Cayman Options Open, Including Legal Challenge

May 2, 2018 | 1 Comment

The Cayman Islands is “keeping all options on the table including a legal challenge to the amendment” as the UK House of Commons “seeking to legislate for the Cayman Islands amount to constitutional overreach and are reminiscent of the worst injustices of a bygone era of colonial despotism.”

This is according to the Cayman Compass, who reported that Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin, said: “Imposition of legislation, through powers that date back to the colonial era, over and above the wishes of the democratically elected legislative bodies of the Overseas Territories represents a gross affront to the constitutional relationship we currently have with the United Kingdom.

“Further, imposing such an obligation on the Overseas Territories while exempting the Crown Dependencies discriminates unfairly against the Overseas Territories. This amendment is based solely on prejudice and a wilful misunderstanding of our current regulatory framework.”

Cayman’s Minister for Financial Services Hon. Tara Rivers, added: “Even more unfortunate, today’s actions indicate that, for political expediency, the UK has chosen to ignore Cayman’s high level of ongoing cooperation which is embedded in our laws and international agreements.

“Over 100 tax authorities globally, including HMRC, and UK crime agencies already have access to information which states who owns what and how much in relation to Cayman companies.

“Indeed, verified beneficial ownership information on Cayman structures has been available to the UK’s legal, regulatory and tax authorities for more than 15 years, and our agreement on the sharing of information with the United Kingdom authorities is of such strength that we have committed to reporting within 24 hours, or within 1 hour in the case of a truly emergent situation.”

Premier McLaughlin went on to state: “Since 2013 I have been completely clear that, when public registers become a global standard, the Cayman Islands will adopt them. The actions in the House of Commons today seeks to impose the UK’s own flawed system of unverified public registers upon the Overseas Territories by the end of 2020.”

“The Government of the Cayman Islands is keeping all options on the table including a legal challenge to the amendment which violates accepted and conventional constitutional relationships between the UK and the Cayman Islands.

“The Cayman Islands has its own democratically elected government and is not represented in the UK Parliament. The actions of the House of Commons in seeking to legislate for the Cayman Islands amount to constitutional overreach and are reminiscent of the worst injustices of a bygone era of colonial despotism.”

The Cayman’s comments follow after the UK Government said it will support an amendment to order Overseas Territories to make their ownership registers publicly accessible.

The Bill seeks to use the UK’s power of an Order in Council to make the Overseas Territories introduce public ownership registers, by 2020, with the public registers to adhere to guidelines set by the UK.

The matter has been discussed for years, with the Bermuda Government generally pointing out that the island has maintained a register of beneficial owners for over 70 years, provides the information to official bodies at request and is willing to make it public once it becomes world standard.

Yesterday, Bermuda’s Premier David Burt said, “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.”

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  1. Alvin Williams says:

    And to think when it comes to dirty money and money hidden by all sorts of people;Britain is the leader in allowing them to do it.

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