Politicians to pow-wow over lawyers’ law

| 10/03/2017 | 75 Comments

(CNS): The premier has extended an olive branch to the opposition benches and asked them to sit down in private on Monday to try and reach consensus on the key provisions of the Legal Practitioners Bill before resuming the debate on the law in parliament on Tuesday, and he said all members had agreed. The proposed amendments to the existing lawyers’ law has caused increasing controversy over the last few weeks, as independent opposition members have railed against the government and the local legal profession, making increasingly wilder allegations in relation to it.

These include claims that law firms hired private eyes to follow MLAs to discredit and intimidate them, and that the financial services minister cannot present the bill because he is part owner of a law firm building and therefore conflicted.

With such accusations flying, the independent members on the opposition benches have become increasingly enraged about the possibility that the law will pass.

Although Premier Alden McLaughlin has enough MLAs on the government benches to force the law through without regard to the concerns raised, he is trying to get consensus so that the bill can be passed with support across the parliamentary floor. In a short comment Friday evening, he said that the debate in the LA Thursday by the members currently opposed to the law demonstrated that most members share the main objectives government has for wanting this legislation to pass.

“My objective is to succeed where two previous administrations have failed by giving the Cayman Islands a modern legal practitioners law. This must be a law that regulates the legal profession, supports and promotes the wide range of legal services provided by Cayman practitioners and encourages employment, training and opportunities for advancement of Caymanian attorneys,” he said. “Following the debate by most members of the opposition yesterday, it now appears that all members of the House, government, official opposition and independent opposition share this objective.”

Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton began presenting the bill Wednesday afternoon, and as he outlined the intentions of the bill, he said he was seeking “to defy the odds which have prevented for many years the critically important bill relating to the modernisation of the practice of Cayman Islands law”.

He said it was meant to regulate the practice of Cayman law, wherever it is practiced and to create fair opportunities for Cayman lawyers.

The three main goals are to create a modern platform of regulations so Cayman can fall in line with international standards and get through the review by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) later this year, to tackle the problem of the law being practiced overseas without oversight, and help in the development of local attorneys and put an end to inequities and discrimination.

Panton went into great detail about the law but also made it clear that this is not a one-time deal that will last forever; if the fears some people have that it is not going to solve all the problems are realized, it can be amended like any other piece of legislation.

See Panton’s presentation of the bill on CIGTV starting at 1:54

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Years of discussion and drafting undone by the typical pre-election caveman economics.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What about the expat paralegal at the big firm who was promoted to attorney, partner and now equity partner. How did immigration in the first place allow an expat paralegal to become an attorney? Now that he was promoted a few months ago to equity partner was a section 51 filing made as to this? All this while Caymanians with 20 + years experience within the same firm are not even told the process to apply for equity partnership.

    • Diogenes says:

      That sounds like a bigfoot sighting. Name names, because otherwise I am going to ascribe the same degree of credibility to that as the MLAs allegation that they are being followed by PIs; based on a text from a man who says he heard it from someone he refuses to identify, even to the police. Paralegal to attorney is a stretch – attorney to equity partner is a pretty huge jump too – for a paralegal its remarkable. Name names or I cry BS.

      • Anonymous says:

        I did not write the above post but do know of at least one expat paralegal that has advanced into equity partnership in a big firm. Winston’s commission of enquiry will get you the names.

      • Anonymous says:

        At least stupid people know Bigfoot does not exist.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you love your country don’t vote PPM!

  4. Cayman Blackhat says:

    No Backdoor deals Cayman Can Alden and Wayne explain why they have to meet in secret to discuss this matter. They got elected on on Good Governance and transparency Wha happen mann?? I guess that was just things you tell the voters to get elected. Well Cayman we are now in the Election season and we need to hold these no good wuttless politicians over the fire. Anyone that takes part in this backroom wrangling should not be reelected and that goes for the opposition too!

    • Anonymous says:

      No backroom anything! The public stuck their necks out to oppose this we deserve honesty and transparency now!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Two things:

    1. If other jurisdiction just as UK and NY require for lawyers to sit their respective bar exams and pay associated fees, then the same process should be applied in regards to Cayman Law

    2. We cannot have the law firms on this Island dictate what the laws should be to suit their own agendas.

    I don’t get why enforcing lawyers who are practicing Cayman Law to sit a bar exam and pay an annual fee to maintain their “registration” or whatever is such a big deal!

