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Guernsey Directors Defiant On EU, Talk Independence

Tax-news.com

24 October 1999


At a recent business conference the Guernsey Institute of Directors narrowly voted against endorsing independence but noted that it remained a fall back position in the event that Europe tries to impose a common withholding tax on Guernsey. The question of independence was raised in response to perceived threats from the EU, OECD and UK against the island's tax status.

Bruce Riley summarised the conference position on the perceived threat to Guernsey by saying: 'We do not have to harmonise our taxes but there is no doubt that the pressure is there. If a common withholding tax comes Europe will want it to apply here otherwise business from Dublin and Luxembourg will just flow to the islands. If we have to impose withholding tax that business will go farther afield.'

Guernsey States Deputy John Langlois gave a stern warning to the EU and more particularly UK Chancellor Gordon Brown: 'The EU cannot impose on us but it can make life difficult. Gordon Brown may think he has the right to legislate for these islands. I deny that right.' Despite Langlois's show of defiance, the conference also passed a vote of no confidence in the Guernsey States' members.

Finally, the conference also voted overwhelmingly against the UK joining the Euro and in favour of a casino for Guernsey. So there!

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