Leaders of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have ended a two-day special summit here, critical of the European Union over its decision to name several Caribbean countries on a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions which the Europe said was based on an 'an intense process of analysis and dialogue steered by the Commission'.
OECS chairman and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, told an end of summit news conference that the sub-regional leaders had fashioned a new strategy 'which involves both accommodation and creative resistance' to Europe.
'The discussion on blacklisting was wide and ranging and that is why we said a strategic frame was adopted by the Authority to accommodate Europe where accommodation is necessary and desirable and to resist creatively and we will do so as one,' he told reporters, adding there are several particular elements in the strategy :which we will engage with Europe'.
Earlier this week, The EU Finance Ministers said that based on the Commission's screening, they had blacklisted a total of 15 countries including several Caribbean countries namely, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica and Aruba.
'The list has proven a true success with many countries having changed their laws and tax systems to comply with international standards,' the EU said, adding that over the course of last year, the Commission assessed 92 countries based on three criteria: tax transparency, good governance and real economic activity, as well as one indicator, the existence of a zero corporate tax rate'.
Last month, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their 30th Inter-sessional summit in St. Kitts-Nevis said the blacklisting of CARICOM countries by the EU has brought considerable reputational damage to the Community.
'Despite all member states, with the exception of one, being removed from the EU blacklist, the damage inflicted is irreparable and has consequential implications for building Member States' economic and climate resilience given their inherent vulnerabilities,' they said in the communique issued at the end of the two-day summit.
Gonsalves told reporters that he wanted to make it known 'up front that we reject entirely the notion of a black list.
'How can a group of white countries impose blacklist on countries which are predominately black,' he asked, adding 'I could see them putting a white list, but that list whatever it is called we consider it to...