Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has described as “unfair and unwarranted” the European Commission’s 2015 blacklisting of a number of countries, including Barbados, as uncooperative tax jurisdictions.
While delivering remarks at the commemorative ceremony for Europe Day 2016 and the 40th Anniversary of the European Delegation’s presence here, Stuart said Barbados was surprised at the blacklisting.
The prime minister told his audience: “There are reports that in the wake of the so-called Panama Papers, the prospect of another list looms. I trust that this will not materialize and that the European Union has by now recognized that the financial services sector is a vital element of the economies of a number of Caribbean countries, touching their very existence.
“Harm to that sector unleashes a sequel of negative economic and social impacts on our development efforts which cannot easily be repaired, and which undermine legitimate initiatives at alternative options for development to replace those of old.”
He said the European Union had aided the development of Barbados and the region through a number of measures. He pointed out that the focus in the initial stages of the relationship was on sugar and then rum, but the attention was now directed at new areas, such as that of renewable energy.
He noted that Barbados aspires to become a green economy and a large part of this change would involve moving away from expensive fossil fuels. Under the 11th European Development Fund, he stated, Barbados benefits from a EUR 3.5 million allocation which would focus on the energy sector and, more specifically, on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“These funds will surely help us to move to this new phase of Barbados’ existence and towards our stated goal of making Barbados an advanced green economy,” he stressed.
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