20 March 2018



Protesters hold French and Mayotte flags as they gather on the Place de la Republique in Mamoudzou, Mayotte, on 13 March 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe island has been gripped by protests and unrest for the last few weeks

A group of residents from the Indian Ocean French island of Mayotte has been rounding up suspected illegal migrants and taking them to local police.
The move targeted around 100 "foreigners, Comorans and Africans", a member of the group told AFP.
Protests against the economic crisis and illegal immigrants from the Comoros islands have paralysed the island.
Mayotte has been in turmoil since mid-February, with roadblocks, a general strike and protests.
France's minister for overseas territories, Annick Girardin, has condemned the move, saying "this kind of practice does not exist in a department".
She urged the population to let the police do their job, adding that security arrangements were already in place.

Why the unrest?

Locals complain that the arrivals of migrants are putting Mayotte's health, housing and education services under pressure.

Gendarmes control the road traffic and check IDs on 15 March 2018 in Majicavo in the French overseas territory of MayotteImage copyrightAFP
Image captionLocal police carry out security checks on the island

Violent clashes between rival gangs at a school sparked anger over spiralling crime which many residents blame on migrants from the non-French Comoran islands.
Ms Girardin visited the island earlier in the week to negotiate with protest leaders, and an agreement seemed to have been reached then.
But they later said they had felt "betrayed" by Ms Girardin's suggestion that an accord had been reached before they had had a chance to consult with demonstrators.
They announced they were carrying on with their movement, but were willing to hold new talks with government representatives.
French Guiana in South America has experienced a similar influx from Haiti and neighbouring countries in recent years that has also put pressure on under-resourced hospitals and schools.
That led to months-long protests ahead of France's presidential election last year, which prompted promises of extra security forces and funding.

Is there a health crisis in Mayotte?

Nurses feed and care for newborn babies in the nursery and intensive care unit of the Mayotte Maternity Hospital in Mamoudzou on 14 March 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMayotte's hospital is now said to be one of France's busiest maternity hospitals

About 70% of the 10,000 babies born every year in the island's only maternity hospital in the main town of Mamoudzou are born to illegal migrants, mainly from the Comoran islands, according to official statistics.
It is said to be one of France's busiest - to the point that the government is considering declaring the hospital as non-French territory so that children born there do not automatically qualify for French citizenship.
"The truth is we're suffocating in Mayotte. We can't access our hospitals anymore. We have to go to Reunion Island or elsewhere for treatment," Marianne, a protester, told the AFP news agency.
"We can't give birth in Mayotte anymore because there are too many deliveries. Our safety is at stake."

Why is Mayotte French?

Mayotte is an island of 250,000 people that is part of the Comoros archipelago off the coast of Africa.

Mayotte map

The Comoros was a French colony until 1975 when it declared independence.
But Mayotte opted to remain part of France, voting overwhelmingly in 2009 in favour of becoming an integral part of France, mainly because of the economic benefits associated with becoming French.
In 2011, it became the 101st French department, in accordance with the 2009 referendum.
It is a predominantly Muslim country, and although French is the official language, only about half of the population can read or write it.

France Seeks Referendum in Mayotte despite UN Resolutions



EXECUTIVE COUNCIL Fourteenth Ordinary Session 26 – 30 January 2009 Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA 



The Executive Council: 

1. TAKES NOTE of the Report of the Government of the Union of the Comoros on the situation in the Comorian Island of Mayotte; 

2. RECALLS all the previous resolutions of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on the Comorian Island of Mayotte and RECALLS ALSO that the Comorian people, at the referendum of 22 December 1974, expressed their will for independence in the political unity and the territorial integrity of the archipelago of the Comoros; 

3. CONSIDERS that the referendums organized on 8 February 1976 and 11 April 1976 by the former colonial power in the Comorian Island of Mayotte constitute a serious violation of the territorial integrity of the Comoros and 

ALSO CONSIDERS that the inclusion of the Comorian Island of Mayotte in the Constitution of the French Republic is contrary to international law; 

4. CONDEMNS the organization on 29 March 2009 of a referendum on the departmentalise of the Comorian Island of Mayotte and DEMANDS an immediate end to that process; 

