BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is hitting out at the European Union (EU) for the latest round of blacklisting that sees Barbados and Anguilla being included, while Trinidad and Tobago remains on.
CARICOM said it “deplores the ongoing unilateral, arbitrary and non-transparent blacklisting strategy employed by the EU against CARICOM Member States”.
Under the latest round of listing, the territories are described as being lax in Anti-money laundering and no-cooperative jurisdiction to combat those problems.
In its statement, CARICOM said: “The most recent inclusion of CARICOM States to the blacklist of alleged non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and jurisdictions identified as being deficient in the area of Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), underscores the EU’s unwillingness to take into account the substantial progress made by CARICOM Member States at compliance with global standards.”
CARICOM added: “Moreover, the unquestioned use of ratings from other international bodies as a determining factor in the decision to list a jurisdiction along with the absence of meaningful prior consultation with the affected States negates the spirit of partnership and multilateralism that has characterised the relationship between CARICOM and the EU.”
Member territories of the Caribbean Community are no stranger to being blacklisted, with St. Kitts and Nevis in recent times being placed on the list despite being passing the required legislative framework.
But CARICOM lamented that despite having to deal with the unprecedented task of staging a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, these member states “now have the added burden of being subjected to the EU’s discriminatory tactics disguised as tax policy and governance”.
According to the regional body, being blacklisted severely affects the economic prospects of the listed states and the Community, in general.
Regional leaders and ambassadors have, for many years, made their cases at the highest levels against the arbitrary blacklisting of CARICOM member states.
However, this time the Community is noting that the latest comes at a time when all Members are already faced with the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This labelling causes significant reputational risk, erodes our competitive advantage, and discourages the investment that CARICOM States desperately need to drive inclusive growth and build economic resilience,” CARICOM noted.
To this end, the Caribbean Community called upon the European Union “to desist from this harmful practice of blacklisting small states, and instead pursue a mutually collaborative engagement towards our shared goals of effective tax governance and combatting money laundering and terrorism financing.”