first_img…on money launderingNothing brings home the ineffectualness of Caricom as much as the main topic on their agenda – correspondent banks in the US and UK putting the squeeze on Caribbean banks. We’re suspected of being lax on reporting on banking transactions that might possibly be linked to money laundering. In the years after WWII, the Caribbean’s become identified with lax laws that permit anonymity for those that want to hide their wealth.Never mind it’s US’s and British citizens that set up the tax shelters ‘cause most of the so-called “Caribbean tax havens”: Cayman Islands, Bermuda; US’s and British Virgin Islands – are still controlled by them. And Switzerland, Delaware, the British Channel Islands and London makes them look like pikers.After decades of US’s and UK’s pretending they weren’t involved as their citizens raked in billions by hiding the wealth of the rich and the criminal – when the Caribbean havens finally bowed after regulations were tightened, the US simply moved in to fill the vacuum. And in this was the supreme irony that CariCom leaders are ignoring. The Caribbean’s clamping down on tax havens came about of the OECD’s imposing standards that are much tougher that the US’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, (FATCA).Even though 97 countries signed on to the OECD standards – the US bluntly refused. And the disparity in standards started the exodus of anonymous money into the US which hasn’t ceased. As one banker quipped, “Hear that ‘whooshing’ sound? That’s money from tax havens across the globe being sucked into the US.” As one Bloomgerg headline announced in January, “The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States – Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the US is a brisk new business.” Now joining Delware, which always was a tax haven, was Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.And it’s not just the Caribbean tax havens that’s bleeding green into the US banking system – it includes the grandaddy of anonymous money – Switzerland – which secretes and estimated US$1.6 TRILLION. But after the OECD standards made several of their banks cough up a US$5 Billion fine, even they started losing green to the US.But why’s the US permitting this? When you cut through all the rhetoric, it boils down to the “vigorish” or “vig”. (Mafia term for “the take” in loansharking – also known as “juice”, “under-juice”, the “cut”). It’s just too much to pass up on.While we know when you’re the US you play by your own set of rules – it’s called “American Exceptionalism” – as we’re being forced to jump through these financial regulatory hoops, can’t CariCom at least mention these points?We at least should protest our violation.…while it languishesAnother sign of CariCom’s ineffectualness can be found on the organisation’s website. In its announcement of the present 37th conclave of heads of government (CariCom Hogs) the best it could boast was: “CARICOM has made great strides, particularly through functional cooperation in, education, in health, in culture, in security. And despite some challenges, its Single Market functions and it is a respected voice in international affairs.”This after 43 years and untold billions of dollars spent – just “functional cooperation in, education, in health, in culture, in security”? But even there, the functional cooperation in education has given us a very credible examination body, CXC…but as to delivering the substance of the product, has shown the governments are doing worse every year. Just look at the results of English and Mathematics at CSEC.Exactly what was done in health, culture and security? We haven’t even been able to have a “Cultural Industries” policy paper much more implementing anything.Mercusor anyone?…but not for the Caribbean PeoplesThe British great unwashed chose Brexit partly because they complained the Brussels’ bureaucrats were getting too involved in their lives.At least West Indians can’t make that complaint against our do-nothing CariCom bureaucrats!!last_img read more