Walton Brown: ‘Overseas Territories Must Resist’

June 7, 2013

[Updated with video] The Overseas Territories’ leaders need to “demonstrate some courage and decline Cameron’s invitation to London to berate them,” said Opposition MP Walton Brown.

That comment was posted by Mr Brown on the social network Twitter this morning [June 7], and was prefaced with, “The UK government has crossed the line on this contrived ‘tax evasion’ push. All Overseas Territories must resist in unison.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron has asked senior ministers of ten overseas territories and crown dependencies – including Bermuda – to London on the eve of this month’s G8 summit meeting to sign an international agreement to share tax information.


Mr Cameron said tax avoidance by multinational corporations will feature prominently at the G8 summit, which comprises of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the USA.

This meeting follows after a letter written last month by Mr Cameron to the Overseas Territories asking them to “get their house in order” when it came to international tax codes.

Premier Craig Cannonier said he has accepted the invitation to the meeting, saying it provides Bermuda with another opportunity to articulate on a world stage that “we are a low tax jurisdiction, not a tax haven.” The Premier also said that he will have a private meeting with Mr Cameron while in the U.K.


In addition to Bermuda, the other British Overseas Territories are Anguilla, the British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos, Pitcairn Island, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.

Update 2.12pm: Speaking today at the House of Assembly, Mr Brown said the UK has responsibility for our external affairs, defense and security and not our financial services arena.

“The proposed approach to go to London, to be berated to be chastised is highly inappropriate,” said Mr Brown. “This is grandstanding on the part of the UK Prime Minister, and we should not be participating in it.”

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Comments (44)

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  1. DarkSideofTheMoon says:

    PLP supporter here and I think that the Premier is doing the right thing.

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    • Hey says:

      Bermuda supporter here, and I agree with you PLP Supporter.

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    • JMad says:

      I agree. IF BDA wants to retain and/or enhance its reputation of transparent and well regulated financial center then it would be irresponsible to boycott.

      Just remember that industry is the only thing keeping us afloat as of now...

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    • I concur with you, "DarkSideOfTheMoon"

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  2. Walton the Arrogant says:

    Walton. sit down, shut up, and learn a thing a two about cooperation and obedience.

    Only one that is going to be berated will be you, my boy.

    There's a reason you are no longer in government; and that statement sums it up

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    • Um... says:

      Obedience? Is that what we're advocating nowadays? I prefer civil disobedience. It's how things get done.

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    • dough says:

      Its not about obedience num nuts its about "transparency", dialogue, and diplomacy. Do you really think the UK Gov will ban Offshore tax havens and anger the business elite and oligarchs who are almost as powerful as the gov and can cause real problems.

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      • Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

        @ dough...i noticed you said "the business elite and oligarchs who are almost as powerful as the gov and can cause real problems". those business elites and oligarchs that you mentioned DO RUN THE GOVERNMENTS buddy. The Bilderberg Group is in England right now as we speak preparing for their annual meeting to ensure that their EndGame of their Agenda 21 is going on as planned. Fortunately more and more people are waking up but if something isn't done very soon ...it will be too late for you and your children...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHJuPFYvSIA

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        • Grubster says:

          Cameron's a moron. He has to be seen doing this (It's in the UK press), but doubt anything will come of it. Looks good that Bermuda will be there and in positive dialogue and standing their corner.

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      • Dough the arrogant says:

        Obedience by accepting the Mother Land's invite; we report to them, not them to us as most Bermudians would believe.

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    • James says:

      Spoken like a true englishman in the colonies

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  3. here's a thought.... says:

    there's that beautiful PLP arrogance we all came to know and love...... NOT.......

    keep your supercilious statements to yourself mr brown.

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  4. Alvin Williams says:

    Sounds good but too maney of these British Overseas territories are dependent on British financial aid; Bermuda is not we pay for Britain's
    diplomatic presence in our country over a million dollars a year and still we want to hang on to our British security blanket. But maybe a bit of naked British imperialism is the swift kick in our behinds that forces us to finally stand up and claim our right to be an independent country which is natural for the rest of the world

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    • Bermyman says:

      Small price to pay for a British passport and the ability to send our children to the U.K. for schooling. Ask a Jamaican how hard it is to visit most countries in the world and then relate it to how we would look as an independent nation with similar prospects.

      Cooperation is key on this matter, it sends a message to the rest of the world . Do we assist financial criminals and thieves or are we a legitimate financial center? I would rather be known as the latter.

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  5. Truth is killin' me... says:

    (YAWN)

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  6. CBA says:

    Don't ignore the invitation. Instead, go and put forth our reasons for not being a tax haven. If we can get them to better understand us, then maybe they won't try to go after us.

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  7. Vote for Me says:

    This 'invitation' will be interesting. In the longer term, Bermuda must consider the degree to which the UK will protect our interests. At this stage it is clear that the UK interests are tied to those of other major countries that are doing anything they can to get tax revenues back to their shores.

    If we are observant, Premier Cannonier seems to be getting the message as well. There is a distinct difference in being a low tax jurisdiction and being a tax haven.

    Whilst many may not be supportive, this recent push form teh UK and others represents an opportune time for the OBA and PLP to work together and ensure Bermuda's well being remains at the forefront.

    PS - the Premier says he is not being 'summoned' to the UK - it is a voluntary invitation. If that be the case, he should refuse to attend and see how Cameron reacts!!

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    • Tramsparency for Real!! says:

      Vote for Me, I like what you have to say, and it is very important: Bermuda must consider the degree to which the UK will protect our interests. At this stage it is clear that the UK interests are tied to those of other major countries that are doing anything they can to get tax revenues back to their shores. Walton Brown has always said he believe that UK did not always have Bermuda's interest at heart. This I believe is why he suggested that we need to go Independent, but many folks did not want to accept this fact.

