Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Barbados today, I’m particularly interested to see if the topic of offshore taxation comes up anywhere.
It’s well known that Harper came to power in Canada following a financial scandal involving registration of ships by a company indirectly associated with the former Canadian PM in Barbados’ offshore ships registry. Over the course of a bruising election campaign, Barbados was portrayed as the financial equivilant of a Soddom and Gommorrah, where the rich Canadians stash their billions in secret bank accounts in complete secrecy.
Of course, the truth is somewhat different. Barbados’ offshore banking sector is considerably more closely supervised than many out there. Information exchange agreements and Central Bank supervision make Barbados a poor choice if you want to hide money from everyone.
This will no doubt make for interesting conversation as Mr. Harper and Mr. Arthur greet one another. But then, does any politician take seriously what is said by another politician during a political campaign?