The Islamic Post Blog

West Indies Accuses Britain of Attempting Recolonization in the Midst of Tax Haven Investigations by Khalida
May 10, 2009, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, May Volume I - 2009 | Tags:

(IP) –The British Government recently sacked the government of the Turks and Caicos Island after it was reported the local premier’s personal assets grew during his five years in office from $US50,000 to a fortune estimated at up to $US180 million, as reported by The Australian news network.
The BBC was even more blunt in reporting the controversial news. “The premier and his cabinet will be sacked, as will the leader of the opposition, speaker and deputy speaker of parliament, the cabinet secretary and members of the judicial and public service commissions other than the chairmen,” wrote the British Broadcasting Corporation. “The House of Assembly will be dissolved and MPs will lose their seats. According to the order laid before the British parliament …the exact date of British restoration of direct rule over the Turks and Caicos Islands depends on the Governor, Gordon Weatherell, acting in his discretion. Once he publishes his date in the local government gazette, the main offices of state shall become vacant,” BBC continued.
Former Premier Michael Misick, who duly resigned after the scandal was made public, describes the move as “modern-day colonialism.” The Inter Press Service (IPS) reports Mr Misick as saying in a statement, “[T]his step by the British cannot be right, morally or otherwise. It is wrong in the 21st century to have an entire population re-colonised in this fashion, with the executive, legislative, judicial and all other powers lying in the hands of the colonial masters, but vested in one person (the governor), who himself, in this case, is not a citizen.”
The former premier continued: “They still view us all as a corrupt people, unfit to govern ourselves. We cannot and should not take this lying down.” Mr Misick called on the UN to intervene on the country’s behalf, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this year, the UN reiterated its support for “de-colonization” efforts worldwide.
“In 1873, after three centuries under Spanish, French, and then British control, the TCI were made a part of Jamaica,” writes IPS. “When that country achieved independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a crown colony. It has had its own government since August 1976. In 1979, independence was agreed upon in principle for 1982, but a change in government caused a policy reversal.”
IPS quotes Reuben Meade, a former chief minister of Montserrat, another British colony in the Caribbean, as doubting real independence will ever come for the British Overseas Territories. “From where I sit as a minister of government, the answer is no. It is easier for us to do the bidding of our colonial masters. In doing so, we get money to spend,” he said, adding: “After 375 years of colonial domination, we are yet to see a Black governor in any of the British colonies.”
The sacking of all legislative bodies in the Turks and Caicos Islands comes at the beginning of intense scrutiny into the suspected hidden tax income in offshore banking centers located in the Caribbean and worldwide. The UK Guardian reported the measures contained in the anti tax-haven legislation initiated by US Senator Carl Levin to be a “severe blow” to offshore banking. Nevertheless, Richard Murphy, a British tax accountant who has become one of the world’s leading anti-haven campaigners told The Australian the general agreement made by G20 nations after the summit holds little weight. “These agreements to exchange information are useless; the secrecy will be completely intact,” says. There is an estimated $13 trillion untaxed wealth being filtered through places like Switzerland, Jersey and most Caribbean Islands. “London is the biggest tax haven in the world because all these other places are just branches of London,” Mr Murphy told the Australian.

Addendum:Most of the financial centres listed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), from the Channel Islands to the Caymans or the Cook Islands, are or were British territories. Half of them still have the Queen as their head of state. Britain, Canada and Australia account for 90 per cent of the combined population of the 16 independent nations ruled by the Queen. Most of the other 13 are defined by the OECD as tax havens.

Together the world’s tax havens allow rich individuals to hide trillions of dollars from national tax authorities. The OECD estimates that $US7 trillion ($10 trillion) has been stashed away, while anti-haven campaigners say the true figure is at least $US11.5 trillion.
Places such as Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria are also widely recognised as secretive offshore finance centres.

The OECD has published a list of nations/territories that have the low tax rates, secrecy and poor regulation that define tax havens. The initial list of jurisdictions was derived from US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) court filings identifying certain nations as probable locations for U.S. tax evasion.
These include:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey/Sark/Alderney, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Samoa, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Singapore, Switzerland. Turks and Caicos. Vanuatu.


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