(CNS): Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin has engaged a constitutional lawyer in the United Kingdom to defend the interests of Cayman via legal challenge and representations to the United Nations following calls by the UK’s Labour party leader for direct rule. As the fallout from the Panama Papers continued to rock the offshore world, Cayman remains in the firing line even though there has been no mention of this jurisdiction in the leaked documents. McLaughlin described the comments by Jeremy Corbyn as preposterous and said they demonstrated a lack of appreciation for constitutional law and the relationship between the UK and its territories.
“I am surprised to hear this champion of oppressed peoples reverting to the worst excesses of 18th Century colonialism,” the premier said in a statement released by his office Thursday. “Mr Corbyn is also damning the Cayman Islands without any evidence of wrongdoing, particularly as our name has not been mentioned in the ‘Panama Papers’ leak.”
He added that Corbyn should be aware that Cayman has “decades of engagement with international initiatives around anti-money laundering and tax evasion”, as he listed the mechanisms and the offshore industry’s credentials on information exchange. Repeating claims that the government and the offshore sector here have been making for years about the high standards in Cayman — which appear to make no difference to global perceptions — McLaughlin said his government, and Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton in particular, were engaging in constructive discussions with the UK about how Cayman will provide beneficial ownership information to law enforcement and tax authorities in Britain to further the fight against crime and tax fraud.
“I am confident from those discussions, as recently as today, that the UK Government does not share Mr Corbyn’s misconceived views,” he said, adding, however, that the Cayman Islands Government was not dismissing the UK opposition leader’s call.
“I wish to be very clear that the government of the Cayman Islands takes the threat of ‘direct rule’ carried by Mr Corbyn’s words most seriously. Indeed, we have engaged top constitutional counsel in the United Kingdom to defend the interests of these islands through legal challenge and representations to the United Nations, should that become necessary,” he added.
CNS has contacted the Labour Party leader for comment regarding his call for direct rule and is awaiting a response from his office.