PLP: ‘Suggestion Would Put Economy In Danger’

June 26, 2012

[Updated] The PLP said that a suggestion by Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards would “put our economy in danger” and could end up with us being “deemed a tax haven”  – while Mr Richards said the PLP deliberately distorted his words.

“The PLP operatives will do whatever it takes to tear down anyone who questions Government performance or policy,” said Mr Richards.

The words follow after statements Mr Richards made in the House of Assembly this past Friday [June 22] about the OECD requirements and the signing of tax agreements with various countries.

In recent years the Bermuda Government has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements with nations including, but not limited to, Argentina, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Korea, Malta, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, and Qatar.

Speaking in the House, Mr Richards said “We — in the offshore world — are being required to do things to a higher standard than those in the onshore world. Need I remind anybody that the capital of money laundering isn’t Bermuda, Cayman, the Isle of Man or anywhere. The capital of money laundering is in the USA and UK.”

The statement from the PLP said: “Bob Richards’ rejection of the OECD’s international standards in tax compliance would be an unmitigated disaster for Bermuda’s economy.”

“Bob Richards’ unworkable and unrealistic suggestion would put our economy in danger and could very well land us on a black list and deemed a tax haven.”

Mr Richards said the PLP claiming he rejected OECD standards is “a deliberate distortion and lie,” and went on to say that “financial disaster is already here for thousands of Bermudians. ”

“There’s the Government’s $1.45 billion debt, now costing us more than $300,000 every day in service charges,” said Mr Richards. “That’s a financial disaster made exclusively for Bermuda by this Government.”

The full statement from the PLP is below:

Bob Richards made a risky pronouncement in the House of Assembly that will likely land Bermuda on an international “black list” – and defined as an “uncooperative tax haven” if implemented.

Mr. Richards suggested Bermuda disobey requirements of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD has the power to place countries on an international “black list” and label them “tax havens.”

PLP Candidate for Devonshire East, Neville Tyrrell, noted that Bob Richards’ rejection of the OECD’s international standards in tax compliance would be an unmitigated disaster for Bermuda’s economy.

“Bob Richards’ pronouncement is unworkable and dangerous,” noted Mr. Tyrrell. “It would almost certainly put us on the road to be black listed and labelled a tax haven in the eyes of the international community.”

“Do you think being a black listed country and an internationally known tax haven would be good for our reputation and would help bring business to Bermuda? Quite the opposite. It would be a disaster for our country and it would cause significant damage to our economy.”

“The stakes in the next election are now even higher. The PLP not only moved Bermuda from the OECD’s grey list to the white list, but, under our leadership, we became a respected player in that organization. Our leadership role sends a message to investors and job creators that Bermuda is a reputable jurisdiction open for business.

“Bob Richards’ unworkable and unrealistic suggestion would put our economy in danger and could very well land us on a “black list” and deemed a tax haven.”

The full statement from Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards is below:

The Distortion Express is it again. This time twisting words I did not say into “financial disaster” for Bermuda.

I hope it’s becoming clear to Bermuda that PLP operatives will do whatever it takes to tear down anyone who questions Government performance or policy, no matter what.

That makes me one of their top targets, and so today’s release was not unexpected. It is what partisan fear-mongering brings to the table – distortion, deception and demonizing.

On Friday in the House of Assembly, I questioned Government’s devotion to signing what appears to be an unending series of tax agreements with countries that have no strategic or economic connection to the Island – all to satisfy standards OECD members themselves do not meet.

“We just need to be aware of what we are dealing with here,” I told the House. “I think we have to do what we’ve got to do here, but we have to understand that is the game.”

In effect, I was urging the Government to make sure it was doing the right thing – for Bermuda!

By way of response, the Premier’s people launched an attack based on my “rejection of OECD international standards of tax compliance.” This was a deliberate distortion and lie, and that they should say this cooked-up position would lead to financial disaster for Bermuda is despicable.

Just for the record: Financial disaster is already here for thousands of Bermudians. Just ask the thousands who’ve lost a job, or the thousands who are earning less, and the many who are feeling the pinch more than ever before.

And then there’s the Government’s $1.45 billion debt, now costing us more than $300,000 every day in service charges? That’s a financial disaster made exclusively for Bermuda by this Government.

So let’s keep things as straight as possible here: Bermuda needs intelligent discussion to determine the best course forward for our people. Unfortunately, that’s the not the concern of the Government’s Distortion Express.

Update 8.42am: The PLP offered a reply, which follows in full below:

There he goes again! Bob Richards and the OBA can’t wiggle out of their distortions, because we have him on tape.

“Bob Richards attacked a PLP effort to ensure that Bermuda meets strict international standards and said that the respected international organisation’s requirements amounts to “slow torture.”

“Bob’s wrong. We never said that he said financial disaster – we noted that his party’s risky and unworkable idea to turn Bermuda’s nose at the OECD’s requirements could result in Bermuda being placed on a black list and labeled a tax haven.

“We can all agree that a black listing would be disastrous for Bermuda’s economy – and that’s what happens when you follow Bob Richards’ advice and reject the standards of a respected international institution.

“Based on Bob Richards’ response, it’s clear what kind of change the OBA offers – rapid and reckless change that would be a disaster for Bermuda’s economy.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. A Voter says:

    Bob Richards sounds like he is trying to eat the words he has already spoken. Hell, just admit you mispoke and go forward. I can respect that a lot more than you trying to sell me a bridge in Brooklyn. Politicians, you guys are ALL the same!

