Caribbean Diaspora faces extraordinary times

| June 26, 2016

By David F. Roberts

In spite of the rain and thunderstorm on the evening of June 16th, Caribbean nationals keen to learn of the need to preserve their wealth for their family turned out en masse to the first Wealth Preservation lecture at the British Virgin Islands UK government office in London, BVI House. Organised by CaribDirect Multi-Media in association with its delivery partner Affinity Legacy Planning LL.P the event was geared toward sensitizing Caribbean migrants in the United Kingdom to the importance of safeguarding their hard earned wealth and assets for the ultimate benefit of their offspring within and outside of the United Kingdom.

Deputy Director Government of The British Virgin Islands – London Office, Dr Sandra Besson and Director Benito Wheatley pause for a pose. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Deputy Director Government of The British Virgin Islands – London Office, Dr Sandra Besson and Director Benito Wheatley pause for a pose. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

While recognising Deputy High Commission for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Minister Counselor Mrs Doris Charles and Deputy Director Government of The British Virgin Islands – London Office, Dr Sandra Besson, (who deputized for Director Benito Wheatley), David F. Roberts founder and CEO, CaribDirect Multi-Media observed that the plethora of global events affecting the Caribbean and Caribbean nationals in the Diaspora reflect “a high degree of political and economic unpredictability.” He referred particularly to the impending EU Referendum in the UK and the highly publicized United States general election campaign featuring the controversial billionaire businessman and presidential candidate Donald Trump.

CEO and Founder CaribDirect Multi-Media David F. Roberts addressing audience. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

CEO and Founder CaribDirect Multi-Media David F. Roberts addressing audience. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

The media entrepreneur pointed out the value of the African Caribbean community in Britain by affirming the fact that “companies owned by people of African and Caribbean origin generate an incredible £10billion.” This wealth he suggests should be appropriately managed as part of succession planning to secure an economic future for successive UK-based Caribbean generations.

David F. Roberts outlined the two main objectives of the Wealth Preservation lecture being as follows:

  1. to assist the African Caribbean Diaspora community to protect their assets and wealth through a range of financial and legal instruments which will ultimately help the children of our respective communities to withstand some of the risks of the uncertain world we face; and
  2. to enhance the Caribbean Diaspora’s ability to support economic initiatives geared toward the social / humanitarian development of the Caribbean.
Dr Sandra Besson, Deputy Director, Government of The British Virgin Islands – London Office addressing audience. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Dr Sandra Besson, Deputy Director, Government of The British Virgin Islands – London Office addressing audience. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Dr Besson praised the initiative as being timely and relevant. She took a moment to locate the Virgin Islands among an archipelago of 60 islands with an economy comprised mainly of tourism and offshore financial activities. She said, “In an increasingly globalised world as commercial wealth continues to rise there is a corresponding rise in the accumulation of individual wealth… It is worth knowing that the successes of financial centres such as London, New York, Hong Kong, Switzerland are influenced in some measure by the operations of international financial centres such as BVI, Cayman, Channel Islands, which offer favourable legislative and regulatory environments to enable delivery of financial products to the end client.”

The Deputy Director informed the gathering that “the BVI is regarded as the premier jurisdiction in the world for incorporating international business companies which can be used for a variety of purposes including tax and wealth planning. We have also developed the Virgin Islands Special Trust which involves the incorporated company within a particular trust structure…” All of these tax / financial instruments are key to assisting both individuals and companies to make responsible decisions; areas the series of lectures produced by CaribDirect Multi-Media and Affinity Legacy Planning aim to focus on.

The main feature of the event was delivered by Partner of Affinity Legacy Planning LL.P Sean Freckleton who provided the audience with a snapshot of how a personal tragedy inspired his interest to educate Caribbean nationals in the UK about the need to manage and plan their finances for them and their descendants’ benefit.

Director of Affinity Legacy Legacy LL.P, Sean Freckleton making a point. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Director of Affinity Legacy Planning LL.P, Sean Freckleton making a point. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Sean Freckleton is a specialist tax efficient inheritance planning executive with many years’ experience dealing with inter-generational wealth planning and all forms of Trusts including Property Trusts, Family Trusts, Pension Trusts, Child Trusts, Discretionary Trusts and other legal instruments plus handling inheritance planning tools and strategies that generally help individuals pass family wealth down their bloodline from generation to generation.

His presentation covered many of the above mentioned topics including wills which prompted Sean to emphasize the point that taking out a will does not cause premature death, as many within the African Caribbean community tend to believe. Many guests were pleased to learn that wills are easy and inexpensive to set up and are quite important to ensuring assets and other forms of property are passed down sensibly thereby avoiding the all so familiar unpleasant family squabbles common in the African Caribbean communities. Sean also stressed the need for persons in search of wills to not settle for the cheapest on the market as such wills may not provide adequate protection and professional advice should be sought in making this important decision.

African Caribbean griot and Community-activist Devon Thomas. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

African Caribbean griot and Community-activist Devon Thomas. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

The Affinity Legacy Planning Partner took time to explain how Trusts and Tax efficient inheritance planning can mitigate Inheritance Tax (IHT), prevent dispute and protect wealth against divorce, sideways disinheritance, bankruptcy and long term care fees. He cited examples of high profile people in the United Kingdom who have utilized these instruments for their family’s benefit such as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who left a £6,000,000.00 property to her children with no inheritance tax. These topics generated much enthusiasm and questions from the floor including, ‘what is the average cost of securing these instruments?’

In response, Sean Freckleton aided by one of his delivery partners Antonio Stewart made the point that emphasis should not be placed on the cost of these services but rather on the investment one is making to protect property and wealth created over a long period of time. A one percent investment to protect a property worth in excess of £5,000,000.00 is prudent responsible behaviour. One member of the floor, community griot and activist Devon Thomas, suggested that assets help to create wealth and are commonly recognised by lending institutions. The point was also made by the floor that the Caribbean connection is quite critical as there are several elderly Caribbean nationals who are property owners in the Caribbean whose benefits in Britain have been stopped because the authorities are aware of their assets abroad. We need to provide advice and guidance to these and other folks in similar circumstances.

Deputy High Commission for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Minister Counselor Mrs Doris Charles, networking with guests. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Deputy High Commission for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Minister Counselor Mrs Doris Charles, networking with guests. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

The event was brought to a close by media practitioner and model Amanda Rooney who delivered a moving Vote Of Thanks thanking the organisers, BVI House and the guests for their invaluable contributions to the proceedings. Networking supported by refreshments followed immediately with many guests enquiring about details of the next event. The next in the series of wealth preservation seminars by Affinity Legacy LLP will be announced in due course. These events are supported by CaribDirect Multi-Media. Photos and article by David F. Roberts (assisted by Carol Vaughan-Roberts)

Media practitioner and model Amanda Rooney delivering Vote Of Thanks. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

Media practitioner and model Amanda Rooney delivering Vote Of Thanks. Photo courtesy CaribDirect

 

 

 

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Category: African Caribbean, British Virgin Islands News, Culture & Society, Hot Topics, How Caribbean R U?, UK Caribbean Diaspora News

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