Photo: CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, right, receives a Letter of Credence from new Ambassador of France to CARICOM H.E. Antoine Joly.
CARICOM voices strong objection to new EU blacklist
Greater Georgetown, Guyana – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) “strongly objects” to the recent labelling of some of its member states by the European Union as “noncooperative tax jurisdictions,” CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said when he accredited new ambassador of France to CARICOM, H.E. Antoine Joly, at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, Dec. 12.
The secretary-general urged France to leverage its influence for the EU to desist from “taking such arbitrary and punitive actions against” those CARICOM member states it had blacklisted. Those countries, he emphasized, have not been so labelled by relevant regulatory authorities such as the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD Global Forum.
“This decision by the EU has been based on new and unilaterally-determined criteria that goes beyond the generally accepted international tax transparency and accountability standards that [Caribbean] countries have been diligently meeting over the past several years,” he stated.
“CARICOM strongly objects to this listing of our member states and calls on the EU to remove our member states from this pernicious list,” he added, noting that the community stood ready to discuss this matter with the European Council.
A major consequence of blacklisting was the “de-risking” strategies that include the withdrawal of correspondent banking services by certain international banks, the CARICOM Secretary-General told the French envoy. He said that the impact has had a “detrimental impact on the trade and financial operations” of the region’s economies. “As ambassador to the community, your direct engagement in promoting awareness about the extent of our capabilities and the obstacles we face in our aspirations for economic development is of great significance,” he told the new French envoy.