5. REAFFIRMS that the Comorian Island of Mayotte belongs to the Union of the Comoros

6. REQUESTS for the immediate establishment of a dialogue between the Union of the Comoros and France in order to determine together the modalities for the return of Mayotte to the Union of the Comoros; 

7. DECIDES to reactivate the Ad-Hoc Committee of Seven on the Comorian Island of Mayotte.

19 March 2018

L’insurrection Guyanaise de mars et avril 2017

La question de l'évolution statutaire repose sur la volonté populaire de s'administrer en tant que pays, entité distincte de la France et de l’État français. Ainsi le mouvement populaire du 28 mars a dessiné les contours définitifs du peuple guyanais avec une communion de destin entre toutes les composantes de la société ; une Guyane que tous doivent reconnaître comme leur seule Patrie.


16 March 2018




 to keep Island Council elections in St. Eustatius

Esther Henry

ORANJESTAD – “We do not want to wait until the decision to keep elections on St.Eustatius is made. We want to mobilize the people to fight for their democratic right to elect their own representatives. Therefore, this is an infringement”, says Xiomara Balentina President of the Brighter Path Foundation.

On Tuesday, February 13, a petition called: “KEEP Island Council Elections in St. Eustatius in March 2019” was started on the online petitioning website change.org. Elections will be held in the BES islands in March next year, but Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops said at the town hall meeting at St.Eustatius that there is a great possibility that Statia’s elections will be ‘postponed until further notice’.

The Hague took over the management of the special municipality of St. Eustatius at the beginning of this month. Marcolino Franco, former Curaçao MP, is appointed as government commissioner of the island for the time being.

Kingdom Support

Balentina continued, “The petition drive is also to keep this cause alive and gather international attention. We have received a lot of support from the Dutch Kingdom and outside of the kingdom. People within the Kingdom are extremely concerned about this case.”

Support from Bonaire

“Save Statia from the ruthless pillagers called the Dutch! They think it is the 15th century all over again! They want to resurrect “Piet Heijn again!” says Bonaire resident Claudette Mertin-Reed, who signed the petition.

Laura Piechutzki, Kings Well Resort owner, who also signed the petition said, “I was born free and have lived free…till now…and I want to continue to be free..only slaves allow others not If we do not respect ourselves, do not expect others to respect us. elected by them to rule them…”

Democratic rights

With the indefinite postponement of elections, the democratic order is all but erased and the citizens of St. Eustatius have been stripped of their democratic rights of participation and representation.

“Being able to elect your representatives is a basic human right in a democracy. If one single person demands respect for that right, he or she should be heard”, expressed former Commissioner and co-founder of Pro Statia Glenn Schmidt.

More support

Signed St. Maarten resident Jurick Thomas, “I stand with my people for our democratic rights.” “It is the democratic thing to do”, stated signed Saba resident Roekje Simmons.

‘Continue to fight’

“If we do not get our wish as a foundation, we are strategising as to how we are going to keep this case alive. We are going to continue to fight until elections are resumed on Statia”, according to Balentina.

Once the signatures have been collected it will be sent to the Dutch Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren, the Secretary of State for Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, and the First and Second Chamber of Parliament in the Hague.

Hard copies
A week later the petition gained 347 signatures. Hard copies of the petition are also placed at key positions on Statia, an island with approximately 3800 inhabitants.

15 March 2018

Power Restored to All Eligible Electric Customers in USVI


Government House

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) announced Friday that electricity had been restored to all eligible customers in the territory. 

In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms in September, approximately 55,000 customers of WAPA were left without service. A joint effort by WAPA, FEMA, Haugland Energy, BBC Electric, mutual aid utilities, other off-island contractors and on-island contractors led to the restoration of service to 90 percent of eligible customers within 100 days. Crews have worked since December 25 to push the restoration total to 100 percent. 

As of March 8, WAPA reported that 55,584 customers able to receive energy had been connected to the system, including 25,546 on St. Croix, 3,611 on St. John, 26,290 on St. Thomas and 137 on Hassel Island and Water Island.

