The real commotion behind that Motion

| 07/03/2017 | 116 Comments

Cayman News Service101 writes: The initial discussions surrounding the recent private member’s motion put forward by MLAs Winston Connolly and Arden McLean centre rightly on the seriousness of the allegations and the potential damage those allegations pose to the financial services industry and the Cayman Islands as a whole. But beyond the short-term importance of that discussion, it’s time to focus now on the potential issues underlying the debate on the revised Legal Practitioners Bill and the motion brought by two politicians.

Thus far, the exchanges among the Cayman Islands Law Society, the two MLAs and the Minister of Financial Services Wayne Panton has led to some political posturing and bad publicity for the industry but not as harmful as one side suggests. But things will become exponentially worse as the debate continues in the public domain. If you think things are getting heated, just wait until Messieurs Connolly, McLean and Panton start the full debate in the Legislative Assembly fully armed with parliamentary privilege. The expected rhetoric, allegations and counter allegations on the floor of the House during the mandatory debate will create further division within our society and among the legal fraternity, and it will escalate coverage in the international media. All for nought.

The key question we should be focusing on is whether Caymanians have been, and are being, treated fairly within the legal profession in terms of employment, training, and opportunities for advancement and partnership.

The answer to that question from the Law Society may well be a resounding ‘yes’. They might argue that the profession has done a lot for Caymanians and has achieved a lot for Caymanians.

The charge by the two MLAs and their supporters is obviously that the sector has not done enough for Caymanians and that a lot more needs to be done.

And the Ministry of Financial Services might argue the economic impact of the sector, and that the new law being championed by Mr Panton will introduce many protections for the benefit of Caymanians in the legal sector.

Those are three reasonable positions provided each party is sufficiently armed with enough evidence.

But that’s not a discussion.

We now need each party at the table with one and only one focus: securing a bright future for the legal services sector and for Caymanians in that sector.

Such a discussion requires a political ‘cease fire’ by all parties and evidenced-based arguments. Ideally, the final judgement and assessment of everything will need to be made by an objective third party. But with three months before an election, that approach seems unlikely. Alternatively, the discussion needs to be moderated by such a third party.

Cayman Finance has likely ruled itself out as the possible mediator in this process because instead of saying “c’mon guys lets work this out”, they have, via their recent statement on this issue, unwittingly implied “one side seems right but c’mon guys lets work this out”.

And where’s the Caymanian Bar Association in all this?

We should all consider that the politicisation of the issue and the perceived arrogance by one or more parties are all just a reflection of personalities and part of the symptoms. The true underlying source of the problem which has stalled this much-needed piece of legislation for over 15 years has absolutely nothing to do with private investigators, reputational harm to the jurisdiction or 2017 political campaigning.

Instead let’s make one genuine attempt to discuss the key question regarding Caymanian participation in the legal sector openly and directly, accept a less than perfect compromise, and move on.

See viewpoints on CNS Business:

Legal Practitioner’s Bill 2016 – layman’s review

LPB: Nothing said, nothing gained

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Category: Laws, Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (116)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The question is “Can any of these Law firms go to any other tax haven and not give partnership to another country’s local lawyer” ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Expat lawyers are cream of the crop?!!! Half of them don’t know their ass from their elbow. It is amazing how little some actually know and how far they get because they are part of the old boys club! Most washed out from wherever they came from, changed their accent and their history and now act like they are special. They are far from it. They couldn’t cut it back home period. They are only trying to keep the pie to themselves and adding a bunch of loopholes into the current bill to allow them to continue on their merry ways.

    Change is coming bobo.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you 11:53. Let us be clear, the real cream of the crop in terms of British lawyers would be those working in magic circle law firms. The migrant lawyers who come to Cayman couldn’t hack it in their own countries because they aren’t the cream of the crop but they come to Cayman and tell Caymanian lawyers they aren’t the cream of the crop. If you aren’t magic circle you are NOT the cream of the crop simple. But I get it, I totally get it. You want to leave the cold misery and come to a country where you can actually buy a nice car and live in a home where your washing machine actually isn’t in your kitchen but please do not label yourself cream of the crop because you wouldn’t be a migrant in Cayman if you could hack it in your own country.

