Friday, October 30, 2009

BVI Government to Give Regulatory Approval to CFC

The Minister for Communications and Works of the British Virgin Islands and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission have approved the application of National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) to acquire BVI Cable TV Ltd.

National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation is a cooperative that serves BVI rural utility systems, providing its members with an assured source of market-priced capital and financial products and services. The company has more than $20 billion in assets. Last January, CFC announced that it would make a credit bid to acquire the outstanding stock of BVI Cable and other companies owned by the Innovative Communication Corporation (ICC).

The credit bid is conditioned on approval of regulatory authorities in the jurisdictions where ICC's companies are operating. Prior to receiving the approval of BVI authorities, CFC had already received interim bankruptcy court approval and U.S. antitrust clearance approval. After receiving the remaining approvals, CFC will apply to the bankruptcy court for authorization to proceed with the transfer of control process, acquire and rehabilitate BVI Cable and other ICC-owned companies in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dutch St. Maarten.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BVI and Other Jurisdictions Protest Against Blaming Them

After the summit of the G-20 leaders, which was held on September 24-25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offshore jurisdictions in the Caribbean and Atlantic regions started to protest against the attempts of the countries of the Group 20 to penalise them for not complying with taxation and transparency standards, which only become stricter, and take other steps that make the offshore centres the image of shady tax havens.

The leaders, policymakers and business chiefs of the offshore centres, including the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Belize and many others, expressed the common opinion that their countries are used as the scapegoats for the global financial crisis and downturn. By their words, it is not fair that they are treated as hide-outs for tax evaders and crooks, and this anti-tax haven “finger pointing” is just the attempt to shift blame away from the policies and tax regulation methods of the world's economic leaders.

In April 2009, the leaders of G20 group and the OECD issued the “grey list” of offshore countries which did not fully comply with internationally agreed tax standards. There were more than 12 Caribbean jurisdictions on the list, including BVI and Bermuda. The governments of these countries made efforts to get themselves out of this list, and most of them succeeded in it, signing 12 bilateral tax agreements. BVI and the Caymans were excluded from the “grey list” in July 2009, Bermuda was moved to the “white list” in June, and other Caribbean states are signing tax treaties.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BVI Premier Supports New OECS Chairman

BVI Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal has expressed full support to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Denzil Douglas, after he was appointed the chairman of the OECS Authority, and to the work of the OECS Secretariat under his leadership.

Dr. Douglas should have assumed this post in November 2009, but the OECS Director General Dr. Len Ishmael asked him to take up the chairmanship a month earlier. The decision of the new Chief Minister Honourable Reuben Meade not to assume the chairmanship of the OECS Authority to the Prime Minister of Montserrat followed the recent change of its Government.

Subject to approval by all members of the OECS Authority, Dr. Douglas will assume the chairmanship at the 50th Meeting of the OECS Authority which will take place in Anguilla in November 19-20. The previous 49th Meeting of the the highest decision making body of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States was held in the British Virgin Islands in May 20-22.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

BVI Joins the Observance of Caribbean Statistics Day

The British Virgin Islands Government will observe Caribbean Statistics Day on October 15, along with other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. This became the result of discussions during the 33rd Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS), which was held in October last year and attended by representatives of CARICOM member countries’ statistical offices.

The themes of the Statistics Day will be Better Statistics, Better Management and Better development Outcomes. The Development Planning Unit (DPU), which is the Government agency responsible for acquiring and analyzing statistics, will coordinate the activities of the day. Ms. Patlian Johnson, the Acting Director of the Unit, explained the main idea of the observance of this day as highlighting “the role of statistics in decision making and in facilitating economic planning and analysis.”

Central activity of the Caribbean Statistics day in BVI will be a discussion focusing on the Importance of Statistics for the development of the territory. According to the Acting DPU director, the discussion board will include experts in the areas of statistics, economic development, finance and socio-economic research.