CaribWorldNews, KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Mon. Sept. 14, 2009: St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been ramping up its efforts to make the jurisdiction more compliant with internationally agreed standards of financial accountability and transparency.
The disclosure was made recently at the Fifth Global Forum on Transparency and Information Exchange in Mexico earlier this month. It came months after St. Vincent and the Grenadines was reported as a jurisdiction that had `committed to the internationally agreed tax standard of the OECD` but was grey-listed nevertheless, since it had not yet substantially implemented the commitments.
With the exception of Barbados, a large number of Caribbean countries were so described including the countries of the Eastern Caribbean.
In commenting on the importance of St. Vincent and the Grenadines` participation in the Global Forum, Sharda Sinanan-Bollers, executive director of the island`s International Financial Services Authority, said that in order to demonstrate its commitment to greater transparency and accountability, SVG is presently involved in negotiating appropriate tax agreements with several countries.
Sinanan-Bollers further stated that experience has shown that the stigma of negative labeling, such as transpired in the early 2000s due to the FATF black listing, is difficult to eradicate and has far reaching reputational damage for the country, but SVG is working towards the avoidance of any such negative labels.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines also recently signed three Tax Exchange Information Agreements at the Global Forum with The Netherlands, Aruba and Denmark. The agreements were signed by Ambassador Prince on behalf of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
St. Vincent was represented at the forum, by its Ambassador to the United States, La Celia Prince.
The forum, attended by representatives of more than 80 jurisdictions – both OECD and non-OECD countries – was designed to provide a platform for countries to discuss and agree modalities for enhancing transparency and the exchange of information in the area of tax evasion.
This year`s forum was seen as even more relevant and timely, given the recent thrust by the international community to foster better cooperation in the face of the recent global financial crises.