“This is a milestone that everyone should be proud of,” said WAPA Executive Director Lawrence J. Kupfer. “Although I only assumed the leadership of WAPA on March 1, as a resident of St. Croix I am mindful of the dedicated effort of everyone who assisted in restoring service to our customers. It was a herculean task to get to 90 percent in 100 days and a greater task to achieve 100 percent six months after the first winds of Irma affected the territory.”

Kupfer also recognized the critical support provided by local and federal government agencies, private sector companies and organizations that played a part in WAPA’s restoration.

At the height of the restoration, more than 797 off-island electrical workers were in the territory restoring service. Today, just over 200 remain, augmenting local companies and WAPA in completing restoration and in performing other post-hurricane related work.

14 March 2018


Prefectural Assembly repeats request for closure of Futenma stating, “Okinawa is not a colony”
In response to a recent incident in which a piece of Osprey fuselage dropped to the ground, on February 21 the Prefectural Assembly adopted a written statement and protest resolution requesting the immediate closure of Futenma Air Station.

 On February 21, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopted a written statement and protest resolution requesting the immediate closure of Futenma Air Station.
These were adopted in response to a Futenma Air Station MV-22 transport Osprey’s engine intake cowling that dropped to the ground on February 8.
The Assembly pointed out that the repeated U.S. military aircraft accidents constitute extremely unusual circumstances.

Furthermore, the Assembly stated that airborne training exercises continue while there are no signs of improvement to the U.S. military’s safety management systems.
It asserted that it absolutely cannot approve of the U.S. military’s contemptuous attitude toward Okinawans, and that the voices calling for the withdrawal of the Marines from Okinawa are becoming louder.
Moreover, the Assembly severely criticized the U.S. and Japanese governments, reminding them that Okinawa is not a colony.

In response to aircraft based at Futenma Air Station repeatedly experiencing trouble and emergency landings, on February 1 the Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the immediate closure of Futenma Air Station and the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps out of Okinawa or even out of Japan.
The resolution from February 1 and the new resolution are alike in that, for the first time since Okinawa was returned to Japanese sovereignty, they include the words: “Okinawa is not a colony.”]
This more recent protest resolution in response to the Osprey fuselage piece dropping to the ground asks for, (1) a thorough inspection into the cause of the accident and a public announcement regarding the results, (2) a halt to flights and training involving aircraft based at Futenma Air Station over private land, (3) the immediate closure of Futenma Air Station, and (4) a drastic revision of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement.

The U.S. Marines in Okinawa did not report the fallen aircraft part until the Okinawa Defense Bureau made an inquiry about it.

This protest resolution states that the lack of notification from U.S. military to the Japanese government about the accident calls into question whether there was intent to conceal the incident.
The protest resolution is addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty, among others.

13 March 2018



Press Release

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is providing additional support to the recovery of the Territory’s Health Sector through funding from a number of donors.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Ronnie W Skelton said he is grateful for the additional support which came as a result of further discussions with PAHO’s officials. He has also expressed his deep appreciation to the organisation on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands.
Honorable Skelton said, “I am pleased to announce that PAHO has committed to providing a garbage truck for the Solid Waste Department worth over US$200,000 to support our debris management programme and to undertake repairs to the Rosalind Penn Clinic in Long Look.  Essential equipment and supplies are also being procured for the elderly homes on both islands and support will be given to securing building material for clinics throughout the Territory.”
PAHO was one of the first teams on the ground following the impact of Hurricane Irma.  The five member team integrated within the National Emergency Operations Centre and supported the initial needs assessment of the health sector. This team was followed by a number of specialists who supported the emergency medical response activities.
A pledge of $1 million dollars was made to the Ministry of Health and Social Development to assist in the relief and immediate recovery needs.  Commitments were made to providing medical supplies to clinics and the Peebles Hospital, to undertake emergency repairs to the elderly homes on Tortola and Virgin Gorda and to support the Environmental Health Unit.
The repair works and the procurement of the equipment and supplies is expected to be completed by the end of March at which time PAHO will undertake a review of the various interventions and will assess the level of progress being made.
Meanwhile, Regional Advisor and head of the PAHO Public Health Emergencies Programme based in Barbados, Dr. Dana van Alphen said she met with Minister of Health and Social Development in October 2017 and discussed the recovery plan for the Health Sector and the commitments that PAHO will make.
Dr. van Alphen explained, “We had an extremely productive meeting which focused on the progress being made by the health sector and the assistance that was needed to advance the immediate recovery efforts.  We have reached out to a number of donor partners including Department for International Development (DFID) European Commission Humanitarian Aid office, Global Affairs Canada and they have provided the funding required by the Ministry of Health and Social Development.”
“Currently in the BVI, we have Dr. Echeveria of Colombia, an experienced psychiatrist, who is working directly with the BVI Health Services Authority to review the psychosocial programmes in place and to provide support to the mental health teams in the Territory,” Dr. van Alphen added.
PAHO established the new Health Emergencies Programme in September of 2016 which reports directly to the organisation’s director.  The programmes aims to deliver rapid, predictable and comprehensive support to member states in terms of prevention, risk reduction, preparedness, surveillance, response and early recovery in case of any threat to human health, including outbreaks or disasters caused by natural phenomenon, human activities or conflicts.

