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Daily Nation (Barbados)


US think-tank backing Barbados

     If there is any truth "that politics makes for strange bedfellows" look no further than this week's battle between the rich nations and Caribbean states over the operations of offshore financial sectors in the region.

     When representatives of the rich and poor nations talk at Sherbourne Conference Centre, Barbados and its neighbours will find themselves with an unusual ally. 

     It is the Heritage Foundation, one of America's leading conservative think-tanks.

     The foundation whose tunes are usually in sync with Republican fiscal dogma in Washington and around the country has vowed to fight the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tooth and nail during the next few months until the rich nations' fangs have been removed from the offshore centres of the Caribbean. 

     Ordinarily, the Heritage Foundation and the Caribbean islands are on the opposite side of the economic spectrum. 

     The foundation and the Centre for Freedom and Prosperity, which it helped to create, disagree with Barbados and other Caribbean Community (Caricom) states on such key issues as the levels of domestic taxation, import licences to protect local manufacturing, and the policy in Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States of maintaining a fixed rate of exchange for their respective currencies.

     But the two sides have seemingly decided to bury the hatchet on the controversial OECD policy.

     "We want to work with the Caribbean states to ensure that the OECD is stopped dead in its tracks on the issue of offshore financial services," said Dr. Dan Mitchell, senior fellow and top economist at the Heritage Foundation. 

     Andrew Quinlan, president of the Centre for Freedom and Prosperity, couldn't agree more.

     "The OECD's initiative must be stopped because it is designed to raise and not lower the taxes of United States corporations," he said.

     "We think that low taxes are the way to go and what this action by the OECD is really designed to do is to take more taxes away from corporations and individuals." 

     Both the Centre and Heritage plan to step up the fight immediately after the meeting ends in Barbados by taking their case to the Wall Street Journal, the world's largest circulating daily business newspaper. 

     It is understood that Mitchell, Quinlan and others will be meeting in New York in a few days time to tell senior editors of the influential paper why the paper should come out in strong support of the small islands in the Caribbean and why it should blast the OECD.


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