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News Article

February 03, 2011
Call for safeguards against firms failing to pay their bills

A $250,000 loss incurred by a leading engineering company has sparked the principal of the firm to call for more safeguards for local businesses.
It’s important, said head of Islands By Design (IBD) Keith Bishop, for Bahamian businesses to be protected from companies they render services
to which are unable to pay their bills. The frequency of these occurrences, he said, counters the intent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in
increasing opportunities for local businesses.
“I fly all around The Bahamas and you see countless failed developments,” he told Guardian Business yesterday. “There is some level of due diligence of course, but if a guy comes in and flatt ...

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News Article

August 25, 2010
CLICO liquidator targets 77 firms

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

CLICO (Bahamas) liquidator is attempting to obtain records on 77 companies he believes are connected to the insolvent insurer's Trinidadian boss, Lawrence Duprey, as he continues his asset hunt on behalf of Bahamian policyholders and creditors, Tribune Business can reveal.

Attorneys representing Craig A. 'Tony' Gomez, the Baker Tilly Gomez accountant and partner, have issued subpoenas seeking numerous documents from US-based companies that acted as bankers/registered agents to entities that formed part of Duprey's Florida-based empire, but these are being resisted by his Florida-based law firm.

In a motion filed with the Florida cour ...

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News Article

April 11, 2012
Russian corruption and laundering through Credit Suisse and other international firms

Astonishing brutality
and corruption in Russia and the laundering of criminal proceeds
through Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Dubai and Cyprus will
be analyzed at the upcoming OffshoreAlert Conference.

After
Moscow-based tax attorney Sergei Magnitsky blew the whistle on a $230
million tax fraud in which his client, UK-based investment advisory firm
Hermitage Capital Management, was one of the victims, he was taken into
custody by the officials he accused and held without bail in primitive
and deadly conditions until he died in his cell in 2009.

The OffshoreAlert Conference will look at evidence of corruption by the Russian...

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News Article

May 05, 2014
DPM: Two firms in running for BEC reform

The government has narrowed the number of potential companies that submitted proposals for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) restructuring deal down to two, according to Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis.
In March, it was reported that accounting firm KPMG had made recommendations and given the government an assessment of all bidders.
However, it remained unclear how many bidders had been forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.
Davis, whose portfolio includes BEC, said in a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian that he hopes to reach a decision on the matter before the government begins debate on the new budget.
The government is expected to begin debate on the 2014/2015 budget at the end of this month.
However, Davis said, "We are not going to rush to that decision."
On March 30, Davis said negotiations had been completed.
He said at the time, that Cabinet was expected to deliberate on the bidders and "know whether the government has accepted any of the options" within two weeks.
Davis previously said the government may not select any of the bidders.
He has also suggested that the government may only engage one company to assist reforming the energy sector.
Asked whether the two companies before Cabinet is any indication of the government's intentions, Davis did not respond directly.
"That proposition is still under consideration, whether we go with one or two," he said on Wednesday.
It also remains unclear whether BEC will remain unified or be split into two companies as originally indicated.
Some observers have said the deal and reform process is four months overdue.
Last August, Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed the government's plans to engage private companies to offer power generation for BEC and gain a management contract to take over transmission, distribution and customer billing.
At the time, Christie said the contract with prospective companies would be signed by the end of last year.
Both Davis and Christie have pledged that the deal will be transparent, amid criticisms from the Free National Movement and Democratic National Alliance about the transparency of the deal.
Davis has promised that government will consult the public before any decision is made.
"The word transparency is a political appendage that one seeks to pull out of the hat whenever there is need for attention, that's what I see," he said in March.
"I mean at the end of the day, the Bahamian people will be fully informed about what is happening and has happened and the timeline."

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News Article

May 16, 2011
LAW FIRM HOSTS TOP GLOBAL ASSOCIATION

The International Bar Association (IBA), the 40,00-plus strong legal organisation, held its Management Board meetings at the Higgs & Johnson Ocean Centre office in the Bahamas.

The IBA is an organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. It influences international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession worldwide. The Management Board represents the leading partners of major firms in countries around the globe, such as the UK, the US, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Australia and the Bahamas.

IBA president Akira Kawamura, of Japan, said in a letter: "It was a delight to be in the Bahamas for the Management Board meetings, ...

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News Article

May 21, 2012
Prime Minister Harper confirms firm end to Canada's military mission in Afghanistan

Chicago, Illinois - Prime Minister Stephen Harper today confirmed
that Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will come to a firm and
final end once the current training mission concludes on March 31, 2014.
The Prime Minister made the announcement at the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) Summit in Chicago.

"For more than a decade, the brave men and women of our Canadian
Armed Forces, the RCMP, and many dedicated public servants and civilians
have made enormous sacrifices to assist the Afghan people," said the
Prime Minister. "Canada will honour its commitment and complete its
current training mission but our country will not have any military
mission in Afghanistan after March 2014..."

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News Article

March 15, 2011
'Drastic stituation' for transport firms over margin 'rises'

By ALISON LOWE

Tribune Business Reporter

and NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

The Bahamian transportation industry will face a "drastic situation" if the Government approves dealer requests for significant increases in gasoline and diesel mark-ups, Tribune Business was told yesterday, especially those locked into fixed contracts to provide their services.

