Island Financial

Island Financial (1552)

BES Islands - In the month of February 2016, under the authority of the Public Prosecutor BES, a criminal investigation, in respect of money laundering, was initiated against two persons, with the initials J. A. the B. and B. G. B., living on Bonaire.

BES Islands - May 16th, 2016 was the ultimate date on which inkomstenbelasting (IB ) (income tax) returns could be filed. 3829 taxpayers did this in time.

The Belastingdienst CN would like to thank all these people for doing so.

This year a total of 7435 IB tax-return forms were distributed. A large number of the taxpayers which have not yet filed their tax return used the extension options offered by the Belastingdienst.

This year it was for the first time also possible to file IB tax returns online.

The Belastingdienst would like to express additional thanks to the people who filed their tax return online, because they helped to increase our experience with digital services.

Naturally the Belastingdienst has already started processing the tax returns. This is done in an automated way but also partly manually. The complexity of a tax return also plays a role in the duration of the processing. The more complicated the tax return, the more time this will take. As a result it may be possible that a partner or neighbour, for instance, receives notification earlier, while they filed their tax return at a later date.

Everyone who filed his tax return by May 16th at the latest, will receive notification from the Belastingdienst before October 1st, 2016. This notification could be in the form of a question letter or the tax assessment.

Tax returns received after May 16th, 2016 will be processed at a later moment. The Belastingdienst will do its utmost to send a notification for these tax returns as soon as possible as well.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica has been following, with concern, the political and economic developments in Venezuela, noting that this country will continue to be a voice of fairness and balance in the region.

“We wish for social and political peace to prevail, for the greater good and welfare of all Venezuelans,” Holness said following bilateral talks with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro at Jamaica House Sunday morning.

Maduro was in Jamaica for a one-day working visit.

“It is our belief that disputes should be resolved peacefully and diplomatically through dialogue, respect for democracy, rule of law and good governance,” Holness said.

There has been a series of protests in the South American country amid rising inflation and declining quality of life especially in the past five months.

“We look forward to a timely and amicable resolution, and a return to stability, for the good of the people of Venezuela,” Holness said.

The Jamaican Prime Minister said, however, that both countries must continue to nurture relations of trust, so that through dialogue about all issues, creative solutions, can be developed guided by the very deep and effective relationship between Jamaica and Venezuela for decades.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - On Thursday May 19th 2016 member of the management board of the Joint Court of Justice Mr. Kelvin Bloyden during a brief meeting at the Ministry of Justice presented the Minister of Justice Mr. Edson Kirindongo with the 2015 annual report of the joint Court of Justice.

 

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - In view of the coming Elections 2016 in St. Maarten, the Concordia Political Alliance party reached out to Benjamin & Parker Certified Risk Auditors after conducting a scan in the consultancy market in the Region, with the objective to develop a new concept to achieve the simplification of the local taxation method effectively.

Benjamin & Parker is a consultancy company versed in High Impact Risk Management and their team consists of Certified professionals of Panama, Colombia, The Netherlands, Ecuador, The USA and the Dutch Caribbean in various financial areas.

The firm accepted the challenge to dissect the current methodology, create an innovative fiscal concept that will emphasize efficiency to relief the Tax Office burden while zooming in on the actual business culture to mitigate tax evasion practices, with focus on consciousness and awareness of the SXM citizen to declare their income in a simplified manner.

Benjamin & Parker’s fields of expertise are Corporate Cost Savings, Efficiency enhancement and progressive Revenue evolution, which are the master keys to the existing problems in the local taxation cycle. The management of BP indicated that times have changed and the tax system must be adapted starting by eliminating the “Dutch” Taxation culture to improve the social economic platform by making St. Maarten financially attractive for local and foreign investors.

The representative of Benjamin & Parker stressed that adapting the Taxation system with business culture promotes employment and employment generates tax revenues.

St Maarten has been confronting the following taxation problems:

  • -Bulk taxations are forced on the business community and the citizens without considering the economic impact hereof.
  • -Increase of unemployment and returning graduates fall in the unemployment pool or faced with lower paying jobs.
  • -Tax bills cycle is circuitous.

The CPA party Leader Mr. Jeffrey Richardson, as a responsible politician, contacted Benjamin & Parker Head Office expressing his concerns, about the ongoing tax inconveniences after CPA assessed the root of the existing inconsistencies and found it necessary to step to the plate to relief the tax burden on both ends, the Tax Office and the Tax paying community by presenting an Efficient Tax simplification.

The Benjamin & Parker’s assessment aims to secure accountability of funds, outline the current waste within the Tax collection cycle and describe the remedial actions to trigger and promote Government income by simplifying the taxation method, in conformity with good governance and efficiency guidelines.