    • anon says:

      100% agreed.

      • Anonymous says:

        The big deal is that the fees are obscene taxation. Cayman law takes about a week to work out. The soft work will shift from offshore firms to the local onshore firms as a result of this silly bit of greed and protectionism.

        • Anonymous says:

          Obscene compared to what? 15 minute billing units, one each charged to 100 companies managed by one individual spoken with over the phone for 5 minutes? Millions a year for failing in the country one claims superiority over the locals for hailing from? Billions made by the clients? All of you protest way, way too much! Your self-interest is laid bare for all to see. This is about MONEY, and you will not come out of this battle with all of it anymore! Get used to it! This is the moment you have all been fearing! How does it feel? I suggest you buy a case of Dom and bathe in it for the last time!

        • Anonymous says:

          how? why? Why is it “protectionism” when Cayman enforce laws or processes but it is perfectly fine when other jurisdictions do it.

          I guarantee you that paying a fee like that does not cause ANY law firm to even break a sweat considering the amount of $$$$ they are making annually. They are just going to pass on that cost to their clients anyway.

        • Anonymous says:

          If it was so easy how come you may be breaking so many of our laws. Are you suggesting any breaches are intentional?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! As much money as these firms make I can’t understand their incredible greed! They even complained about the prospect of persons who wanted a Cayman practicing certificate having to fly here to obtain one- unbelievable! If it’s not worth a flight you don’t need them. Have some respect for our jurisdiction!!

    • Sharkey says:

      Anonymous 7 :25 am , you’re 100% correct , and the third thing to your comment is that the lawyer’s society feels that they should be just like the politicians, do you see politicians making laws that pretty much exempt them while they are active politicians. ? They should be required by Law to sit and do a bar exam . If not then I would think that we would be opening up to other things in society .

    • Anonymous says:

      No other jurisdiction would allow firms to get away with holding unqualified persons out as attorneys- heads would roll- as they should here!

      • Anonymous says:

        No other jurisdiction does. It seems they do not know there may be unqualified people practicing Cayman Law in their jurisdiction.

        • Anonymous says:

          Who is they? Every single attorney in Cayman knows this and have known this for a significant period of time. The CILS did a good job shoving it under the rug for so many years but enough is enough. Now they want to legitimise this- give people a reward for breaking the law?

    • Jotnar says:

      Agreed, but ensuring lawyers are qualified is not what they are fighting about. Everyone agrees the status quo needs to change so that lawyers practicing Cayman law are regulated – part if which is about practice fees – but the issue is whether in addition a certain minimum number of those lawyers have to be Caymanian, and Caymanian equity partnership in those law firms.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We need Ezzard and Arden as our leaders with Winston “puppy dog” Connelly as our leaders after the next election so we can go back to the good old days of Cayman. Kitchen bands, smoke pots, washboards on the weekend (Ezzard as a male wouldn’t know what I was talking about), Girls Brigade, seamen were the only people who made Cayman…not Vassel Johnson and these limeys who told him a financial services place would be a good idea in the sixties, not Bill Walker or Macdonald or John Maples or Douglas Calder or Bruce Campbell…..Cayman was built up entirely by the likes of Ezzard and Arden….NOT!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      What an ignorant comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, no, it’s not. It’s an unpleasant sarcastic post but it speaks to something a lot of us non political ordinary Caymanians, not lawyers etc, in well paying jobs in law firms and accountancy firms think about those politicians who we don’t think really have our interests at heart. We believe Ezzard has been a failure in any real job he had (ask Deloitte), Arden is into power and Winston is …wow…terribly disappointing. They would gladly ruin our financial industry because it suits their political ambitions and understandably they are horribly jealous of the furriners living in the gated communities while the rest of us Caymanians struggle along. I am jealous of that too. But creating a Cayman like the one these guys want to create is not going to help any of us.

        • Anonymous says:

          What a bunch on nonsense. How is allowing firms to contravene laws and discriminate against Caymanians for our benefit? You are clearly not a Caymanian at all.

