We have seen the transformation of the Barbados economy to service based in the 80’s and 90’s. We are now a small island developing state that depends on tourism, upwards to 60% direct and indirect to GDP and the offshore sector estimated to directly contribute about 10% to GDP.
In 2016 the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) posted to a public website 11.5 million leaked documents labelled The Panama Papers. Earlier this month an additional 11.9 million leaked documents were posted with the label The Pandora Papers. The leaked documents reminded the world the lengths rich and prominent individuals are prepared to go to open offshore accounts- in order to avoid paying taxes and or to secrete ill gotten gains. The Papers exposed the who’s who of the global community- former presidents, billionaires, celebrities, corporate players et al.
One may reasonably conclude that many rich people across across geographies see benefits to taking advantage of opportunities tax havens and tax shelters offer. Not every offshore account is illegal, however, persons have been prosecuted as a result of the leaked documents.
Why should Barbadians believe we do not have our share of tax dodgers and other shady characters operating questionable accounts in murky offshore jurisdictions across the globe? When BU leaked the Cahill documents there was evidence of accounts opened in Guernsey to support the transaction.
The incarceration in the USA of former minister Donville Inniss for money laundering is believed to be the tip of the iceberg. There is enough fire and smoke to suggest that that local rich and prominent individuals are no less inclined to manipulate the system to siphon money to accounts ‘off grid’.
Here is a question churning in the mind of the blogmaster addressed to whom it may concern – for the avoidance of doubt – individuals like @markmaloney @kyffinsimpson @miamottley @peterodle @halgollop @paulaltman @etal – what is in your outside pocket?
Relevant Link to ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database