    • bob de unbuilder says:

      Does Mr.Richards realize that whenever he opens up his mouth, he puts Bermuda in Danger. I won’t even start to repeat his vile non supportive statements all in the empty promise of putting Bermuda First? He needs to be voted out!

  2. Encyclopedia says:

    Mr Bob Richards is right and he may have suggested a “minimum level of compliance” with OECD requirements, to get by, rather than going overboard in signing TIEAs.

    Also, it is true that jurisdictions like Bermuda have little choice in the matter.

    • LOL (the new) says:

      The problem is, that’s not what Bob said! He called the OECD requirements “slow torture.” He attacked them and the government for pursuing TIEAs. He NEVER said that we should minimally comply with them. You are putting words in Bob’s mouth because you OBA people just want to believe everything he says.

      I’m OBA, but, I’m in international business and let’s be honest. Bob was wrong on this one.

  3. wondering says:

    Bermuda is doomed no matter who is in “guvmint”……all jokes aside though, the current mindset of the PEOPLE of Bermuda will continue to keep us in the doldrums as a country. we need a few paradigm shifts to keep us up to date with the rest of the world and we must show ourselves as a dominant leader in finance, tourism (of varying types) and e-commerce to maintain our position. We are not in the lead anymore as other countries are starting their ventures as IB havens or refurbishing their already existing model.

    Bermuda has lost her way. we have politicians on one side that think Bermuda is only for Bermudians and fail to realize that we exist in a WORLD. THe same bunch who would run down the Queen but accept her honours and awards. on the other hand – we have politicians who only know to oppose instead of work together to make BERMUDA a place for Bermudians to prosper as well as guest workers to support our industries.

    we have Morgan’s Point promised away to build three hotels. pray tell where the other hotels will compete (so I hope that Dupperault, Hunt, Chritensen) have some competitive prices for hotel rooms or whatever it is planned for Morgan’s Point and the Govt has plans to stop fleecing the tourism industry with the outrageous taxes levied on airlines, hotels, etc. we just won’t make any money.

    so back to the point now…no matter what Bob Richards may/may not have said – it doesn’t matter!!!

    we need people who are not in politics just to do the tit for tat game that is being played out in the House of Assembly, Senate and on the back alleys, cinemas, barbershops already. tell me that you(we) don’t see the examples being set for our troubled youth who have less patience and more bullets! Derrick Burgess and Mr Scott fighting is just the same example as the PLP “operatives” twisting Bob Richards words – by his account.

    Mr Richards – we don’t care what you or anyone else says… we care more of what you and your party do and the PLP for that matter!! and being a good opposition isn’t the model we need. the PLP did it for 30+ years and STILL don’t know how to govern. all they did was to give lollipop candy to an unsuspecting public sine 1998 who are now in 2012 chewing on the lollipop stick wondering why it tastes funny…..there ends my slightly cynical tirade.

  4. Bermywan says:

    Lol at “put our economy in danger”

    PLP are comedians now too

  5. Hudson says:

    I have to agree with Richards on this one… financial disaster is already here for thousands of Bermudians.

    PLP’s inability to admit complete failure on the part of our economy is what people should be challenging at every opportunity. Like usual, they shy away from any direct questions or critisicm by deflecting and sending up a cloud of smoke and mirrors.

  6. Claudio says:

    PLP need to get a life and focus on themselves rather than the opposition. they are their own greatest enemy.

    Bob critisized the OECD, from what I read and saw, he never rejected it or said bermuda should not do it… he said it was pointless and that the countries pushing it do not enforce it themselves.

    Stop spinning PLP and focus on your own shortcomings.

    Voters are not as blind as both parties think.

  7. Bewildered says:

    Pathetic. This is like listening to a bunch of 3 year olds. No wonder Bermuda is slowly sinking if this is all the MPs can offer. How many people heard what was allegedly said? I’d guess very few. How many now read the “he said/he said” squabble – the world thanks to the internet.
    All of you grow up and do what you were elected to do, and do what’s best for Bermuda.

  8. Come Correct says:

    Last I checked it was an election that put our economy in danger, not a suggestion. I can’t wait until the next election, and Mrs.Cox, next time you canvas my area, a reply better than “I won’t waste anymore of your time” would be welcomed without the sarcastic grin, funny thing is I don’t think you’ll be as confident this time around, and its my sh!tty grin you’ll be seeing as I walk past you to vote against you. Just like you wouldn’t look me in the eye on that day, I hope you hang your head in shame as the people you swore to work for, but sold out, walk by to cast their votes too.

  9. pebblebeach says:

    Does it really matter….when we miss our first principal payment on our mountain of debt, the country will be supervised by the note holders who will implement austerity measures like we have never experienced…

    Bermuda is another Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Portugal in the making….simply over spent and over borrowed thanks to the Cog…

    Now it wants to float a local bond to cover its current operating costs….no thank you. Will keep my principal and earn $0 interest rather than be told to accept a 50% plus write-off later…it will happen…

  10. say it like it is. says:

    I like the PLP says: a disaster for Bermuda, well, you are a disaster for Bermuda PLP! No matter what you say, of Bob being wrong, you guys have been wrong on practically everything! You guys just will never learn or listen. The OBA will win the next election, you know why PLP? Because we’re all sick of you!

  11. Amazed says:

    It amazes me that this country ever got into financial difficult since we have all these EXPERTS that come on here it is clear they could have saved the country!!