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OECD visit in April – Minister Symmonds wants Barbados off watchdog’s list

Article by Randy Bennett – taken from the Barbados Today – Wednesday 23, February 2022

Barbados has told the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of this country’s “unhappiness” that it continues to be on the body’s grey list, despite making required changes.

This was revealed by Minister of Energy and Business Development, Kerrie Symmonds who pointed out that Barbados still remains on the list months after being added, through no fault of its own.

Speaking in Parliament today on the Appropriations Bill 2022, Symmonds said everything that needed to be done, as required by the OECD, had been done.

However, he said they were simply awaiting the arrival of a team from the OECD’s Global Forum to do an onsite inspection, after which he expected Barbados to be removed from the grey list.

Symmonds said the OECD representatives were scheduled to come to Barbados in January to review the changes, but that trip was delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The grey list, or state-of-play-document, includes jurisdictions that do not yet comply with all international tax standards but have made sufficient commitments to implement good governance principles.

“I must say to you that we anticipated that we would by now have gone through the onsite inspection with respect to the OECD placing us on the grey list. I want to assure the public that everything that needed to have been done with respect to our domestic activity to make sure that whether it is at the Financial Services Commission, the Barbados Revenue Authority, or wherever else concerns would have been raised or red-flagged, we had done those things that we needed to do. All of the due diligence has been done,” the minister stressed.

“What has not been done, however, is for the OECD’s Global Forum representatives to come here as they were anticipating to do in January of this year in order to do the onsite inspection. That onsite inspection, not having taken place, is now going to take place during the month of April, I believe April 11… “Suffice to say they did not come because borders in France were closed due to COVID restrictions and I have indicated to the Director of International Business and he has in turn directed to the attention of the OECD, Barbados’ desire to dispense with this matter as quickly as possible and quite frankly our unhappiness that we are dealing in a virtual world and in a virtual space very often, but we still have to treat to a question of physical presence for an inspection which if it does not take place has serious consequences for the reputation of this country.

“And it cannot and will not be that Barbados’ reputation is tarnished as a result of inspectors not being able to come here because that is no fault of ours. The reputational hit, however, will be ours and that is a very candid conversation we have had to have with that level of authority.” (RB)

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