12 March 2018



The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been commended for its immediate assistance to the Territory following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering conveyed the Territory’s gratitude while addressing the 29th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti from February 26 through 27.
Honourable Pickering said, “We would like to convey the heartfelt appreciation of the entire BVI community for the overwhelming support given to us from the CARICOM community in the immediate aftermath of the storms.”
 He added, “The collective efforts from the Caribbean community have re-emphasised the wisdom of this family of nations as one Caribbean Community, and highlights the value of regional cooperation and integration movement.”
Honourable Pickering addressed the meeting on behalf of Premier, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE and expressed gratitude to OECS and CARICOM, particularly the Government of St. Lucia for accepting BVI prisoners and for temporarily hosting the Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
He thanked the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for making arrangements to welcome BVI Secondary level students to ensure their education towards graduation would not be interrupted.
The entire Caribbean community through the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation was recognised for their assistance in providing crews to assist in the restoration of the electricity distribution network, some of whom are still in the Territory.
Appreciation was also expressed to the Governments of Jamaica and Guyana who sent officials to support the coordination of evacuation and humanitarian relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Irma.
“Indeed as the implications of the destruction wrought by the past hurricane season continues to grip us all, we stand in solidarity with all the people of the region who are currently at varying stages of rebuilding our lives,” the Deputy Premier said.
Honourable Pickering updated the conference on the Territory’s progress in its recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The leaders also reflected on the destruction suffered across the region by the 2017 hurricane season and the urgent need to augment preparations for the upcoming hurricane season.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) presented the report of their activities in 2017 and updated the meeting on the forecast and preparation for the upcoming season.
Bria Smith
Information Officer I
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Telephone: 468-2747
Email: BriaSmith@gov.vg

11 March 2018



Recent Economic Trends and Preliminary Observations on Workforce Data 

Report of the U.S. General Accountability Office

What GAO Found The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ (CNMI) inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) has grown each year since 2012, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

In 2016, the CNMI’s GDP rose by 29 percent, partly as a result of construction investment. While tourism has fluctuated in recent years, visitor arrivals in the CNMI rose by nearly a third from 2016 to 2017. 

After nearly a decade of annual decline, the total number of workers employed in the CNMI increased from 2013 through 2016, according to the most recent available CNMI tax data. Foreign workers made up 53 percent of those employed in 2016, compared with roughly 75 percent in 2002. 

GAO’s preliminary analysis indicates that the number of approved CNMI-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) permits for foreign workers in the CNMI grew from over 7,100 for fiscal year 2012 to nearly 13,000 for fiscal year 2017. 

In addition, GAO identified trends in the country of birth, occupation, and employment duration of foreign workers with CW-1 permits approved for fiscal years 2012 through 2018. Workers born in the Philippines received the highest number of CW-1 permits each year. As of January 2018, 750 CW-1 permits had been granted to construction workers for fiscal year 2018—a 75 percent decline from the prior fiscal year. 

GAO estimated that approximately 2,350 foreign workers with approved CW-1 permits maintained continuous employment in the CNMI from fiscal year 2014 through January 2018. About 80 percent of these workers were born in the Philippines.

Why GAO Did This Study 

Pub. L. No. 110-229, enacted in 2008, amended the U.S.-CNMI covenant to apply federal immigration law to the CNMI after a transition period. The law required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a temporary work permit program for foreign workers. 

