Premier: Bermuda’s real story was told in London
Government “did not take a quantum leap in any commitment or undertaking given in London,” Premier Craig Cannonier told the House of Assembly this morning.
He and Finance Minister Bob Richards told the “real Bermuda story” in London.
“We talked about Bermuda’s highly regarded and well regulated international insurance sector that provides G8 countries with catastrophe risk insurance and pays claims on a timely basis,” he said.
“We explained how Bermuda’s global insurance sector supports jobs in the United Kingdom and in the European Union. We differentiated Bermuda as an international financial centre with a comparative advantage in the delivery of insurance and reinsurance products and services to the global community.
“We stated that it was fundamentally incorrect and misleading to categorise Bermuda as a tax haven.
“We were clear that Bermuda would protect its economic interests.
“We asserted that Bermuda is already committed fully to the fight against tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. We pointed to our compelling history of action in this regard.”
Mr Cannonier and Mr Richards went to London at the request of the British Prime Minister in advance of the UK chaired G8 Summit this week.
The Prime Minister’s main priority was tax information sharing and transparency with respect to who really owns and benefits from companies.
Exchange of information under the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance on Tax Matters was a key topic of conversation, the Premier said.
And he repeated assurances that Bermuda was a leader in providing access to beneficial ownership information.
“Bermuda has publicly stated its support to the review being undertaken to consider a possible new standard of government registries for beneficial ownership,” the Premier said.
“However, it bears repeating that Bermuda is well advanced in this practice and it is really for many of the G8 jurisdictions to catch up.”
He continued: “My Government will work to improve access to information on beneficial ownership of companies.
“In doing so, however, we will not adopt measures that diminish our competitive capacity thereby leading to a loss of jobs in our economy. That would be foolhardy.”