By Mellica McPherson-Ganda
In April the BVI was placed in the unflattering shadow of the Panama Papers leak, and the global scandal reportedly left a scar due to the attention it brought to the BVI; nevertheless Director of the Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU), Mr. Kedrick Malone said that the experience was useful.
The Panama Papers leak reportedly held the attention of the world because it involved a leak of some of the 11.5 million confidential documents that allegedly revealed the financial and attorney–client information of reportedly 214,488 offshore businesses. Who actually authorized and who carried out this leak has not been disclosed. Without such crucial information public opinion worldwide will continue to ask questions.
In an interview with The Island Sun newspaper Mr. Malone, whose Unit is championing the BVI Forward Campaign stated that the Panama Papers saga was an eye opener.
“The Panama Papers made people more aware of financial services. The Panama papers made people understand that what we do is legitimate business. If you look at a lot of the press, a lot of it says there is nothing illegal about it. It’s legal it’s just the persons who misuse companies,” he said.
Prior to the leak the FSIU was tasked to educate the public about the vital financial services sector, and Mr. Malone noted that the Panama issue was an illustrated lesson.
“It (Panama Papers leak) created awareness of the industry and what it does. I think that it has helped us in terms of education. What we have to do now is help the BVI brand, because BVI was featured in so many of the cases because of our size,” Mr. Malone noted.
“We now have to show that in the BVI most of the service is legitimate business, except for the few bad apples. In a way it helped the education process; but it hurt the brand, so now we are trying to rebuild the brand, trying to detoxify to some degree the BVI brand,” he added.
According to Mr. Malone the process of healing the damage that was done by the Panama Papers leak falls to the BVI Finance office. Meanwhile, he said that BVI Forward campaign goes vigorously aghead with efforts that are aimed at safeguarding the future of the industry.