BVI premier sets the record straight on offshore financial services

LONDON, England — Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Dr Orlando Smith, set the record straight regarding some misperceptions about the financial services industry and the role the BVI plays in the global economy during his meetings with key policymakers, politicians and business leaders last week in London.

The London trip came as the G8 continues to debate new measures to increase transparency on tax affairs.

Regarding BVI’s reputation, Smith said, “We are a committed member of the international financial community. We are engaged in a constructive dialogue with our international partners.”

“It is important to underline the BVI’s position as a well-regulated, compliant facilitator of international business. We do not support, condone or welcome tax evasion and we will continue to be a constructive international partner,” the premier said.

Smith continued, “It is important that the governments of the G8 commit to ensuring there is a level playing field when introducing new measures. What they are asking of countries like the BVI, they must commit to doing themselves. That seems to me only fair.”

One of the highlights of the premier’s London visit was the 2013 Caribbean Council annual parliamentary reception at the House of Lords. The May 20 event, hosted by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, was sponsored by the BVI and attracted more than 200 guests.

The BVI received a strong endorsement at the event from UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mark Simmonds, who said that the BVI was a standard-setter in its efforts to combat financial crime and tax evasion.

Other notable guests included members of the BVI All-Party Parliamentary Group, members of parliament, peers, high commissioners and ambassadors, and business people with commercial interests in the Caribbean related to trade, agriculture, fisheries, construction, travel, yachting, tourism and financial services.

Smith also held a meeting with more than 40 London-based representatives from the international financial and professional services sectors at BVI’s London office. The premier gave a short update on the efforts the BVI has taken to combat the tide of inaccurate and biased media commentary following the leak of private information in April.

The meeting was chaired by executive director of the BVI International Finance Centre, Elise Donovan, and was followed by discussions with particular focus on protecting BVI’s reputation and maintaining its licence to operate as a leading register for businesses and financial services in the future.

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