Friday, January 16, 2015

Antigua and Barbuda

The land of the black pineapple, the yellow beach and one or two quite decent cricketers. Allen Stanford ran his Ponzi scheme from here back in the 90s, and the island was the centre of the slave trade for centuries.

But all that is in the past.


Absolutely nothing...

    except statues of Viv Richards, the greatest batsman in history

       (pace Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman),

and what the BBC website describes as "one of the Caribbean's most prosperous nations, thanks to its tourism industry and offshore financial services."

Now "offshore financial services" includes the likes of Allen Sanford, but really it is a euphemism for "tax haven", and for this you need to know about, the website of choice for those of you who want a better understanding of the oceans of feeble excuses and narcissistic greed that separate the world's wealthy from the world's impoverished. A clearer definition of "offshore financial services" is provided on their website-page, as well as a list of all the other tax havens and the countries benefiting from them.

We are much encouraged by those who govern the rich world to believe that global warming and radical Islam furnish the greatest threats to world peace and progress, and while I have no wish to play down either of these, for they are very real threats, the bottom-line of human progress, and the one we could resolve tomorrow if we truly wished to, lies in feeding the hundreds of millions of people who do not have the means of feeding themselves, because, as Leonard Cohen so perfectly summed it up, "the poor stay poor, the rich get rich, that's how it goes - everybody knows". Cohen, I am glad to say, was being sarcastic, but he was nonetheless correct. "Old Black Joe's still picking cotton for your ribbons and bows" - except that we now out-source slavery to the Third World, being rightly too ashamed to tolerate it at home. Nonetheless, there is a direct correlation between poverty in the First and Second, let alone the Third World, and the tolerated, indeed encouraged existence of tax havens; sorry, "offshore financial services".

And before anyone accuses me of hypocrisy, yes, I know, and I acknowledge, that this blog is only possible thanks to Google, and you may well be reading it thanks to Apple, and both companies pay their taxes...take a look at this article at Bloomberg's website to find out more about where and how they pay such taxes as they do pay (Bloomberg himself claims to pay the highest rate of taxes - click here - and to do it where he is supposed to, at home - good on ya Mike!)

Marks For:1 (for Viv Richards, but also several other first-rate cricketers)

Marks Against: 10

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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