Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Letter of the Day: Demand more answers of Holness' offshore dealings

Published:Wednesday | April 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The 'Panama Papers' scandal, which highlighted financial arrangements by an array of politicians and other wealthy individuals using offshore companies as tax shelters, is bound to have some casualties, the first being Iceland's Prime Minister (PM) Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson who announced his resignation.

Leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm showed him and his wife owning an offshore company right here in the Caribbean, in the British Virgin Islands, with big claims on collapsed Icelandic banks.

We understand thousands of Icelanders protested outside Iceland's Parliament building in Reykjavik, demanding the PM resign over his and his wife's reported offshore financial dealings that many saw as a major conflict of interest with his job.

The impact of the leaks could have further repercussions, as politicians and other wealthy persons in Russia, Ukraine, China, Argentina and other countries are implicated and will, no doubt, face questions about dubious offshore schemes, often used by the rich and famous to avoid paying taxes and make more money.

Here in Jamaica, we objected to questions raised about then Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness' house and the offshore company in St Lucia used to purchase the massive property, the same company whose directors are named as his children, who are minors, and which obviously is being used as an offshore tax shelter.




To date, no one knows how this company operates and generates revenues. And how dare those who asked! I'm by no means implying any wrongdoing, but at the same time, Jamaicans need to wise up and start asking questions.

We must look, learn and listen from what is happening around us globally where we see how others demand answers and accountability from those elected to political office, with responsibility for large amounts of funds along with all sort of connections.

In this day and age, nothing can be taken for granted and we must satisfy ourselves as taxpayers that nothing inappropriate is being done.