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UWI criticises EU for blacklisting some CARICOM countries

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:05 PM
University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hillary Beckles. – File Photo

University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, has criticised the European Union (EU) for its decision to blacklist a number of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.

Sir Hillary says the decision by the EU to label some CARICOM countries as tax havens could have a deleterious effect on their economies.

He says this latest decision by the EU is based on new, unilaterally-determined and unclear criteria that differ significantly from the currently accepted international standards of tax transparency, anti-money laundering and accountability.

Earlier this month, EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels named St Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago among a list of 17 countries considered to be global tax havens.

They say the new list had been drawn up after 10 months of investigations by EU officials.

The EU politicians say the countries on the blacklist were not doing enough to crack down on offshore avoidance schemes.

Potential sanctions that could be enforced on the listed countries are expected to be decided in the coming weeks.

The EU says as a first step, a letter will be sent to all jurisdictions on the new list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be delisted.

The list has also been denounced by the CARICOM Secretariat.

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin la Rocque says the designation is unwarranted since its members have been diligently working to meet the internationally accepted criteria.

The UWI Vice-Chancellor says the unilateral EU blacklisting undermines the entire process of accountability and fairness established by the global community.

Sir Hillary says the regional university stands in unison with governments of the region in protesting the blacklisting.