Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that government is actively searching for a means to favorably respond to the United Kingdom’s public beneficial ownership register request.
During a press briefing on 10 July, Hon. Smith updated reporters on government’s movements in this area. “We are using all the means available to us as an overseas territory to be able to see where we can work with the relationship with the United Kingdom as far as the beneficial ownership is concerned.”
A few weeks ago the Premier announced that the BVI was seeking legal opinion on the matter, and since then suggestions have been made that perhaps the Territory should explore a more diplomatic approach. In light of this Hon. Smith was asked which direction government would most likely pursue and he said: “We will continue our discussion with the United Kingdom, through negotiations or through diplomatic discussions and including any necessary legal resource to be able to determine and get some resolution to the matter…I cannot say which direction we will be taking or when, but that is where we are at the moment. I think there is always room for discussion in any matter.”
Meanwhile Premier Smith disclosed that the constitutional amendment that commenced in 2017 will be moving forward. He told the media: “We started that discussion from early last year, but that was interrupted by the hurricanes and so that discussion would continue and we will work here in the BVI putting together our thoughts and we will engage the UK on the Constitutional change.”
Hon. Smith also mentioned that other Overseas Territories will be consulted on the Constitutional review process that will be commencing soon. “What we will be doing also is having discussions with the other OTs because we see this matter of constitutional advancement as affecting all the overseas territories, so we will be working together on this matter,” Hon. Smith explained.