          • Anonymous says:

            And you are obviously not an ordinary Caymanian doing well in our economy and not wanting a$$holes like Ezzard and Arden to spoil things for us.

        • Anonymous says:

          It would let me sleep at night!

  7. Anonymous says:

    We do not want lawyers in the Cayman Islands for obvious reasons.
    Is a lawyer someone who spends years in books, joins a secret society and learns how to circumvent a legal process with a complicit judge and police force OR is a lawyer a person who protects the innocent from harmful influences, by digging in to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God?
    I know someone who as a starry-eyed youngster wanted to be a lawyer their whole life. Well her wish came true and after working in the industry for a couple of years, all her faith in the integrity of the system has gone.
    It’s all about the money.
    Lawyers, please clean up your acts and stop charging us $500 an hour. You are not worth it. It is a scam. And stop wearing those bloody stupid costumes.
    Didn’t your mother tell you? Honesty comes from a clean heart. Sort your damned shit out.

  8. huh? says:

    Alden and Winston ?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why is McKeeva as opposition leader silent? Is he for or against the LP Bill?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to all those brave souls who stood up against this bill and the law cartel! You are warriors and this country is proud of you! We are grateful even if the news corporations choose to ignore you, we have heard you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Marco please please follow your heart. I know you are a man of God. Please do not support this ill willed attempt to take even more from your people.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why no reporting on the seemingly compelling evidence as to potential misconduct now being put forward?

    • Anonymous says:

      I suspect it is because parliamentary privilege was used to present that evidence, damaging to the reputations of both the writers and the firms and persons accused in a way that could easily give rise to litigation in any other context. A news organisation has a completely different set of considerations. Going to war with a cartel of lawyers is something only an elected politician can do, and even then, it’s a tall order. Firms and equity partners of those firms are either getting the message, or adding daily to their list of persons who are going to pay dearly for obstructing this attempt by them to regularise every unfair and discriminatory practice in which they currently engage. Watch this space is all I can say.

      • Diogenes says:

        Well according to the Compass today the compelling evidence consists of a text message from a local lawyer alleging that two law firms arranged for people to dig dirt on the MLAs. Said lawyer, who is presumably one of those opposed to the bill, has apparently indicated that this was based on something he was told by someone whose identity he refuses to disclose, even to the police, and not something they know first hand. There has been no indication how the MLAs got from that to the whole “foreign PIs in breach of the immigration law” or rental cars stuff.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not talking about the spying claim. Talking about the tales of woe from Caymanian attorneys (all of which, by the way, ring true like church bells in the ears of all other Caymanian attorneys).

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you! The news seem to ignore the very powerful statement made by Caymanian attorneys before the LA. That’s the true story here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where is the Attorney General?

        • Anonymous says:

          lo.Attorney General..useless as they come! Time to replace him too..

        • Anonymous says:

          You mean our expat AG? Why would he worry about Cayman? If we want to tell partners in law firms ‘we’ gave them status same for AG, they’re all expats is the starting point so maybe the discrimination should not be based on skin colour or nationality!

          Our fool-fool MLAs still believe if a person is from the Caribbean they have our backs, yet ironically the law firms are probably more concerned about what happens here in order to protect their own interests. They’re not here with historical plans for taking Cayman back from the British.

          Here is an idea, MLAs should be enforcing immigration law across the board then it wouldn’t be so obvious that this is more about getting equity partnerships for certain people.

          Politics must be tiring. Joining the freemasons and long term plans for millions didn’t work out so now the fear is real. Guess what? Where are the efforts to clean up what the Boards can do to circumvent labour laws?

          Where is the cry to Caymanianise the legal department or is the lack of money there a reason to make it less important? Stop focusing on what your buddies from Caribbean want here because they couldn’t get it in their own countries and fix laws that create the loopholes from the start.

          By the way I have always supported changes in the LPB but realise it’s not only the firms that ostracise us when it comes to working in the legal profession, Caymanians can’t even be trained and allowed to work in their own government. Caymanians need to know clearly that our legal departments/DPP/judiciary are all dominated by one nationality and it’s not British or Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        We won’t go down without a fight either

  13. Sharkey says:

    You are only deflecting from the real big issue that is going to follow you for awhile .
    I hope not to your grave but along time .

