“Mother England: What Can She Be Thinking?”

December 14, 2014

“It’s one thing for Britain to flirt with, or appease, the European Union’s bureaucratic bullies in Brussels, but it is quite another to attempt to export their toxic economic orthodoxy 4,800 miles west to their territories in the Caribbean,” a recent editorial from the Compass Cayman said.

The editorial – titled “Mother England: What Can She Be Thinking?” — said, “There’s nothing quite like an external threat to unite a country. Today, the Cayman Islands faces such a threat, not from any enemy but from our maternal relation, the United Kingdom.

“We refer, of course, to England’s insistence that Cayman and our British Overseas Territories brethren implement a public, centralized ownership registry for beneficial owners of locally registered offshore businesses and also — which is more extreme — trusts.”

“Premier Alden McLaughlin declared unequivocally and correctly that this is a potentially disastrous plan that Cayman will resist — and certainly will not spearhead.

“Unless such registers become the new global standard…neither we, nor any other overseas territory or Crown dependency intend to go first and have our economies experimented with and potentially damaged,” the Compass Cayman quotes him as saying.

The position taken by Cayman is very similar to Bermuda’s position, with Finance Minister Bob Richards saying that Bermuda should not move to the new model of regulation until Canada, the UK and USA do, as “to do so without simultaneous similar action by competing jurisdictions would put Bermuda at a significant competitive disadvantage and severely damage our economy.”

In 2013, the G7 — which consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and USA — agreed that beneficial ownership information on companies should be accessible onshore to law enforcement and other relevant authorities and that information could be made available through central registries of company beneficial ownership.

Speaking in the House recently, Minister Richards said that the UK adopted a different approach which he said exceeds the G7’s commitment, with the UK committing to implement a publicly accessible central registry of beneficial ownership information.

Noting that Bermuda established a legislative framework over 70 years ago requiring persons wishing to incorporate in Bermuda to provide central authorities with information on the proposed ultimate beneficial owner of a business, Minister Richards said: “Ironically, there is currently no requirement in the United Kingdom for this information to be filed with a UK central authority.”

The Minister said Bermuda was asked to to consider whether we, together with other Overseas Territories, would be willing to consider the UK model as opposed to the G7 model.

The Government consulted with industry, and the Minister said the consultation concluded there is “overwhelming support for Bermuda’s present disclosure regime,” and that Bermuda should not move to the new model of regulation until its adoption by Canada, the UK and USA.

“Moreover, to do so without simultaneous similar action by competing jurisdictions would put Bermuda at a significant competitive disadvantage and severely damage our economy,” said Minister Richards, adding that the UK has been advised of Bermuda’s position.

The Minister also spoke about this in a recent speech to the Bermuda Society in London, saying: “If we agree to a public register while our competitors around the world do not, we will put ourselves at a distinct competitive disadvantage, a situation that would severely damage our economy…

“Our position is that when the great English speaking western nations – the UK, the US and Canada — adopt public beneficial ownership registers, we will follow suit. It seems only fair that the big countries should lead by example, instead of pushing the dots out front, ahead of the pack,” added the Minister.

The Minister’s position has bipartisan support, with Opposition Leader Marc Bean having said the Opposition supports the position Minister Richards has taken in regards to the UK’s request pertaining to a beneficial ownership public registry.

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Comments (28)

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  1. street wise says:

    Multi-national corporations and the super-rich continue to rule the world. The little guys don’t stand a chance….

  2. sebring says:

    IT will be what the mother country says end of it ! we will adapt to our new reality with ours heads high!

  3. The Minister’s position has bipartisan support, with Opposition Leader Marc Bean having said the Opposition supports the position Minister Richards has taken in regards to the UK’s request pertaining to a beneficial ownership public registry.
    It’s such a pleasure reading the One Bermuda Alliance Govt. as well as the Opposition stand firm when dealing with this issue. Why shouldn’t the “bigger boys” lead by example?

  4. swing voter says:

    so how would you feel if some of your ‘children’ make more money than you (parent)….per capita that is.

    • sebring says:

      per capita really rules out your intended coment!

    • Hmmm says:

      I’d be happy. That is what I hope for them financially.

    • Bermewjan says:

      I’d be very happy! Isn’t that what parenting is meant to be about?!?

  5. Terry says:

    Not knowing much about the aforesaid I will say that Britain has it’s own mess to clean up.

    Next; if your keeping up with currents over there they will be asking us to introduce Sharia Law.

    I need a rum.

  6. Coffee says:

    Independence ! Let’s give up all England offers and focus on making Bermuda the financial jurisdiction of choice for the ultra rich !

    • Lebron says:

      One thing England offers is an EU passport for all Bermudians. Good luck with your visa application every time you want to leave the island.

      • Coffee says:

        Well then , LET’S HAVE OUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO ! Make up your mind people , it’s not often that the tail wags the dog .

      • Kunta says:

        As long as de economy is good go for it, why would I want to fly anywhere else thats worse then me.

    • GoodIdeaBadIdea says:

      Yes that will fix it. Then we can be just another speck on the ocean with no exports, little tourism and a funny accent. Regardless of independence or not, eventually we will have to play ball with the big boys and prove that outer money is “clean”.

  7. Alvin Williams says:

    When we grow up in Bermuda and in the Cayman island for that matter; we will realize that story about the wicked step mother is true.

    • sebring says:

      yes sir ! you are right that is why so many nationals from countries that broke away from ma ma ! are and want live here and and do! many blend in with no ties at all ! until they get some sort of anchor! and like everyone in Bermuda everyone! comes from some where else! and if you can proof your ancestry you can gain documents to your nation of origin! easiest way to say bye to the wicked step monster !

    • mj says:

      not even a “stepmother” more like a fraud… someone whos family TOOK the throne of our Father and Mother… We are the only “Royals” both in Bermuda and Great Britian, its Greatness came from our ancestors; the original “Royals” were all highly melinated and the assumption of the throne by strangers occured after our fall..