Mr. Jeffrey Richardson and BP Latin American Regional Director Mr. Terence Jandroep CRA are not strangers to each other, considering they were classmates 3 decades ago and graduated together in 1985 in Business Economics.

The combination of ideas, expertise and thorough scanning of the systematic taxation circuit, are the basis for the analysis that will be presented first to the press, and thereafter made public to the voting community of Sint Maarten.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Board of Directors on Monday approved a USD50 million Policy-Based Loan to the Republic of Suriname to urgently address the country’s fiscal imbalances, through support for energy sector reforms.

Suriname has already begun implementing a series of institutional, policy and legislative reforms to stabilise the economy, primarily to address the challenge of a weak operational, policy and regulatory environment in the energy sector. CDB’s loan assists the Government of Suriname with its adjustment programme.

“CDB recognises the urgent need for significant reform within Suriname’s energy sector, which has tremendous potential to transform the economy,” said Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics, CDB. “This Policy-Based Loan signals a collaborative effort to build a sustainable and efficient power sector in Suriname, which can provide an enabling environment to improve competitiveness and improve the prospects for private sector led growth.”

CDB’s support complements the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IADB) ongoing contribution to the institutional and operational strengthening of Suriname’s energy sector. The loan is being provided to Suriname on the basis of a shared policy matrix with IADB under the existing programme between the Government of Suriname and IADB.

The reduction in global commodity prices caused a reduction in Suriname’s economic growth, which is highly dependent on the extractive sector. By the end of 2015, the country’s international reserves had declined to crisis levels—less than two months of import cover. The level of debt more than doubled to 43.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, compared to 2011.

The Bank’s Policy-Based Loan forms part of wider financial support for the Government of Suriname from multilateral financial institutions. Donor financial resources will:

  • close the financing gap which emerged following a sustained downturn in commodity prices;
  • provide the fiscal space needed to support spending in critical social programmes and capital investments; and
  • allow time for the implementation of reforms that are expected to restore balance and lay the foundation for reinvigorating growth.

The Loan aligns to CDB’s Country Strategy Paper for Suriname 2014-2018, which supports the development of legislative, regulatory and institutional reforms in the power sector, and the expansion of physical infrastructure to meet the electricity needs in rural and urban areas.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Leader of the Democratic Party the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams last week questioned the government’s plans for the short and medium term plans for changes to the islands tax system.

Among the proposed changes relates to the implementation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) system.

We asked the DP leader about the discussions on this matter within the confines of the coalition.

It should be noted that she also seemingly was seeking more information on other tax proposals that are currently in the hands of government.

More now via PodCast.

NASSAU, Bahamas – On its current development path, the Caribbean in 2050 will face unmanageable debt, poor growth, and greater socio-economic problems, warns a Commonwealth report launched today at the Fourth Global Biennial Conference on Small States in Seychelles.

The report, Achieving a Resilient Future for Small States: Caribbean 2050, considers current policies and trends in six Caribbean countries – Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana – and makes a 34-year projection across different sectors. The research shows five out of the six countries would have a debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) above 100 per cent – dangerous levels if growth continues to lag. Projections also suggest interest expenditure on debt is likely to sap public finances, reducing funds for development and giving rise to greater socio-economic problems.

The Caribbean faces mounting challenges, according to the report, and unless there are seismic shifts in policy-making, the outlook is stark. Sluggish growth, spiralling debt, high youth unemployment, rising crime rates, piecemeal investment and low productivity all pose serious threats to the region’s future. Climate change also casts a long shadow; small island developing states are most vulnerable to extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing natural resources but lack the funds to plan ahead and minimise risks. The report challenges the status quo and sets out policy interventions in targeted areas aimed at tackling persistent barriers to the region’s growth.

“This publication offers strategies that seek balance for the Caribbean in the survivability of today and the sustainability of tomorrow,” said Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj. “We have taken on board current and future threats facing the region, such as lack of competitiveness, human and financial resource constraints, crippling debt and limited access to development finance and put forward practical steps that set out a new trajectory to help realise the full and rich potential of the region.”

So how can the region transform? The report provides recommendations on productivity, export growth, increasing youth employment and fiscal reform. Findings show a two per cent a year increase in productivity would have the greatest impact on development and growth among the Caribbean countries profiled.  And if a regional focus on productivity is combined with policies aimed at stimulating export growth, the report points out, it is likely growth and debt targets set by governments will be met.

