Friday, April 27, 2012

BVI and UK Sign New Fiscal Protocol

The UK and the BVI governments have signed new fiscal protocols for a new partnership that includes information sharing as it relates to the territory's finances, but does not include the controversial provision to send the budget for pre-approval. The documents were signed on April 23 by UK Minister for Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham, and Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. D. Orlando Smith, and Governor Boyd McCleary. Under the new protocol, the BVI commits to transparency in the management of the public finances that is consistent with the highest standards of governance and democracy.

Prior to signing the protocol, there was a concern that the BVI will have to have its full budget approved by the UK government prior to it being passed locally. The questions were asked about this issue, but Minister Bellingham maintained that information sharing was the key element of the protocol. Also, when questioned if there is difference from the situation in the Cayman Islands where that government has to send their budget to the UK for pre-approval, Bellingham said that, unlike some countries, the UK does not have a one size fits all for Territories.

“We don’t micro manage, we actually believe in working in partnerships, we believe in building up trust and the trust we’re building up between our two governments is manifest… and we have every confidence that information will be shared in the future,” the UK minister explained.

This is Bellingham's first visit to the BVI territory, and the first visit of a British government minister to the jurisdiction since April 2009. BVI Premier and UK Minister discussed a range of topics, including BVI's financial strategy, the forthcoming Overseas Territories White Paper, and other important issues. The UK Minister stated that the BVI is a huge success story, and a world class financial service center.

No comments: