Government House Comment On UK Register Bill

May 5, 2018

“The UK will continue to seek to work closely with Overseas Territories and to use its best endeavours diplomatically and with international partners,” Government House said “including through multilateral fora [such as the G20, FATF and the OECD] to promote public registers of company beneficial ownership as the global standard.”

Background

A Bill passed in the UK House of Commons that contains an amendment which would allow the UK to order Overseas Territories to make their beneficial ownership registers publicly accessible.

A beneficial ownership register is a database of information on business owners, and while the vast majority of nations worldwide do not make theirs public, the UK does, with their register going public in 2016, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

This matter has been discussed for years, and the Bermuda’s Government’s position over the years has been that they maintain registers, provide information to official entities at request and will make the registers public when it becomes world standard, which it currently is not.

Premier David Burt has made the Bermuda Government’s position clear, saying: “There will be no public register of Beneficial Ownership in Bermuda until this Honourable House, elected by the people of Bermuda votes to implement one,” adding that the “Government rejects the regressive colonial mindset that some in London hold.”

Speaking during a Bloomberg interview this week, Premier Burt said, “Bermuda for 50 years has had full internal self-government, and Bermuda does not accept the United Kingdom’s attempt to legislate for us.

“The era of colonialism ended quite a while ago; Bermuda sets its own laws and the only time that we’ll have a public register of beneficial ownership is when the Bermuda Parliament decides to do so.”

Other Overseas Territories, such as Gibraltar, BVI and Cayman, also expressed concern about the UK legislating for them, with the UK being accused of colonialism and Cayman reportedly hiring legal advisors, saying the issue ”goes way beyond public registers” as they “don’t want to wind up in a situation where every time the UK Parliament disagrees with a decision in one of the territories, it has the power to legislate for us.”

Government House Response

In response to queries from Bernews, a Government House spokesperson said, “In his speech in the House of Commons on 1 May Minister Alan Duncan made clear the UK’s preference to work consensually with Bermuda and the other Overseas Territories on the introduction of public registers.

“The UK will continue to seek to work closely with Overseas Territories and to use its best endeavours diplomatically and with international partners, including through multilateral fora [such as the G20, FATF and the OECD] to promote public registers of company beneficial ownership as the global standard”.

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Comments (13)

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  1. J R Smith says:

    Lol. London best careful of the fights it picks. They will end up with a bloody nose on this one.

    • Harold evans says:

      There is a good cartoon here

    • facts of the rock says:

      sounds like you are looking for a fight,you just might get one!

  2. facts of the rock says:

    and if you don’t we’ll make you!

  3. puzzled says:

    Must be the last wishes of Elizabeth.
    Screw the empire…..

    • facts of the rock says:

      your lack of knowledge shows in your comment and name!

  4. …yet reinforced any oba nonsense………smh

  5. Sailboat says:

    “The UK will continue to seek to work closely with Overseas Territories and to use its best endeavours diplomatically…” blah blah blah translates to “If any of you Dependents think we (the UK) care about your opinions on these matters, think again. This is what the British Government wants and what it wants now. Fall in line.”

    The Cayman Islands is exactly right. The British Government throws a tantrum every time its grown up “children” have an opinion which differs from theirs. Well guess what, children grow up to be independent of their parents. That’s the whole point, ain’t it? Take note, UK, we might still be your children, but the apron strings are cut. Like it. Live with it.

  6. Clem says:

    Are we trying to hide something? Looks like the ‘Betmuda Standard’ just hit the rocks.

  7. Tony Brannon says:

    GLOBAL STANDARD – I THINK NOT !
    “the vast majority of nations worldwide do not make theirs public, the UK does”.
    So where is the UK getting off claiming a Global Standard ? Wishing thinking Blighty.

    Premier Burt and all the colonies are right to tell the UK to take a hike on this one.

    “A beneficial ownership register is a database of information on business owners, and while the vast majority of nations worldwide do not make theirs public, the UK does, with their register going public in 2016, becoming the first nation in the world to do so”.

  8. Adrian L says:

    A register sounds to me like a gesture rather than a solution if someone wants to hide their ownership they will just use proxies. The UK should cut their levels of taxation in the first place so there is less of an incentive to undertake tax planning.

    I say we resist as strongly as possible.

  9. rodney smith says:

    Children , You must listen to your mother . That is the relationship with which we have with England , and it will not change until we take that BIG STEP to make Mr. Burt , President . smile .Independence will make all residents equal . I’m not sure we are ready for that in Bermuda.smile.

    • Politricks says:

      “Independence will make all residents equal”

      How so?