The islands of the Caribbean have made good progress relative to their short-lived independence, the report states, but a number of crises brought about by societal change, natural disasters and economic shocks have created major setbacks. For example, the region has struggled to make progress on development goals because of the protracted economic downturn.  The report attributes the overall decline in economic development to ‘a lack of systemic transformation’ and calls for policy-driven innovation in partnership with the private sector. It also makes a strong case for deeper regional integration.

“At a time when policy-makers are loathe to look beyond the short term, this book takes a long view of the policy challenges facing the Caribbean and reminds us of what could happen if we do nothing today. In doing so, it also initiates a much-needed dialogue on what might be an alternative scenario, and the social and economic policies that could take us there,” said Wendell Samuel, an official from the International Monetary Fund attending the conference.

One of the recommendations to free up revenue and boost growth, the report suggests, is for Caribbean governments to actively pursue sustainable energy systems by investing in new technology and improving efficiency. Living standards will increase, foreign investment will go up because of lower business costs and damage to the environment will go down. This it says will also provide the region with a moral high ground in global climate change negotiations and signal to the rest of world that transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is indeed possible.

CAY HILL, St. Maarten – APS, St. Maarten’s general pension fund administrator, has completed a restructuring process, which has resulted in the reorganization of the organization. The reorganizing brought with it the naming of a new Chief Executive and addition of a Secretary of Board to the APS organizational structure.

The restructuring completion comes five years after the original establishment of St. Maarten’s first general pension fund administrator, as result of St. Maarten becoming a country in October 2010.

Appointed as new managing director is Nadya van Putten, who brings a wealth of experience to the organization, among which are her contributions made while in service of the financial supervision entity, CFT. Her appointment as APS managing director became effective on May 1, when she began leading the operational organization of APS.

Appointment of a new Managing Director signals arrival of a crucially new phase for the organization.

Like other pension funds around the world, APS has had to cope with and prepare for ongoing developments such as the increasing average life expectancy. The latter entails that pensions have to be paid out for longer than anticipated periods.

With an introduction made by APS chairman of the board, Franklyn Richards, St. Maarten’s Minister of Finance, Richard Gibson, recently welcomed the new Managing Director and wished her much strength and success on her assuming the challenge of leading the pension fund.

More…

It was noted how the incoming chief executive officer would not only be expected to continue building on the achievements booked over the course of the past years, but also to adequately prepare for the pending changes related to the payment of pensions.

Globally, governments and pension providers have been addressing reforms with which to make their pension systems more sustainable and affordable.

A major challenge continues to be the extremely low level of interest rates generated by pension funds. Funds are thus forced to reserve additional capital in order to pay pensions now and in the future. One more concern has been that of volatile financial markets and increased legislation and regulation, leading to higher costs and strict requirements imposed on pension funds and their boards.

The situation on St. Maarten and the role of APS in addressing these issues, has been no different than counterparts worldwide.

Ms. Van Putten succeeds Ms. Kendra Arnell, who as of the launch of APS in 2010, provided exceptional managerial leadership to the organization. Her doing so, with great dedication, is today heralded as a major contribution in the building of the fund.

Ms. Arnell has now advances to the new position of Secretary of the Board and Senior Advisor Research and Development. The position is one that falls directly under that of Board of Directors and is one entailing working closely with the Managing Director.

With this different role, Ms. Arnell has been entrusted with the management and coordination of a number of ongoing and future APS projects.

Among these is the managing of developments related to the APS acquisition of Mary's Fancy estate in 2014.

Some of the developments are taking place this month. They include the submission of bids for the renovation of the rock walls as well as the subsequent opening of bids by the consulting engineering firm, ICE, and APS officials. This is to be followed by a review of bids and preparation of an advice for the APS board.

The board approval would precede the awarding of a contract and approval of the necessary budget, where after contractors can be informed and the mobilization officially gets underway, with a rock laying ceremony.

Further developments related to the Mary’s Fancy project are the upgrading of the trench as well as construction of the entrance and exit road to and from the Mary's Fancy property.

The Secretary of the Board is delegated with the ambitious project of constructing some 60 homes at Welgelegen, construction of a much needed vehicle parking structure with offices on ground floor.

Spearheading essential pension reforms is likewise delegated to the board secretary.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Democratic Party leader and Chairlady of Parliament the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams Monday held a press conference during which she addressed a number of matters.

Among them the medium and long term financial outlook for St. Maarten which was addressed last week in Parliament by the Minister of Finance the Honorable Richard Gibson.

The Chair-lady of Parliament the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams has many questions about previous proposals that are currently in the hands of government aimed at addressing the island tax system in particular.

Among them a proposal for the implementation of the Value Added Tax system (VAT).

More now via PodCast.

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