DHS is required to decrease the number of permits issued annually, reducing them to zero by the end of the transition period, scheduled for December 31, 2019. To implement the law, DHS established a new work permit program in 2011. 

Under the program, foreign workers can obtain, through their employers, nonimmigrant CW-1 status that allows them to work in the CNMI. The law was amended in August 2017 to, among other things, restrict future permits for workers in construction and extraction occupations. 

Proposed legislation—Senate bill S. 2325—would, among other things, extend the transition period through December 31, 2029; increase the number of available permits from the 2018 level; and set required decreases in the annual numerical limit for the permits. (See figure for past numerical limits established by DHS and future limits proposed by S. 2325.) This testimony (report) discusses (1) recent trends in the CNMI economy and (2) preliminary observations about the number of approved CW-1 permits and characteristics of permit holders, drawn from GAO’s ongoing work. 

GAO updated information about the CNMI’s economy that it reported in May 2017 (see GAO-17-437). GAO also analyzed data and documents from U.S. agencies and the CNMI government.

08 March 2018



Press Release

The Territory’s residents paid homeage to the Virgin Islands’ first Chief Minister, Hamilton Lavity Stoutt at the 23rd Annual Memorial Celebration and 18th Wreath Laying ceremony on March 5.
The ceremony was held at the Cappoons Bay cemetery under the theme, “What would H. Lavity Stoutt do? Right here! Right now!”          
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D, Orlando Smith, OBE said the Territory is commemorating the anniversary with a difference, and that H. L Lavity Stoutt was a man of action, a man of inclusiveness and a man who never forgot to say thank you.
Premier Smith said, “H. L. Stoutt never failed to express his gratitude and appreciation to people. He would have been proud of all the men and women who work in all our utilities and infrastructure and who came out in the early days to get our community back on track. He would have been proud of all the volunteers from here and abroad, of the voluntary organisations and all who sacrificed to give humanitarian assistance and support to the BVI in the time of greatest need.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn said the late Chief Minister was a consummate politician who dearly loved his country and someone who had a passion for the growth and development of the people of this Territory. 
“Today we remember the legacy of a man whose existence and vision has contributed to the benefits that we have come to enjoy as a Territory,” Honourable Walwyn said. He added, “As we continue on our path towards recovery, may we be guided by the principles and lessons that H.L. would have taught us – asking ourselves: what would H Lavity Stoutt do? Right here! Right now!”
Presentations were also made by Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the First District, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie and keynote speaker former Deputy Governor, Mrs. V. Inez Archibald.
The late H. Lavity Stoutt was born on March 7, 1929. He served as Chief Minister of the Virgin Islands for over sixteen years and is credited with establishing the cruise ship pier, creating the Social Security scheme, overseeing the construction of the Central Administration Complex and spearheading the development of the local community college, which is named in his honour.
Mr. Stoutt was at the helm throughout the Territory’s development as an international finance centre and was described as being very passionate and committed to the development of educational opportunities for the people of these islands.  The first Monday in March is declared a public holiday in celebration of the anniversary of his birthday. He died on May 14, 1995.
The Government of the Virgin Islands through the Ministry of Education and Culture celebrates the life of the late Honourable H. Lavity Stoutt as a person of historic significance to the Territory.


Berta McKelly Adams
Assistant Information Officer
Department of Information & Public Relations
Telephone: 468-2740
Email:   bmckelly@gov.vg

06 March 2018

What’s Left in Puerto Rico?

