Hon. Pam Webster, Leader of the Opposition in the Anguilla House of Assembly has praised the British Virgin Islands response to the United Kingdom threat to impose public registries of beneficial ownership by 2020 in the Overseas Territories.
In a statement that was published in The Anguillian news media the Opposition Leader of that sister Overseas Territory announced that the matter has not been given the type of attention it deserves in Anguilla, although she announced that the issue would be detrimental to that economy as well.
“We believe that, if implemented, this will have a disastrously negative impact on our financial services sector, a key lifeblood of our economy, and a source of earnings that helps our people maintain and improve their lives. These registers could require British overseas territories such as ours, and others including the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands, to publish details of the true owners of companies based there. By contrast, the same would not necessarily apply to the British Crown Dependencies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, which are entitled to make their own laws,” the Anguilla Opposition Leader stated.
She therefore praised the British Virgin Islands stating that the Territory’s House of Assembly has responded with one voice. She noted that there is unity on the matter: “In the British Virgin Islands, both government and opposition have come together in public demonstration – not just merely against the measure, but as a statement that they are willing to stand up and fight to protect their economy and people’s livelihoods.”
In bestowing further kudos the Anguillan Opposition Leader pointed out efforts BVI Leadership has taken to demonstrate its disagreement with the United Kingdom plan. As she admirably noted the Territory’s response Hon. Webster said: “The Premier and Finance Minister of BVI, Orlando Smith, also wrote a letter to The Economist to similar effect. But more than that, as a proactive measure the BVI government has instructed a major international law firm and two QCs to prepare a legal challenge to the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill and the constitutional and human rights issues and infringements involved, so watch this space as sparks fly!”