Deputy Premier and Finance Minister E.T. Richards JP MP had a front row seat at key meetings of the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016 in London today, as UK Prime Minister David Cameron pressed an ambitious agenda of global change.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Premier articulately and firmly told UK journalists why Bermuda is not willing to lead the way in making public the details of the beneficial ownership register of companies that the island has maintained since 1939.
In interviews surrounding the Summit, the Minister made it clear that Bermuda could not abandon clients with legitimate rights to privacy until it was a world standard to do so.
The longstanding Bermuda register is accessible to competent authorities by request, while few other countries even have such a register, and those that do, have not yet obtained the Bermuda standard in which the register is automatically updated on a continuous and timely basis.
Although the UK Government has called for public registers, Minister Richards said Bermuda has already set the standard in this regard by having a register in the first place, and won't break the pact of privacy it establishes with clients unless it becomes clear policy for all countries.
To do so, he said, would put Bermuda at a competitive disadvantage.
The whirlwind of interviews for the Minister, which continued today, included Le Monde and BBC World Service, The Times, ITV and The Financial Times.
The Summit was attended by representatives from nearly 50 countries, including 12 heads of state and five UK Crown dependencies and dependent territories.
Also present were senior representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) and the Commonwealth.
The Summit was designed to bring together world leaders, business and civil society to agree a package of practical steps to expose corruption so there is nowhere to hide; punish perpetrators and support those affected by corruption; and, erase the culture of corruption.