At the founding general assembly of Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party (PDP) in July 1940, Luis Muñoz Marín made a momentous decision. Long an advocate for independence from the United States, Muñoz also recognized that many rural poor viewed the PDP’s position on the island’s political status suspiciously. In a party meeting just days earlier, a militant asked him how the party would demand independence if it won the elections. Muñoz answered: “Political status is not an issue in these elections. The votes for the party will not be counted in favor or against any political status.”
The militant turned away, disheartened — a feeling the then-senator shared: “And I, still an independentista [pro-independence advocate], understood the desolation in his spirit,” he recounted in his autobiography. But this offhand remark would soon turn into party dogma. Muñoz had found the slogan at the heart of his upcoming senatorial campaign, one he repeated thousands of times: “Status is not at issue.”
At the time, many of Muñoz’s colleagues condemned his remark. While his counterparts in the PDP leadership understood the electoral considerations that motivated his pragmatic turn — independence remained an unpopular, even terrifying, prospect for the peasantry in Puerto Rico’s mountainous interior — many were unconvinced.
Vicente Géigel Polanco was a key skeptic. He did not want to leave the future of Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States to a referendum called only on that issue. Heartbroken by Muñoz’s statement, he denounced the senator for abandoning the cause of independence. Though their schism was briefly overcome — Muñoz chose Géigel Polanco as attorney general in his first cabinet as governor in 1948 — they eventually split over a disagreement about how to deal with those responsible for the failed nationalist uprising of October 1950.
Indeed, the divisions within the PDP would persist, even if they were long overshadowed by the force of personality and three-decade-long electoral successes engendered by Muñoz’s leadership. Today, this historic split is crucial to understanding the Puerto Rican political panorama and the emergence of its rising star, San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

05 March 2018


For Immediate Release
March 1, 2018
Press Contact
Richard Motta | 202.445.4558

Plaskett Statement on Virgin Islands History Month

ST. CROIX - Virgin Islands Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett issued the following statement on the 2018 celebration of Virgin Islands History Month:“This year, as we celebrate the life, legacy, and achievement of our Virgin Islands and its people, and the significant events that define us all, we must also remember the journey told, and employ the same resilient spirit of our ancestors in our continued push forward in building upon their many hard-fought achievements. Let us continue our efforts to educate ourselves and the coming generations of our history and our culture not just during March, but every day."

Owain Johnston-Barnes
Bermuda is to open an office in Brussels to protect the island’s interests as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
David Burt, Premier and Minister of Finance, said the office would cut the cost of consultants in Europe.
He said in his Budget Statement on Friday: “Efforts to protect and strengthen the economy will require increased resources to be allocated to external affairs.
“With increased pressures from Europe owing to the EU review of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions together with Brexit, it is necessary for Bermuda to increase its engagement with the European Union and member-state governments.”
The office would fall under the Cabinet Office’s budget, which was increased by $748,000.
The bulk of that rise was listed as going towards the Government’s London and Washington offices.
The London Office will see its budget increase by $403,000, a 39 per cent rise.
The Washington DC office will have its budget almost doubled with an additional $194,000 — a 94 per cent increase.
Mr Burt said the island is not on the recently published list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, but the EU Code of Conduct Group has expressed concerns about the island.
He said: “Since December, the Government has been meeting with various local stakeholders and is in the process of formulating a response to address the European Council’s concerns.
“It is the Government’s view that the mischief that the EU is trying to cure — tax leakage from companies operating in their jurisdictions — has largely been mitigated by advances in international tax transparency and regimes.”
Mr Burt added recent tax changes in the US were the “most pressing threat” to the island’s international business sector.
He said: “Although the tax changes were not directly targeted at Bermuda, many of Bermuda’s international companies have had to make quick adjustments to their operations to avoid an additional tax burden.”
Mr Burt said the Government has continued to work with the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers to protect Bermuda’s interests.
He added: “Although we feared the worst, the resulting tax changes will not be fatal to our insurance industry and may present some opportunities for growth due to the superior regulatory advantages for companies operating from Bermuda.
“Recently, the minister responsible for immigration met with the leadership of Abir and made it clear that the Government will facilitate any transfer of jobs to Bermuda that may result from any restructuring caused by the US tax reform.
“Any transfer of jobs to Bermuda will create additional opportunities for Bermudians, and this government is committed to preparing Bermudians to take advantage of those opportunities.”
The Premier said the Government has remained focused on the island’s upcoming assessment by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.
Mr Burt said the assessment is vital as a poor report card could harm the local economy.
He said: “Other countries that have not done well have seen correspondent banking relationships disappear. If this were to happen in Bermuda, it would pose a critical threat to our financial services industry.
“The full resources of the Government have been marshalled to ensure that Bermuda is prepared for the assessment and we will continue to work with the Bermuda Monetary Authority and our industry partners.”