St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an independent English speaking nation, located in the Eastern Caribbean. In 1996 there were comprehensive legislative changes to its IBC Act, bringing St. Vincent to the forefront of the world's offshore financial centers as one of the safest and most private jurisdictions.
These legislative changes concentrated on two specific policies in St. Vincent's approach to offshore financial law: ultimate privacy and maximum asset protection. These policies are also reinforced in the new offshore finance laws proclaimed in 1997 and 1998.
IBC's incorporated in St. Vincent are completely free of all taxes for a period of 25 years. There is no requirement to disclose the beneficial owner of the IBC and bearer shares are allowed. There are no exchange controls. There are no tax information exchange treaties with any country.
There is no requirement for books or audited reports to be presented to any authority.
St. Vincent is an independent sovereign nation and will therefore not be affected by the impending UK/EU legislation impacting the British Dependant Territories, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
The Confidential Relationships Preservation (International Finance) Act, 1996 is a further expression of the privacy theme of the new legislative policy. This law elevates the protection of professional confidential relationships and information to a matter of state "public policy".
The Government has reaffirmed that the right to privacy in financial affairs is a basic right of offshore companies and financial institutions in St. Vincent and that it will not help other governments collect their taxes, directly or under the guise of investigations or prosecutions of other purported offences.
The International Business Companies Act, 1996 contains provisions assuring that the privacy of persons will be protected. These provisions reduce the amount of information to be contained in government registers and curtails the right of the public to inspect the registers.
To make this perfectly clear the "Confidential Relationships Preservation (International Finance) Act, 1996 specifically says "The Court hearing an application for directions under this section shall not allow the giving in evidence of confidential information in connection with the enforcement or prosecution, of the civil or criminal revenue or tax laws of another state, territory or other political jurisdiction".
The population of the three islands is approximately 110,000.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines became independent on 27 October, 1979. The system of government is a parliamentary democracy in the UK fashion.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the British Commonwealth with a Governor General appointed by Queen Elizabeth II of the UK. There is universal suffrage for all persons 18 years of age and over. The Prime Minister is the leader of the governing party and, together with his cabinet, forms the executive branch of the government.
The legislative branch is the House of Assembly consisting of 21 seats; 15 elected representatives and 6 appointed senators. Members are elected by popular vote to serve five year terms.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the British Commonwealth, the United Nations, Caricom and other international organizations.