  14. Anonymous says:

    Surely the word Premier is spelled with the capital letter P. Or is this a slight?

    CNS: We don’t capitalise common nouns like premier, governor, minister, opposition leader, etc, unless it is used in a title. So, we write Premier Alden McLaughlin, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, Minister Panton, Governor Helen Kilpatrick, etc. This is the CNS house style and it is standardised throughout our websites. It’s therefore bizarre that you think this is a slight.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why should they pass it with a view to amend. Isn’t is better to fix it now then pass it . I don’t blame the Independents to hold out and ensure that the law is fair and equitable to all and not just a select few. Piecemeal changing of laws over the years is not the way to go, just refer to the immigration law that has been slaughtered so many times that it is now unable to understand or recognize it. I listened to the debate and it appeared as if some of those trying to get it hastily passed did not even read it before. That would have worked in days long ago but not any longer. It is not just a claim that private eye is following them it is a fact but sometimes one would be foolhardy to give up your source. Not because the police say they could not find any proof means that it is not happening. They could not find who took the drugs from their custody, nor who stole all the motor bikes, but they said it happened and most of us believe that it did. The Independents and many of us on the outside including local attorneys are enraged about the law because it will further disenfranchise our “local ” attorneys. The stories these people are telling are true and Wayne Panton and anyone who seems to be hell-bent on pushing through need to take a step back and pay attention. A NEW DAy DAWNS!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The ppm have shown nothing but disrespect for our people!!!!! I can’t believe I voted for some of these cowards, I’ll never make that mistake again!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Here comes the sellout!

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is really regretful, and the Premier Alden is being deliberately mendacious with the TRUTH. It was Arden McLean who extended the olive branch to the Premier in his troubled state yesterday as it appears his coalition Government could not agree on a way forward with the LPB because of the case made by the Independent members and the flood of signed letters from Caymanian lawyers in opposition to the Bill.
    Alden and his Government spent all day Friday trying to compromise amongst themselves locked in the committee room in what was obviously a secret row amongst them over the Bill. The only indication we had of what was transpiring was the occasional exit from the room by individuals with steam and anger bellowing from their nostrils and ears looking for fresh air and consolation from someone anyone before they explode.

    • Anonymous says:

      If I were one of these mlas or a partners of these firms I’d be on the run! The laws going to catch up with y’all!

  18. Whistle blower says:

    Claims law firms hired private eyes to follow MLAs to discredit and intimidate them. This is paranoid delusional behavior and for those who entertain these crazy claims are just as delusional as they are gullible. Hahaha

  19. Anonymous says:

    A disaster in the making. Years of work to get some progress and a nightmare amendment or two in pre-election pandering to those with no knowledge of the market could result in many many job losses.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it cant benefit CAYMANIANS let it be so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many overseas unqualified attorneys might lose their jobs you must surely mean. The Cartel might lose a few million actually having to follow our laws you must mean? The people of this country might have right done by them and their children. We cannot sell out to special interest

  20. Anonymous says:

    CNS why did you not see it fit to report on ANY of the testimonials of the many caymanian attorneys who opposed the bill whose letter were read on the floor by the opposition who made brace and bold statements clearly testifying to the discrimination and unfair treatments they received at the hands of these firms and the CILS. The testimonials (by named attorneys) who provided details about the mechanisms these firms have used to circumvent the purpose of the legal practitioners bill and the immigration law? The testimonials that our country has lost millions of dollars in revenue by these firms avoiding our immigration law and by allowing unlicensed practitioners to practice without paying for practicing certificates? Perhaps the olive branch is not being extended out of good will but out of desperation. Any member of the LA who supports this bill is telling his or her people that they are not worth protecting, that the interests of billionaires are all that matters in this country and that our elected officials are mere puppets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous at 11:27 please do not hold your breath on that one. Will never happen.Alternative truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      You cannot ignore these serious allegations leveled against the firms and cils. I want to see the end of the cils! I want to see prosecution of the partners who allowed unqualified persons to hold themselves out as cayman attorneys!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    You starting to get it yet guys? Still think the PMM is without merit? Well done Alden and Winston!

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