      • Diogenes says:

        Even if it were true, that’s a bit like a non league side complaining that the transfer they have from League 2 couldn’t make it in the Premier Division. Of course, if it were true it would not explain why these sub standard migrants manage to extract higher salaries from their offshore positions then they would get in a magic circle firm. Simply exploiting the locals doesn’t work as an explanation – why aren’t they being replaced by magic circle lawyers eager to harvest the money and the offshore lifestyle? Could it just be that you are wrong, and the law firms are in fact attracting premier talent, which only a handful of local lawyers can compete with in the absence of positive discrimination?

  3. Anonymous says:

    These Equity Partners make 1+, 5+ million a year. There are people starving in Cayman. These have so much and most of us so little. This cannot last.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone give us some names (preferably) but if not hard number of the Caymanian lawyers that they think are already equity partner material in the large law firms, being the apparent focus of the motions, that they think are being specifically and intentionally unduly denied equity?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure many (or most) Caymanian lawyers that would add their own names to the list. That’s doesn’t mean it’s true though.

      We once had a Caymanian lawyer that was a truly terrible attorney. A walking negligence risk. We couldn’t fire her since she was local, and no-one else was going to offer her a job that might tempt her to resign, so it seemed like we would have to keep paying her a salary forever. Then one day she called a meeting and said either we make her partner or she was going to resign! She actually thought that would work. It was a happy day when she cleared out her desk.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it, can someone who is not rabidly partisan explain what the beef is here?

    Here is section 10 of the law, what are Arden et al alleging?

    10. (1) Subject to section 4, a person who, not being admitted to practise and enrolled as an attorney-at-law, or otherwise lawfully authorised, shall, either directly or indirectly, for, or in expectation of, any fee, gain or reward, draw or prepare any instrument relating to movable or immovable property or any legal proceeding, or shall receive any fee, gain or reward for drawing or preparing any such instrument or proceeding, is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred dollars.

    (2) Subsection (1) shall not extend to –

    (a) any public officer drawing or preparing instruments in the course of his duty; or
    (b) any person employed merely to engross or copy any instrument or proceeding.
    (3) In this section, “instrument” does not include-
    (a) an agreement under hand only;
    (b) a letter or power of attorney; or
    (c) a transfer of stock containing no trust or limitation thereof.

    • Anonymous says:

      Section 10 says you have to be lawfully authorized to practice Cayman Law. Arden et al allege there are a significant number of persons practising Cayman Law who are not lawfully authorised. The Law firms themselves confirm that there are large numbers of persons who are in their control who are practising Cayman Law without being authorised. Practising Cayman Law without being authorised appears to be an offence.

      • Jotnar says:

        Section 10 actually says you need to be admitted or authorised to draft instruments. It is entirely silent on providing advice, marketing the business or any other aspect. More fundamentally, Section 3 and 4 of the same law limits the authorisation process to the practice of law “in the Islands”. Nothing about the practice of law overseas. And even if you could demonstrate that it does cover the practice of law overseas, it would not cover attorneys who had been admitted to practice in Cayman before taking up a post overseas provided they still paid for their practicing certificates. Section 9 makes it an offence to act in a civil or criminal proceeding without being admitted, but as such proceedings take place in Cayman, that’s hardly the point.

        Rather than blindly asserting that the law is being broken, it would be far more constructive to accept that the law as currently drafted does not extend to ensuring that people providing advice on Cayman law overseas are subject to oversight and regulation by the Cayman court, and pay an appropriate practicing fee to cover that cost.

        Simply endlessly reciting that the law is being broken without any clear explanation as to how rather falls into the same camp as claiming yo7u are being stalked by PIs and being put in fear of your safety, without any apparent evidence as to either the stalking or an indication why being watched by a PI should put you in fear.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you! The s.10, 3 and 4 wording makes these claims of illegality ambiguous at best. The MLAs know that, but they also know most people aren’t going to read the law. They’ll just hear “Caymanians getting shafted by rich expat lawyers” and jump on the bandwagon and these two MLAs might get re-elected since they pretended to stick up for Caymanians against the big bad law firms.