      I love your line of Q:

      PS – the Premier says he is not being ‘summoned’ to the UK – it is a voluntary invitation. If that be the case, he should refuse to attend and see how Cameron reacts!!

      This would be a real eye awaking thing to see happen,,,,I am loving it..

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  8. Steve says:

    what an &^%$....

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  9. Joonya says:

    This is exactly the tone that if PLP were still the govt would make foreign investors think twice about coming here or continuing to exist here, and the HMS Bermuda would definately be on its way to the bottom. Sorry Walton, but I prefer Craig's approach.

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  10. Bermuda Boy says:

    Walton Brown our OBA govt know what to do. We don't need to hear your drivel.

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    • pebblebeach says:

      I agree with you 100%, hence the reason why I have not listened to or read anything Walton Brown in years...

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  11. Inspector Gadget says:

    Its a double edged sword. The only two things that keep our economy and country for that matter, in the position it is is for the fact that Bermuda is a solid overseas territory of the UK and for the fact that we are a VERY VERY low tax economy (for business that is). If either of these things get severed, BDA will be in a sticky situation. I think the premier should go and stick to his case. The truth is that we ARE a tax haven - its known all around the world, but so is Delaware! Bermuda is VERY efficient with international business and messing that up now will harm us in the worst way.

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  12. Media says:

    Interesting that Bob Richards didn't rule out corporate tax when pushed, in the BBC UK interview. This to me suggests the OBA might introduce a tax to show that indeed we have a business tax like Switerland have done. I imagine it has already been a discussion point with IB and Bob already, as that is the only way to do it. No surprises like before with the payroll tax increase under the PLP...

    Walton's appraoch might work for some that want to become rogue states. Bermuda needs to be seen as a first class financial centre. It must present it's case strongly and we must protect our interests above any one else including any other islands. This is a fight for survival and in this instance we must be self serving, not joining weaker players.

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  13. fred says:

    I agree. I don't like many of the PLP's ideals, but I agree with this one entirely. There's no reason to offer up anyone's income to overseas countries. That's a large part of why many IBs came here. It's our income, not theirs. As soon as you open up the income of local workers and businesses to outside governments you will loose more IBs. They will leave for other countries that protect their information... and unless you like the grand scheme idea of a 'one-world-government' then support this mans idea. Write or call your MPs and say NO!

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    • Sandy Bottom says:

      It's the PLP that was signing tax cooperation treaties left right and centre for the last 7 years. They already agreed to hand over information.

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  14. swing voter says:

    People lets be reasonable. Cameron is no fool. He's welding the big stick for 2 reasons. One is he is the chairman of the G8. Two he has to appear to be firm because of our boy Misick and yours truely.

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    • JMad says:

      And thirdly it is political posturing as he and his team aren't faring too well these days in the popularity department...

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    • here's a thought.... says:

      yours truly means 'me' - you mean eWART (emphasis on wart). but i agree with your point.

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      • Time Shall Tell says:

        So you think Cameron is calling in ALL territories because of Ewart Brown?? Seriously??? PLP steered us clear of the black list when we where targeted the last time when the U.K. refused to intervene but now they want us to answer for something we have already been cleared of?

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        • Tramsparency for Real!! says:

          What a joke if you think this is about E Brown, that means your out of touch with the real implications in regards to this pressing matter. I suggest you get some real info on this matter, and than you be better prepared to address the real issue on hand.

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    • Grubster says:

      Yes he is and agree with JMad below. I believe Cameron's father was an accountant and tax advisor, helping companies to minimise their tax potential. Earned enough to put his son through Eton and Oxford. Funny if that is related to Bermuda in any way.

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  15. Kim Smith says:

    I cannot understand any benefit of Mr. Brown's opinion that Bermuda should show some courage and not engage with Britain in what is clearly an important matter. He clearly doesn't know about the working of relationships... and I am very pleased, because of his strange opinion of his, that he doesn't represent the Government of Bermuda.

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    • Ted says:

      I just want to know who's going to pay for the plane tickets! Ha ha!

      It would be in the interest of the premier to attend and state the facts as Cameron's clearly ill informed.

      Also, given the threat of HSBC to pull out of all tax havens it would be beneficial to provide clarity on our tax status to avoid the major property 'shareholder' on the island from dumping their portfolio and leaving.

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  16. Alvin Williams says:

    Low tax regime; a tax haven one of the same in the eyes of many who want
    to get a hold of more tax dollars from thier corprate citzens who set up
    in low tax regimes like Bermuda,
    This is driven not only by massive budget deficits in countries like Britain and America; but by political pressure put on thier political elites by the citizens of those countries who are tried of carrying the
    economic burden of thier countries economic recovery while the 1% gets away from paying thier fair share of taxes by setting up in low tax regimes like Bermuda. Sorry Bermuda any other opinion on this issure is liken to that of wearing a Fig-Leaf while trying to claim that you are not naked.

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    • Grubster says:

      Yes, totally unfair that the ordinary citizens are carrying the burden of economic recovery whilst the top get away with it. Hovever, it there are no loopholes, then people can't jump through them. UK should sort out it's own tax legislation first.

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  17. PLP train wreck says:

    He has no idea that we are heading for a total economic train wreck !

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  18. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Bermuda should go...but there is nothing to worry about...
    Cameron is not going to last,the majority of Brits hate him.

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  19. East end Accuracy says:

    Interesting that Mr Brown chose the term 'saber rattling' to describe this very disturbing undercurrent against the worlds offshore minnows. To rattle your saber you must first have one of course. I fear we will soon see what it feels like to be put to the sword. Bermuda is not a country in the classic sense - and never has been. That lesson is about to be driven home.

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