Features

Pierre: ‘Government Must Admit It Dropped The Ball On Blacklisting’

OPPOSITION Leader, Phillip J. Pierre

PRESS RELEASE – THE reaction of the UWP Government to the blacklisting of Saint Lucia by the EU is typical of a government in denial that refuses to accept when it is wrong and continues to believe in shifting blame and spreading falsehoods and propaganda with the intent to mislead the public.

Image of Phillip J Pierre
Leader of the Opposition, Phillip J Pierre

In the latest response, the Government Communications Director attempts, in a lengthy ramble, to give reasons why Saint Lucia remains on the blacklist while Barbados and Grenada have been removed even (though) they were blacklisted with Saint Lucia last year.

When the blacklisting was first announced, the Prime Minister claimed he had no knowledge of why the island was blacklisted and he would be requesting from the EU the reason for our inclusion on the blacklist. That denial by the PM was strange since the EU had stated clearly that we were on the blacklist because we failed to commit to make changes to our Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Sharing) policies. Even with that information, the Government failed to take the necessary steps and to this day pretends to be taking action while still unclear as to why we were in that predicament

Earlier this month, the EU reported that on June 27, 2017, sixty-eight jurisdictions had signed the treaty and on January 24, 2018, six additional countries — including Barbados — had signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting which, if done by Saint Lucia, would ensure our removal from the list.

The question is why did Saint Lucia not make the necessary arrangements and commitments like Barbados to ensure that we were removed from the list in January 2018?

Is there a reason why the UWP Government is persisting with its negligence and refusal to give appropriate priority to this very important and urgent issue? The Government has had ample time to take corrective measures.

We must now wonder whether there is a more sinister reason which is keeping the hands of the Government tied. Has the Government made commitments based on its loose Base and Profit Shifting (Sharing) policy which has tied its hands? The public has the right to know.

All the browbeating and senseless excuses will not hide the fact that the Government has had ample opportunity as late as January this year to save the island from this latest embarrassment.

While the government continues to try to convince the public that they are blameless, the evidence is clear: Saint Lucia is blacklisted because the Minister of Finance failed to act in a responsible and timely manner in dealing with this important matter that can have serious repercussions for the economy of Saint Lucia and our relationship with the European Union (EU).

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