Caribbean News Round-up

Jamaican and Canadians prime ministers
Time-out on tax havens?
Jamaica and Canada on republicanism
Countdown to Turks and Caicos autonomy
Arise, Sir Wes
How long for low tax havens?
CI logo According to Bloomberg’s Businessweek, a number of hedge funds managers are looking with interest as low-tax rate Caribbean countries consider raising their taxation levels.
Businessweek said that, across the so-called “hedge fund havens”, discussions are being held on changing the tax structure.
Bloomberg said that the Cayman Islands, home to more than 10,000 hedge funds - the largest amount in the Caribbean - are considering registration fees, while the Bahamas is considering a tax rehaul and Antigua and Barbuda has announced plans to go after the “tax cheats”.
“Hedge funds and other financial companies such as Bain Capital LLC, co-founded by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have invested in the region to help themselves and their clients lower their taxes, “ Businessweek said.
The business journal pointed out that a number of island nations have undergone debt restructuring since 2004 in the current sickly global economic climate.
“They [the Caribbean financial venues] are in a Catch-22”, the managing director of investments at Oppenheimer & Co in Atlanta, Carl Ross, told Businessweek.
“If they start raising taxes on expats and trying to extract more blood out of the stone, they make it much less attractive to go there.”
Republicanism comes up during Jamaican PM’s Canadian visit
CI logo Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller was in Canada this week to mark 50 years of bilateral relaions.
At a joint press conference in Ottawa, Ms Simpson-Miller was asked about Jamaica’s discussion about becoming a republic as it marks 50 years of independence.
“I do not believe in Jamaica you can find anyone that is a greater fan or admirer of the Queen than I am,” the Jamaican leader told Canadian journalists.
“But we came through from slavery to colonialism, from colonialism to adult suffrage, from adult suffrage to our independence. And we feel that the time is really right for us to be able to determine our form of government.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the issue of removing the Queen as the head of state as “strictly a question for Jamaicans”.
The Canadian media also looked at Jamaica’s ongoing discussions about replacing Britain’s Privy Council with the CCJ.
Canada, while retaining the Queen as head of state, has had its own final Supreme appeal court since 1867.
At a reception in Ottawa earlier in the week, Prime Minister Simpson-Miller told her audience: “Right here, in Canada, we have a Jamaican in the Senate, a former lieutenant governor, provincial ministers of government, members of the provincial legislatures, Jamaicans in academia, philanthropy, business, entrepreneurs, judges, in journalism, health, arts and culture, religion and government."
Prime Minister Simpson-Miller said her country’s nationals had included Canada’s first black judge (Michael Tulloch) and first Jamaican police chief (Devon Clunis).
Jamaicans have even set up a reggae radio station in Canada, home to some 12,000 Jamaicans.

Turks & Caicos – end of direct British control
CI logo A new constitution has been signed into force in the Turks & Caicos, alongside the issuing of the Writ of Elections giving the go-ahead to electoral officers who will oversee 9 November elections and end three years of direct British rule.
The islands' autonomous status was suspended and direct rule imposed in 2009, following allegations of high-level corruption.
Britain's Foreign Office Minister for Overseas Territories, Mark Simmons, said of the constitution coming into force on 15 October that “it marks the beginning of the end of the three-year UK-led interim administration and the countdown to local elections”.
He added: “I am delighted with the progress that the interim administration has made in its efforts to reform and embed the principles of sound financial management and good governance across the structures and government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“The new constitution is a key part of the framework designed to help ensure fair and transparent governance under a new administration.”

According to the Turks and Caicos Sun, Governor Ric Todd has dismissed some local complaints that the new constitution gives him too much power.
He told the TCI Sun that the new administration would not be a “lame duck administration” ( under the new constitution.
Nomination Day for candidates was 25 October.
Arise, Sir Wes 
CI logo Former Windies fast bowler and cricket legend Wes Hall may have been on the Queen's knighthood list in June of this year, but he actually received his insignia on Tuesday 22 October.
Sir Wes, now 75, was officially dubbed and received his insignia from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave at Government House in Bridgetown.
After a legendary bowling career from the 1960s, Wes Hall also served as Barbados’ tourism minister in the 1980s and 90s.
Another Barbadian cricketing legend, Sir Gary Sobers, was also in attendance at the Bridgetown ceremony.
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