Former Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mariano Browne says this country’s blacklisting by the European Union is a pressure tactic.
On Wednesday the European Union identified Trinidad and Tobago as 1 of 23 territories which pose money laundering and terror financing risks.
The EU, in its release, said all of the listed territories either: have systemic impact on the integrity of the EU financial system; are reviewed by the International Monetary Fund as international offshore financial centres, or have economic relevance and strong economic ties with the EU.
Speaking with News Power, Mr Browne said he believes that this country’s failure to share tax information with EU countries may be the real reason behind the blacklist as Trinidad and Tobago fits none of those criteria.
Other countries on the list include nations with terrorist links such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.
Mr Browne suggested that T&T is being bullied by the EU as he believes this is simply a pressure tactic to get the country to fall in line.
Finance Minister, Colm Imbert, has already said that the Government, does not agree with the blacklisting which he believes has been implemented arbitrarily.
He pointed out that the United States has also disagreed with the blacklisting on the basis that that the Commission’s process did not include a sufficiently in-depth review necessary to conduct an assessment related to such a serious and consequential issue.
Minister also claims that the Commission provided affected jurisdictions with only a cursory basis for its determination and only notified affected jurisdictions that they would be included on the list just days before issuance.
He added that the Commission failed to provide affected jurisdictions with any meaningful opportunity to challenge their inclusion or otherwise address issues identified by the Commission.
Minister Imbert stated, however, that the government has no reports of any impact on local banks in their dealing with European Banks in light of the blacklisting.
Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, Minister Imbert gave information on what measures will be taken to have the country removed from the black list.