Government has vowed to fight vigorously against the amendment passed in the UK yesterday, forcing British Overseas Territories to establish public registers listing the beneficial owners of local companies.

This after MPs in the UK House of Commons debated  and passed amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill.

But it was passed with an additional clause addressing secrecy in British tax havens, which prompted an intense debate.

Now that it has been approved, once the overall Bill has passed by the British Parliament, the Overseas Territories; including Bermuda, will have until the year 2020 to introduce public registers..

Failure to do so will mean the British Government will impose it upon them through Orders in Council.

However, the Bill will be vigorously opposed by the Bermuda Government and other British Dependent Territories, who see the public records register as a threat to their financial services industry.

On hearing the vote, Premier David Burt described the Bill as an “attempt to legislate for Bermuda from London”.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Premier the action taken in the UK Parliament yesterday, “signals a significant backwards step in the relations between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories”.

Premier David Burt

“In the case of Bermuda, it is ironic that in the very year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our Constitution, Bermuda is confronted with this regrettable ‘about face’ which fails to acknowledge this long history of full internal self-government,” said Mr Burt.

“The Government of Bermuda has a strong constitutional position and the people of Bermuda can rest assured that we will take the necessary steps to ensure our Constitution is respected.

“This attempt to legislate for Bermuda from London is a return to base colonialism and is an action that has no place in 2018. It is especially telling that the Crown Dependencies are not included in this amendment which is restricted to the Caribbean OTs and Bermuda.

“Bermuda sets the standard in this area and our reputation for sound regulation is well established, internationally recognized and will be vigorously defended.”

The Premier has repeatedly reiterated in the past, that Bermuda has had such a registry available upon request to overseas authorities for 70 years.

On behalf of the Bermuda Government, he has, and maintains that the establishment of a public register would damage the island’s economy,.

But that point has traditionally fallen on deaf ears with the Labour Party in the UK.

The Bill is now bound for a vote in the House of Lords, which is deemed the more friendly of the two legislative chambers, when comes to the Overseas Territories.

In fact, the House of Lords rejected a similar Commons move on the issue earlier this year in January.