Sunday, March 20, 2016

BVI Budget Debate Starting on Tuesday

BVI Territory's largest proposed budget debate is to start on March 22, more than month after being presented by BVI Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Orlando Smith, and after weeks of meeting where parliamentarians examined the budget for the 2016 fiscal year; also, Accounting officers participated in these meetings, discussing plans for the ministries and departments. The meetings have finished, and now both the government and opposition sides will take part in the budget debate, which will be followed by the approval of the proposed budget, possibly with changes.

In his budget speech, the premier announced new tax measures which will make people pay more for work permits and water supply, and, along with new legislation enforcing compliance, will enable the government to collect over US$20mln in revenues. He said, however, that these new tax measures ‘will not have any great effect on the citizens of the BVI’. The opposition responded to this statement, saying that the tax increases are being proposed at a time when more people have less.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

UK and BVI Delegations Meet to Discuss Common Strategies against Financial Crimes

On February 25-26, senior representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the National Crime Agency and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) visited the British Virgin Islands, being invited by premier and minister of finance Dr Orlando Smith to engage in further discussions on strengthening legal framework to fight cross-border financial crimes in the UK and BVI.

The UK delegation included director of the FCO’s Overseas Territories Directorate, Dr Peter Hayes; FCO’s senior policy adviser, economic and financial services, Russell Phillips; and the NCA’s head of bribery, corruption and sanctions, Andy Lewis. The BVI delegation consisted of the premier and representatives from the ministry of finance, Attorney General’s Chambers, Financial Investigation Agency, Financial Services Commission and International Tax Authority.

Discussions focused on how law enforcement agencies can further build upon their relationship to provide an effective beneficial ownership regime. During the meeting, the UK delegation learned about the ongoing reform processes in the British Virgin Islands to strengthen the territory’s international cooperation. The strategies were discussed to engage in ongoing dialogue to build confidence and cooperation against cross border criminal activities.