The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has lashed out at the European Union for what it calls an “ongoing unilateral, arbitrary and non-transparent blacklisting strategy” against its member states.
This statement from the regional body comes on the heels of the most recent inclusion of CARICOM States to the blacklist of alleged non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and jurisdictions identified as being deficient in the area of Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). The countries include Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
CARICOM is of the firm belief that the European Union has demonstrated an unwillingness to take into account, the substantial progress made by States to be in compliance with global standards.
Moreover, CARICOM stated that the unquestioned use of ratings from other international bodies as a determining factor in the decision to list a jurisdiction along with the absence of meaningful prior consultation with the affected States negates the spirit of partnership and multilateralism that has characterized the relationship between CARICOM and the EU. Along with the unprecedented task of staging a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, the regional body said that these CARICOM States now have the added burden of being subjected to the EU’s discriminatory tactics disguised as tax policy and governance.
CARICOM stressed that blacklisting severely affects the economic prospects of the listed states and the Community, in general, at a time when all of members are already faced with the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said, “This labelling causes significant reputational risk, erodes our competitive advantage, and discourages the investment that CARICOM States desperately need to drive inclusive growth and build economic resilience.”
With the foregoing in mind, the Caribbean Community called upon the European Union to desist from this harmful practice of blacklisting small states, and instead, pursue a mutually collaborative engagement towards the shared goals of effective tax governance and combatting money laundering and terrorism financing.