Premier Joins Call With UK Prime Minister

May 24, 2018

[Updated] Premier David Burt, this afternoon [May 24] joined other OT leaders on a 35 minute phone conversation with UK Prime Minister Theresa May about the UK Parliament’s vote on imposing a public register of beneficial ownership on Overseas Territories.

Cabinet Phone Call Bermuda May 24 2018

The Premier said, “During the call, I restated the Government of Bermuda’s position: this country does not recognize the right of the United Kingdom Parliament to legislate on matters which are internal affairs reserved to Bermuda under its constitution.

“I reiterated our position that Bermuda will implement a public register of beneficial ownership when it is a global standard.”

Update May 25, 7.48am: The UK Government website said, “Prime Minister Theresa May and Lord Ahmad spoke to leaders of the Overseas Territories.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said, “Yesterday the Prime Minister and Lord Ahmad, Minister for the Overseas Territories, held a conference call with leaders of the Overseas Territories with financial centres to discuss company ownership transparency and, in particular, the issue of public registers of beneficial ownership.

“The Prime Minister spoke about the recent passage of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act. She said that she understood that the cross-Party amendment to this legislation that would require the Overseas Territories to create public registers was a matter of great concern for the leaders and that she was conscious of the strong reactions the issue had provoked in their territories.

“The Prime Minister added that the government highly values the relationship with the Overseas Territories and would continue to work in a collaborative and pragmatic way on these issues and others.

“The Prime Minister spoke of the government’s efforts to promote public registers of company beneficial ownership as the global standard and reiterated that we would expect other major financial centres, including the Crown Dependencies, to adopt public registers at that point.

“She also welcomed the importance of the existing cooperation of the Overseas Territories with UK law enforcement agencies and emphasised the need for this to continue and develop.

“She invited the leaders on the call to share their positions and opinions on the issue and made clear that the UK’s aim is to secure the best possible outcome in a way that minimises any possible risks to the economies of the Overseas Territories.

“The leaders looked forward to Lord Ahmad’s visit to the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Anguilla next week, and to the June Joint Ministerial Council in London.”

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Comments (13)

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  1. facts of the rock says:

    Burt and his cohorts will do as he’s told,end of story!

  2. Lame leadership says:

    BA gives Business class suits so get on a plane and advocate for Bermuda position.

    Please show real leadership.

  3. Thats right, tell ‘em Burt.

  4. Clem says:

    “I reiterated our position that Bermuda will implement a public register of beneficial ownership when it is a global standard.”

    I thought the ‘Bermuda standard was all about being a world leader in transparancy.

    The murky world of tax avoidance deprives millions of pounds from the treasury of governments. In the case of the UK, they need to spend lots more money on defence to counter the threats from countries hostile to the values of the international community. This issue is an external global issue(remember the money comes into Bermuda from outside our territorial borders)

    It is hard to see how an externally focussed issue of global tax avoidance can be framed as a local issue. It might be a convienient narrative to spin for 35 minutes, but it is not true.

    • Brain drain says:

      What a load of BS.

      Why don’t you tell us your banking details Clem? So we can see how much you make, spend, your assets etc. That transparent enough for you? The UK doesn’t have a public register of beneficial ownership so it’s OK for them to tell their overseas territories to do it….?

      Governments don’t create wealth or grow the economy so what makes you think they’re entitled to someone’s hard earned dollars? They don’t have a divine right to people’s earnings so there is nothing wrong with avoiding tax – especially coming from the tax haven that is the UK! They give more tax breaks and tax deals to big corporates than we do.

      Hear hear independence!!

  5. Question says:

    If we aren’t careful this will go badly wrong. We can’t look like we’re hiding things.

    There are constitutional and legal defences to this. Burt should be using those, as well as sophisticated diplomatic discussion.

    Reciting slogans and acting ‘tough’ will just make things worse. This is not a two-bit union dispute where you act tough for a few days and the other side backs down.

  6. Kathy says:

    Straight out of Wikepedia…

    The United States “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world”
    Andrew Penney, Rothschild & Co.[1]

    In 2010, the United States implemented the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA); the law required financial firms around the world to report accounts held by US citizens to the Internal Revenue Service. The US on the other hand REFUSED the Common Reporting Standard set up by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, alongside Vanuatu and Bahrain.[2]

    This means the US receives tax and asset information from us for American assets and other income abroad, but DOES NOT have to share information about what happens with other countries’ citizens within the United States. In other words, it has become an attractive tax haven. The obvious solution to this problem is for the UK to press the United States to join the bandwagon and enact a comparable reform. Then perhaps the rest of the world will follow suit.

    Thankfully there are bills in Congress that would accomplish this, including the bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act and the True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act. In addition, the House Financial Services Committee is seriously considering approving bipartisan money laundering legislation, the Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance Act, which would also allow for the collection of ownership information.

    These bills would not go so far as the UK law in the sense that the US Government WILL NOT publicly publish who owns which business entity, rather only make information available to law enforcement authorities trying to crack down on tax evasion and other crimes.

    So, I ask….if the United States (one of the biggest tax dodging nations on planet earth – DOES NOT have to disclose this information and bullies other nations into revealing their data with FATCA requirements, why the hell should we have to make these registers public by way of UK legislation? Wouldn’t this have the effect of people moving their funds from Bermuda to the USA where their details will never be disclosed? Are we crazy to release this data? This is exactly what happened in Switzerland and look at their banks now – EMPTY!

    If the UK continues to press this information to be released, this would be enough of a case for INDEPENDECE! Premier Burt, don’t give in on this one until the entire world releases their data. We have nothing to gain and everything to lose on this decision!

    • Black Panther says:

      Another one that does not understand what “real politique” means and who delusionally refuses to acknowledge that we are a colony to a dominant power that at the heart of the relationship possesses all of the cards.

      That flag you like to wave: is not yours
      That constitution you like to brag about: not yours either

      Those Ministers driving around in those cars: the power they possess is not theirs either but has simply been delegated to them via entrustment…by guess who?

      And the most delusional Bermudians of them all are the black professionals in Bermuda’s corporate world.

      So the evocation of the US being the biggest tax haven is highly irrelevant…to this conversation and speaks to your naivete of geo political matters…

  7. Kathy says:

    Stand your ground, Premier Burt. The US is becoming one of the largest tax havens in the world. If they don’t have to disclose their data, we won’t disclose our data. Tell Theresa May to go and knock on Trump’s door first!!!

  8. Teresa C says:

    Hypocritical of the UK to impose on the Overseas Territories what they do not or cannnot with the Crown Dependencies. It creates an uneven playing field. And the UK itself is not exactly squeaky clean. So to castigate Bermuda whilst Russian, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern money float untrammeled through the UK is hypocrisy of the first order.

    The values of the international community- what precisely are these?
    That is another issue altogether.

  9. rodney smith says:

    What is the alternative ? Do we start talks on independence ? Will the implementing of a public registry cost Bermuda money ? Until or whenever it becomes the global standard do we fold our hands and way ? or are we just tied of saying , ” MOTHER MAY I ? “

  10. Spanner breath says:

    Hello, can I please get a bus schedule and a new transport minister.
    And a bag of chips.

  11. legalgal says:

    The Premier needs to get on a jet plane to Jersey/Guernsey/IOM and see what they are doing right. (Perhaps too late as they are ahead of the game.) Get them on side too. Ensure it is indeed a “global standard” and consider the constitutional issues. Lobby. Take legal advice. Talk to Neuberger, LJ. Not really about tax avoidance/evasion at all. (Opines a constitutional/international tax lawyer) (And watch the current NI/Abortion law/devolution debates carefully.)