ???a treaty-based jurisdiction with businesses of substance???.
Highlighting that the meeting this week is expected to achieve several objectives, the International Business Minister indicated that among the topics to be discussed were a heightened awareness of the importance of developing countries; a chance for such countries to set the agenda going forward; and an opportunity for them to have a say on international tax policy matters, including discipline for those territories that were not compliant.
???It is also an opportunity for us to wrap our minds around how developed and developing countries can work in a very collaborative way to ensure there is not only a greater understanding of what the other wants to achieve, but also the system and structures we need to put in place for us to safeguard ourselves,??? he underscored.