21 July, 2009


Tax Information Exchange Arrangements. The Chief Minister and the Minister of Finance, with assorted public servants and hangers-on, have gone off to London to negotiate an increase in Anguilla’s permissible borrowing facility. For some reason the FCO retains a brake on the borrowing ability of the Overseas Territories. Anguilla is now reaching the uppermost limit of its borrowing, and the government ministers need an increase if they are to maintain the high level of government expenditure they had planned in the immediate period before the general elections due early next year. That negotiation is what they told us the trip to London was about.

Someone has just brought to my attention the following article published on the website of HM Revenue in London. The Chief Minister has signed a Tax Information Exchange Arrangement with the British Government. My correspondent asked me whether it had received much publicity in Anguilla. He enquired if I had any reason to believe that the Bar Association and the Anguilla Financial Services Association were consulted on what impact it would have on Anguilla? The answer to both questions is no, I very much doubt that the Chief Minister consulted with any of the relevant stake holders before he signed this Agreement.

I doubt even the Ministers of government, including the Minister of Finance, had the faintest clue that it was going to be signed.

Revenue probably presented it to him at a briefing, and he would have said, “Okay, just let me sign it while I am over here.”

That is how we run government in Anguilla.


  1. HMG controls Anguilla's borrowing because of their contingent liability. If we fail to repay our government debts, the creditor can look to them for payment.

    Under these circumstances, they would be stupid to do otherwise. They already face enormous contingent liabilities in TCI and Cayman.

  2. There was consultation and the private sector was involved in consultations, both by Carl Harrigan and by the AG. I leave it to you to decide how to deal with it but this is not fair comment.

  3. It would appear from the above comment that I was wrong on the absence of consultation with the private sector, and for that I apologise.

    I still do not approve of learning that Anguilla has entered into a foreign treaty [I know, it was the UK] by learning about it from the foreign media. This information should have come to us through the Anguilla media first.

    Nor do I approve of the secrecy that shrouded the activity. The absence of any release of information both by the government and by the private sector has led to this erroneous conclusion.

    Better could have been done.

  4. "When you have a Government that isn't producing any information, then you have people who listen to propaganda. All this could have been avoided in the first place if information had been disseminated." --Prince, KOOL-FM, 28 January 2005

  5. That was fast.

    The government website has now put out the story.

  6. The Anguilla Financial Services Association (AFSA) has participated in the process, once it was drawn to its attention that the Chief Minister had announced (or re-iterated) that Anguilla was fully committed to the OECD regime/principles. At that point, a working group was set up between representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Attorney-General’s Chambers and AFSA (and subsequently the local branch of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)) to discuss the matter and work a way forward. They, in turn, retained the excellent consulting services of Lorna Smith.

    The issue had become the realization that unless Anguilla joined other jurisdictions which had already capitulated or had become enthusiastic (you choose your phrase) about signing TIEAs, Anguilla could expect to (a) lose good business (b) be blacklisted and/or (c) face sanctions from the UK and elsewhere (and note that Don’s blog mentions that the Anguilla Government went to London to arrange an increase in borrowing – at this stage the Anguilla Government, which would not really be in a position to demand anything, especially from a cash-strapped UK Exchequer, would become aware of the “Golden Rule”: “He who has the gold, makes the rule”).

    Some may wonder if there was any quid pro quo in the context of the signing of the TIEA. Hopefully we’ll be told if that were the case.


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