Tuesday, March 2, 2010
This just in: According to the New York Times, former U.S. representative and Merrill Lynch executive Harold Ford Jr. will not challenge New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for the democratic U.S. senate nomination. So what does this have to do with Bermuda? The charismatic businessman is expected to be the keynote speaker at this year’s general meeting of the Bermuda International Business Association (BIBA), an organization of island-based companies that provides services and products to offshore clients. As noted in the BIBA press release, he’ll speak on “the challenges and opportunities that face America and how Bermuda can play a vital role in the U.S. and global economy.” Currently Bermuda’s vital role in the U.S. and global economy is centered around its tax structure or lack thereof—the reason why thousands of international corporations, most of them American, are domiciled here. Bermuda is no tax haven—after all, it’s not Macau or the Cayman Islands for that matter—but White House estimates suggest nearly one-third of foreign profits reported by U.S. corporations in 2003 came from Bermuda and two other low-tax countries (the Netherlands and Ireland). For big businesses it’s more like tax avoidance than tax evasion, even still, it makes Ford’s speaking engagement a particularly odd choice since the former congressman voted to end offshore tax havens in 2004. Just saying. The good news is tickets are still available to Ford’s BIBA powwow Thursday afternoon at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. As for me, well, I think I'll keep the $100 entrance fee in the bank.