The Jamaica Gleaner has reported that:
Senator Don Wehby, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, has set up a special advisory committee, headed by tax expert Eric Crawford of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to explore the development of a International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Jamaica.
Why am I unsurprised by PWC's presence? As ever the Big 4 are at the heart of the process of capturing States for the purpose of financial abuse.
The Finance Ministry says of the plan:
This initiative is in keeping with the Government's vision to generate the jobs needed to raise the standard of living and lower the national debt. Jamaica will benefit from this initiative which will, in essence create significant employment for skilled workers, complement our tourism product, increase the presence of Brand Jamaica in the international market and diversify the economic base.
But I note that not all agree. Former Finance Minister Dr. Omar Davies was said to be wary of the plan, fearing that it could result in increased tax evasion. And Central Bank governor Derick Latibeaudiere, while not opposed to the idea, said the government should:
enter the sector with the realisation that Jamaica will come under greater scrutiny from the multilaterals, under anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws.
The central bank is also concerned that the new business coming in would not crowd out the domestic sector. Latibeau-diere said
There are issues of saturation in the market. And there are issues of the source of the monies coming in.
Too true there will be. Just like at the wrecked economies of the Channel Islands and you'll realise that when tax haven status ends in tears, as it surely will there, there's very little else left to pick over.
But progress of the plan is likely. The committee considering it includes:
representatives from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the Companies Office of Jamaica, Jamaica Trade and Invest (formerly JAMPRO), the Bank of Jamaica, the Jamaica Bankers Association, the Jamaica Stock Exchange and other members from the private sector, "including two professionals from the Jamaican Diaspora who have extensive knowledge in the establishment and operations of international financial centres."
As usual, the jury has been rigged. And PWC are right there in the middle of it all.