Van Raak: ‘No debt forgiveness for Dutch Antilles’

6 April 2009

Van Raak: ‘No debt forgiveness for Dutch Antilles’

With this statement, SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak gives voice to his conviction that the Dutch Antilles remains a tax haven, and that for this reason the islands' debts should not be written off. Van Raak was reacting to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which has announced that in its view the islands can no longer be described as a tax haven. “According to the OECD everything on the islands is hunky dory," says Van Raak, "because they are cooperating with requests for information. In the meantime tax avoidance via the Antilles continues."

Ronald van RaakThe OECD recently announced that noted tax havens such as the Dutch Antilles would be moved from a "black list" to a "grey list". Their reasoning was that these countries were cooperating with requests for information from foreign tax inspectorates. “According to Tax Research UK, however, these developments mean little while the the books are not in reality open to inspection and tax exemptions are not being addressed," Van Raak says. "In the special economic zones in the Dutch Antilles, the payment of no or almost no tax continues to be the norm."

For this reason the SP will maintain its position of refusing to endorse any further debt forgiveness for the Antilles. "As far as we're concerned," says Van Raak, "debts can only be written off if and when the islands impose reasonable levels of taxation and put an end to tax exemption in the special economic zones.”

Secretary of State Ank Bijleveld, whose brief covers relations within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which the Antilles form part, has so far refused, however, to include the status and nature of the special economic zones in negotiations. "If the Secretary of State maintains his rigid stance and is unwilling to do anything to break the taboo on paying taxes, the SP can only say 'no'," Van Raak concludes.

You are here