Martinique is now a member of the OECS

Martinique now a member of OECS | Caribbean360

The French overseas territory of Martinique has been given the green light to join the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Read more:



The non-performing loans ratio in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) stands at 18 percent, the highest in the entire Caribbean and well over the recommended 5 percent mark for the sub-region.





In a move to give financial institutions better access to information contained in financial transactions, the National Assembly has passed a more enabling legal framework, to allow for mandatory participation, with regards to the delivery of credit reporting services.

Read more:



Mr. Antoine, a Grenadian national, succeeds Sir K Dwight Venner who retired on 30 November, 2015.




BEWARE ANOTHER FATCA? Barbados is a signatory to the automatic exchange of information agreement under the Multilateral Competent Authority.

In speaking to the media International Business Minister Donville Inniss stated that “As we did with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to the United States of America, I would have signed a government agreement on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados but you still need a specific entity to be the Competent Authority”




Far from being the ‘notorious tax haven’ that had been suggested by international pressure groups, the BVI was listed as one of the best in the world, and was well regulated and run, with all activities well within the laws of the countries the islands work with



Automatic Exchange Of Information Expected To Begin As Early As 2017

Barbados would have recently adopted the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (also referred to as the Common Reporting Standard or CRS). This standard would require states to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange such information on an annual basis. This global model was backed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the G20 countries in close collaboration with the EU and the other stakeholders.





A request to the House of Assembly has already been made to amend the Income Tax Act to allow the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) to collect, store and share information from the appropriate taxpayers with competent authorities in other jurisdictions.


The Corporate And Trust Service Providers Act

The Corporate And Trust Service Providers Act seeks to regulate the providers of corporate and trust services, includes procedures to ensure due diligence requirements are complied with and enables the protection of the interests of specified entities.

Its administration is under the purview of the Director of International Business( the Director), who is empowered to monitor and examine the businesses of corporate and trust service providers, investigate complaints made against them and take appropriate action in respect of such complaints.


To obtain a licence, the service provider must upon an application to the Director, have the financial standing necessary to carry on the service, prove to be a fit and proper person to provide the service, have a representative who is resident in Barbados and pay the requisite fees.

In determining the suitability of the applicant to provide corporate and trust services, the Director is required to have regard to educational and professional qualifications, membership in any professional association or relevant body, the applicant’s knowledge of the legal and other professional responsibilities assumed, the procedures likely to be employed, potential risks to the interest of clients along with the conduct of the applicant in relation to financial or legal matters. Providing corporate and trust services without the prescribed licence is an offence, liable on summary conviction to huge fines including imprisonment.

Where the applicant is a firm, society or company, the Director needs to be further satisfied that the controlling partners, managers, members, directors and officers are fit and proper persons to hold their respective position.

Although the aforementioned factors are enumerated under the Act, the Director has the wide ambit to request any additional information to aid in his decision and can refuse to issue a licence in the public interest. Moreover, a licence can be issued subject to terms and conditions and once granted can be varied, amended, suspended or revoked by the Director.

Service providers will have continuing obligations. They must

  • Notify the Director of any fundamental changes to the business, legal or other proceedings against the service provider or its key staff;
  • Notify the Director providing a brief summary of any criminal proceedings instituted against a client or termination of a client relationship;
  • Ensure provisions such as an insurance policy exist to cover potential losses from business disruption;
  • Ensure agreements and procedures relating to
    • service fees;
    • identification and designation of client assets; and
    • avoidance and notification of conflicts of interest exist
  • Provide annual reports declaring gross revenue and assets and keep records establishing the financial position of the service provider and their compliance with money laundering legislation
  • Promptly and thoroughly record and investigate complaints noting the action taken in respect to those complaints.

By Arlene Ross

The deadline for registration under the Act is November 27th. Those seeking last minute pointers are well advised to attend 2-day conference “Thriving in a Complex Regulatory Environment” as Ms Ross is speaking on the morning of the 25th. ...


The new big brother – Caribbean Times News

By Brian M. Francis (Ph.D)

Adam Thierer, in an eye-opening piece written nearly five years ago, had carefully analysed the impact of “Regulatory Capture” in an article entitled “Regulatory Capture: What the Experts Have Found.”  The sentiments expressed in that article certainly do resonate with me even today.

