Saturday, March 28, 2009

BVI premier announces that the territory will comply with G-20 rules

The Premier of the British Virgin Islands Hon. Ralph O'Neal has made some comments during the news conference which took place in the BVI territory on March 24, with participation of thousands of corporations, insurers and offshore trusts which are established to avoid taxes and regulation in their countries.

Premier Ralph O'Neal has said the British Caribbean territory as a popular offshore corporate domicile will comply with any new financial rules that come out of the Group-20 summit of rich and developing countries. He also said that the British Caribbean territory is compliant with all requests from international regulators, and is ready to adapt to any new financial regulations that may emerge from the G-20 London summit which will take place next week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

UK Financial Team Visits the BVI Territory

The team from the UK Treasury, led by the Head of the UK Government Independent Review of British Offshore Financial Centres, has come to the territory with the aim to hear first-hand the BVI government's opinions on the review, and the importance of the offshore financial services to the BVI territory. During its visit, the UK team is going to hold talks with the Premier O'Neal, with Deputy Premier Dancia Penn, with Robert Mathavious - the Managing Director of the Financial Services Commission; also with Kathleen Quartey - Attorney General, and Neil Smith - Financial Secretary.

Hon. Ralph O'Neal, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, welcomed the delegation, and expressed confidence of the BVI Government that “the BVI (financial) centre and its regulatory system will perform well under any international scrutiny." By words of the Premier, the review would also give the opportunity to demonstrate that they have a robust finance centre of the highest reputation.

Actually, the purpose of the UK Government Independent Review of British Offshore Financial Centres is to identify opportunities, current and future risks in financial supervision, transparency and taxation, in relation to financial stability, sustainable future competitiveness, financial crisis management and international co-operation. The Review was announced as part of the British government's budgetary process.

Before traveling to Tortola, the UK team had discussions with financial services officials in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Premier Evaluates BVI Financial Services Sector

On February 25, Honourable Ralph T. O'Neal, Premier and Minister for Finance for the territory, talked about concerns that the Virgin Islands (UK) will become target for new regulations. These concerns followed statements by leaders of major EU countries, including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, about the need to list un-cooperative financial centres and tax havens and to impose sanctions against them.

Ralph O'Neal said that the BVI is recognized as a well-regulated, transparent and co-operative financial centre. He also noted that following the signing of the BVI's Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the UK in October 2008, the UK's Financial Secretary “commended the BVI for the leadership demonstrated in the area of tax policy and its potential to strengthen their reputation for good governance in financial matters”.

The Premier also mentioned that the BVI territory received positive references from the OECD's Director of Tax Policy Administration, Mr. Jeffrey Owens, who included the BVI in the list of the offshore jurisdictions fully compliant with the organisation’s transparency standards, and from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, which recognised the BVI Territory's compliance with recommendations designed to fight money laundering and terrorism.

Ralph O'Neal confirmed Government's commitment to co-operate with international regulatory bodies and to work together with the Financial Services Commission to ensure the BVI retains the balance between the support of financial services community, and co-operative regulatory framework.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

$279.8 Million Budget Presented by the BVI Premier

Last week, Premier and Finance Minister of BVI Ralph O'Neal presented Territory's Budget for 2009. He outlined the projected revenue in the amount of $279,841,000, and operational expenses $252,485.400. The Development Fund allocation is $23,875,600.

Ralph O'Neal said that there is 1.7 percent decline over last year's estimates because of the anticipated reduction in revenue linked to the ongoing turmoil in the global economy. He also anticipated a reduction of revenue from the financial services sector and from tourism industry.

The Premier said that the government will stimulate local economy through various policy and programme implementations, and the projects which will create jobs for BVIslanders.

The Budget projection will be referred to the Standing Committee before the commencement of the debate.