St. Kitts – Nevis Prime Minister – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 16, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has indicated his intention to mount a stout defence of regional off-shore financial centers at the Fifth Summit of the Americas which gets underway in Port of Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital on Friday.
Dr. Douglas citing US President, the Hon. Barak Obama’s opposition to off shore financial centers said the Caribbean region needs to explain how important such facilities are to Caribbean economies.
“We will need to ensure that not only President Obama understands the implications for the small economies here in the Caribbean region, but also the Congressional persons who would be there. We are hoping that we would be able to have bilateral with them and bring them up to date on our own perspective on this matter,” Prime Minister Douglas told the BBC Caribbean Report in a telephone interview.
He pointed out that St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean off-shore financial jurisdictions are already holding talks with several countries for tax exchange agreements so that “we do not want to be seen as tax-free havens, but rather important jurisdictions of low tax within the framework of appropriate tax agreements with second countries would have been pursued.
The St. Kitts and Nevis leader noted that his twin-island Federation closed its sugar industry in 2005 and since then has accelerated the diversification of the economy in the areas of tourism and hospitality as the leading productive sectors, which are well supported by financial services.
“With what is happening recently with the OCED trying to create another black-listing that we have gotten rid of over the last few years it is on tremendous concern to us,” said Prime Minister Douglas.