In the said article, the author notes: ““Regulatory capture” occurs when special interests co-opt policymakers or political bodies—regulatory agencies, in particular—to further their own ends.  Capture theory is closely related to the “rent-seeking” and “political failure” theories developed by the public choice school of economics.  Another term for regulatory capture is “client politics,” which according to James Q. Wilson, “occurs when most or all of the benefits of a program go to some single, reasonably small interest (and industry, profession, or locality) but most or all of the costs will be borne by a large number of people…Because regulatory capture theory conflicts mightily with romanticized notions of “independent” regulatory agencies or “scientific” bureaucracy, it often evokes a visceral reaction and a fair bit of denialism…Yet, countless studies have shown that regulatory capture has been at work in various arenas: transportation and telecommunications; energy and environmental policy; farming and financial services; and many others.”

But why have I shown special interest in Thierer’s article?  The answer may very well surprise you.  The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has introduced a new Harmonised Credit Reporting Bill and Regulations which it is tabling in parliaments across the region and will initiate the regulatory and supervisory framework for the creation of a credit bureau within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

In most developed countries, credit reporting agencies or bureaus exist in order to share information on bad borrowers and that is all well and good provided that the framework within which these agencies function is properly conceptualised, implemented, and supervised.  A careful review of the proposed Act brings me to a simple conclusion: This ECCB proposed framework is going well beyond the normal standards associated with credit reporting. It’s now becoming the Big Brother. Here are some key highlights:

First, the Bill requires all financial institutions not only to report on bad paying clients (which is reasonable) but to also provide “positive information” which is defined as “any positive or negative information bearing on the data subject’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living including, but not limited to, the history or profile of the data subject with regard to credit, assets or financial obligations.”

Second, under this all-encompassing criteria, every piece of information whether it is relevant or not to establishing your credit worthiness must be reported to the new Big Brother.  As if not enough, the ECCB made it very clear in the draft that it will likely offer a license only to a single reporting agency which, ironically, can be owned by the banks. Without any regard to basic principles of “conflict of interest”, we are creating a monstrous Big Brother. All it would take is one data breach and you can guess the implication there.

Third, what does this mean for the common person? Simply put, your character and reputation will now be subjected to the interrogation of a loan officer, who is likely, as human nature dictates, to be influenced in his/her credit decision by totally irrelevant information.  The likely outcome is simple: at times of such great difficulty in accessing loans from banks, the new bureau will make it far easier for banks to decline more loans for no good reason. And the economic result?  Halting any hope of economic activity!

Fourth, the ECCB has stretched beyond the imagination every bit of rational thinking on this matter and is creating a Big Brother to monitor our “reputation” and “personal characteristics” and so even our “mode of living” will now become the banks’ business.  Shouldn’t the EECB be focusing more on working with banks to ease lending conditions at a time in our economic history when small businesses are suffocating, rather than making it more difficult for all and sundry to borrow?

While reflecting on this new Bill proposed by the ECCB and the unintended negative consequences for individual and corporate borrowers in the ECCU, Thierer’s article once again springs to mind.  Thierer alluded to a famous saying associated with distinguished economist, Ronald Coase, that: “the extent to which pressure is brought to bear on the [FCC] by politicians and businessmen, that this should be happening is hardly surprising…When rights, worth millions of dollars, are awarded to one businessman and denied to others, it is no wonder if some applicants become overanxious and attempt to use whatever influence they have (political and otherwise), particularly as they can never be sure what pressure the other applicants may be exerting.”

My question, therefore, to the ECCB in relation to this new Bill is: Are you acting independently or are you wielding to pressure?  If the answer to the latter is in the affirmative, may I respectfully ask: pressure from whom?

Like so many other critical things in the region, this new Bill suggests once again that it’s time for the public to raise their voices on important national issues. It is every person’s right to know what is being proposed and how the information gathered by banks will be used.  Furthermore, each government in the ECCU should engage in an open dialogue with the public prior to debating and proposing such far reaching legislation. The time is now!

(Dr. Francis is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, Barbados. You can email Dr. Francis at or call Telephone Work: (246) 417-4276/4279 Fax Work: (246) 438-9104.)


Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Agreement Signed

Barbados has signed an agreement with the United States to help improve international tax compliance and to implement (FATCA). The agreement was signed in Bridgetown last Monday and within this agreement both countries will collect bank account and other prescribed information on each other’s citizens and transmit it to the Revenue Authority of each country.  Prior to September 30th, 2015, Barbados will pass FATCA regulations and negotiate a Competent Authority Agreement between the Barbados Revenue Authority and the US Internal Revenue Service to operationalise FATCA.

Summary of Business Monday Article, January 19, page 3