Monday, December 30, 2013

New Arbitration Act Approved by the House of Assembly

The British Virgin Islands House of Assembly had the final reading of the new Arbitration Act 2013, which was part of the work produced by the Arbitration Focus Group – a committee comprised of public and private sector representatives. In modernising BVI arbitration framework, the Arbitration Focus Group focused on updating the Territory’s arbitration legislation, as well as procuring the extension of the New York Convention to the BVI, and creating an administrative body to facilitate arbitration in the jurisdiction

The new Act incorporates the UNCITRAL model law on arbitration, as amended in July 2006, into the British Virgin Islands domestic law. Also, the new legislation modernizes the provisions for the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in the BVI, and provides for the creation of a new statutory body: the BVI International Arbitration Centre. It includes changes providing arbitration awards to be exempt from local stamp duty and from any charges under the Income Tax Act or the Payroll Taxes Act. 

The new Arbitration Act also grants various additional powers to the British Virgin Islands courts to support and assist the conduct of arbitration proceedings.

The previous arbitration legislation in the jurisdiction was the Arbitration Act - a synthesis of the English Arbitration Acts of 1950 and 1975, regarded as unsuitable for modern cross-border arbitration.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Premier Addresses the House of Assembly with Medium Term Fiscal Plan

In addressing the House of Assembly on December 17, BVI Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. D. Orlando Smith was talking about the Medium Term Fiscal Plan of the BVI Government. By his words, the strategies and initiatives included on the plan over the next three years would have the purpose to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the British Virgin Islands, fostering economic growth, social development and investments into infrastructure. The Premier said that the strategic undertakings include channeling resources to health, social development, education, business and entrepreneurship development.

The Premier told the House: “The approach that we have taken is to first clearly articulate a development strategy which embraces Social, Economic, Environmental and Direction/Governance (S.E.E.D) themes and which provides the platform for advancing the promises we made to the people of this Territory…We have identified areas where we can make simple, but effective changes to the way Government conducts its fiscal affairs.” 

The BVI Government will continue to enhance its provision of services to the public, and at the same time improve the public finance management system.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

UK Ministers Discussed Business and Investment Issues with Overseas Territories' Leaders

In the end of November, UK ministers and leaders of UK Overseas territories including BVI participated at the annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council which took place in London.

During the event, the UK and Overseas territories’ governments agreed on setting out further steps to promote business, trade and investment opportunities. They also agreed to co-operate in the spheres of education, environment and energy, as well as governance and security issues and international financial services regulations

The UK Minister for Overseas Territories Mark Simmonds commented on the meeting: “I was delighted to host this year’s Joint Ministerial Council and greatly valued my discussions with the leaders of the overseas territory governments. There was a real sense of progress towards our shared ambition for the Territories as vibrant and flourishing communities. We are working together to support economic growth and job creation and to demonstrate that the territories are among the best places in the world to do business.”