The Bahama Journal has reported:
The Bahamas and other offshore financial centers like it in the region may be able to breathe a little easier after CARICOM has received an "assurance" that the Stop Tax Havens Abuse Bill will likely not bear fruit.
Apparently this was:
one of the issues that Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community discussed with members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Ways and Means Committee on a recent trek to Capitol Hill.
CARICOM Chairman Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said:
We were given the assurance that the bill that is currently written, the experts have all agreed that it is inadequate for what is required and that the positions in relation to the Caribbean which are deleterious to the Caribbean interest would not, in their judgment, see the light of day. That is something which is very positive that has emerged. We have many friends on this committee who understand our position and who are prepared to work with us to carry forward a Caribbean agenda.
He also made the point that the onslaught against tax havens has not come from the regime of US President George Bush.
The last point is important. There's not much chance of a Republican next time. Their agenda is dead. And the mood has changed. The Democrats know that tax justice is firmly on the agenda now. It was for Kerry last time, but it will be even more so now. Barack Obama has embraced it. It would be good if Clinton did too.
And yes, Bahama does have reason to be worried. 20% of its GDP comes from tax haven activity. But as the report notes:
While the ongoing debate rages there are efforts underway to entice jurisdictions away from being tax havens. For instance the Global Tax Justice Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to fighting tax evasion, is lobbying for these nations to be given financial assistance in that regard.
The network's co-ordinator, John Christensen said the tax haven system only helps a select few rich people while poor people pay more tax.
"Our network is pushing also for the smaller islands that need funds to adjust away from being tax havens to be given compensation so that they can develop new development strategies," he said, "but I think they now need to re-think what they're doing."
I assure you, we know that this transition will be difficult. But it's inevitable, so embracing it is vital. Which is what I said in my video, yesterday.