William "Billy" Saunders, proprietor of Majestic Tours, said that while he can "sympathise" with petroleum retailers, who see their profits slashed when oil prices rise due to fixed margins that are controlled by the Government, any change in those mark-ups will "have a tremendous effect" on his bus ...

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News Article

August 15, 2011
Two CIBC First Caribbean Sponsored JA Firms Win 'Company of the Year' Awards

TWO Junior Achievement companies sponsored by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank were announced as winners of the coveted JA Company of the Year award.

FirstCaribbean managing director Marie Rodland-Allen said: "The winnings of our JA teams in Nassau and Abaco, and the bank's continued support of JA, are excellent testaments of the bank's engagement of communities in which it operates with a view of making them better.

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News Article

September 27, 2010
Distributor:Misunderstanding by firms on Similac recall

By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News Reporter
Several stores in New Providence have insisted that all Similac products made by Abbott Labs be removed from their shelves despite confirmation that only certain Similac-branded products were affected by the recent recall.
The recall was made following an internal quality review by the company, which detected the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product produced in one production area in a single manufacturing facility.
According to officials from the Nassau Agencies Limited, local distributors for Similac, since the recall of some brands of the product last week, major stores have been requesting that their entire supply be re ...

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News Article

June 17, 2011
Trust expert suggests tax on foreign financial services firms

The idea of directly taxing foreign financial services companies plying their trade and earning profits from The Bahamas may be gaining some traction in the industry, with an expert calling for a serious investigation into the option.
Adrian Crosbie-Jones, managing director of the Private Trust Corporation Limited (PTC), raised the corporate tax matter before attendees of the Nassau Conference on Wednesday.  Crosbie-Jones said that foreign financial institutions are already taxed on their Bahamian profits, at rates in the 25 to 35 percent range.
"The only problem is that tax is not paid here," Crosbie-Jones said.  "The tax is paid somewhere else.  So the Swiss get the benefit of the profits generated in The Bahamas that are ultimately repatriated back to Switzerland and as a result the Swiss taxpayer has a reduced tax to pay because of the endeavors of Bahamians.
"We've got to start looking at perhaps ways where The Bahamas can benefit and participate to some extent in part of that tax."
The net effect on taxes foreign corporations pay would have to be neutral, at least, Crosbie-Jones told Guardian Business yesterday.  If implemented properly he said such institutions could find they actually improve their profitability, while the country benefits from increased tax revenue receipts.
Though it may seem counterintuitive that such businesses could potentially earn greater profits under such a corporate tax system, Crosbie-Jones explained that the way Bahamian business license fees are handled creates the opportunity. Although the business license is now a tax, it is calculated based on turnover and taken out before net profits are deduced.
For illustration, if a company made $100 in gross profit and had a $5 charge for business licence fees as its only expense, it would book $95 in net profit.  Whenever those funds are ultimately repatriated and taxed, it may pay 30 percent or $28.50 to some other country.  Earnings after taxes would come in at $66.50 in this scenario, The Bahamas taking home $5.  If there was no business licence tax but The Bahamas took 10 percent of net income and the foreign company 20 percent, the company's earnings after taxes move up to $70, The Bahamas' take improves to $10, and the foreign state gets $20.
The example is oversimplified, but the underlying point stands - more government revenue and possibly greater profits for institutions through sharing the tax on net profit. The numbers are small for illustration purposes -- foreign financial institutions may together book hundreds of millions in profits any given year.
Other jurisdictions already have such practices in place, according to Crosbie-Jones, who referenced financial centers like Jersey and the Isle of Man as examples. He said they use a zero/ten percent structure where foreign companies in the financial services industry pay 10 percent and local companies pay 0 percent. If implemented locally, such a regime would also need to exclude international business companies (IBCs) operating out of The Bahamas.  Taxing them could have a number of other negative implications for the industry, not least of them being a loss of competitive position and potentially the loss of the IBC business to other players.
The jurisdiction may even benefit from others recognizing that the business licence is in fact a tax, according to Crosbie-Jones.
"You have a form of corporate tax--you have business license," he said.  "If you were to call it corporate tax, which is in reality what it is, perhaps the whole world would perceive you in a different way."
The introduction of a corporate tax regime deserves serious investigation, according to Crosbie-Jones.  It would require thorough research, and ultimately the implementation of a network of double-taxation treaties to ensure that companies would not end up paying more than they would under the current regime.
The PTC managing director also said the jurisdiction may actually be more vulnerable by not having such a tax in place.  With global regulatory trends eroding privacy as a reason to use this jurisdiction for business, factors like reduced after-tax profits could cause companies to move to jurisdictions where their net take-home was higher.  It is a tide that The Bahamas may not be able to stand against, he cautioned, potentially threatening the entire industry.  Crosbie-Jones urged stress testing of how that and other developments could impact the industry as a whole.
Without a complete study presented to the government illustrating the benefits and measures for a successful implementation, Crosbie-Jones doubted that such talk would amount to anything more than talk.  He suggested that the intellectual and research resources of an institution like The College of The Bahamas could be harnessed to do the necessary ground work.
For all the challenges involved, however, the PTC managing director is convinced that what the government is earning from the industry is 'really nothing compared to what it could be making'.
"Another $100 million to government coffers could be quite dramatic," he said.
 

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