      • Anonymous says:

        So what if a Maples lawyer in Hong Kong “prepares an instrument” but leaves the governing law part blank (or puts HK law as governing), then a Cayman lawyer makes it a Cayman law document later? The HK lawyer cannot be said to be practicing Cayman law.

        • Anonymous says:

          Is Maples licensed to practice Hong Kong Law? Ooops. Hoist by your own petard?

          • Anonymous says:

            LOL. Exactly the problem. They have to tell the same story to every regulator but no matter what is said, it may be an offense, somewhere.

          • Jotnar says:

            Do try and keep up. They wouldn’t be practicing Hong Kong law. They would be practicing Cayman law in Hong Kong by providing the advice, but not drafting the instruments in Hong Kong. In practice they would have a team in both jurisdictions working on the case. The drafting and any court appearances get done in Cayman, the face time with the client in Hong Kong. Compliant with both sets of regulators.

            The problem here is that the current law is not drafted to deal with how the legal profession has changed over the years under competition from offshore jurisdictions for onshore clients. Nowadays those clients expect same time zone, face to face service, and if they don’t get it., BVI and others (who don’t give a stuff about how much money the law firms make or where they are regulated as long as they keep bringing in the business) are going to eat our dinner. If you want the practice regulated, change the damn law instead of bitching about something drafted 40 years ago not being fit for purpose in 2017.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Surely the lack of Caymanian equity partners is an immigration issue rather than a Legal Practitioners Law issue. Stop giving out work permits when there are qualified and experienced Caymanians who are capable of performing the same positions and the problem is solved

    • Anonymous says:

      It is both an LPL and an Immigration question if and when firms have misled immigration.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman has more senior Caymanian lawyers per (Cayman) capita than the UK however this is not enough. The population is too small so one must attract the best and brightest from around the world in order to secure international financial business. Cayman’s great strength has been its ability to attract talent but more than ever wealth and talent is mobile –and they take their clients with them. If Winston et al get their way the collective brain trust of Cayman will go to BVI, Guernsey, Jersey, Ireland etc and take the business with them. Fifty percent of the governments’ revenue will vanish overnight, there will be mass civil servant layoffs and no money to pay for pensions or health care. As always it will be the poorest members of society that will suffer from misguided political ambition.

      • Anonymous says:

        You cant make that statement, I have 8 years PQE and yet found my employer got a Reg 6 on a work permit for a migrant lawyer’s work permit by telling Immigration I am a junior lawyer…..Immigration don’t even look into things like that and employers will lie to get their friends here.

        • Anonymous says:

          The junior/senior distinction is based on more than just PQE

        • Diogenes says:

          I am sure the thing at the forefront of a ruthless equity partner’s mind is hiring their friends or fellow nationals, rather than the best talent they can get for the price.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:12 exactly. The tourism industry isn’t big enough to support the give me give me’s.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Every time the realtors prepare a land transfer they are in breach of the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s file a motion! Wait, the realtors are also an illegal cartel with illegal contracts that have been thrown out by the courts and no-one has done anything about that either. And while we’re at it landlords are supposed to have been paying stamp duty on leases but never have…….it turns out actually there are a lot of laws here that aren’t enforced.

  8. Anonymous says:

    All you people asking for prosecution of law firms be careful what you wish for. That couid mean the end of the economy here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah yeah, too big to fail. Get it. Whatever. Do not care. Criminals are criminals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whose economy? All I get from many of them is arrogance and disdain in my own country.

      • Diogenes says:

        And all the money to pay for Cayman Airways, the Turtle Farm, over 3000 Caymanian civil servants salaries pensions and healthcare , free education, free healthcare for indigent Caymanians, and ironically the money to pay the MLAs bloated salaries and pensions.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the number of law firms exposed for lax internal processes and hiring their friends who steal their money didn’t end the economy….methinks they’ll be fine. They have litigators, wouldn’t it be great if they won and set precedent….or are you concerned they would lose?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Perfect viewpoint. If we can get some of the politics to stop and a little respect from the upper echelon we might get somewhere on this. What’s going on right now is not good for cayman

  10. Anonymous says:

    Has anybody else thought that maybe, just maybe…. that it takes a special sort of person to become equity partner at one of these law firms. Every once in a while one will come along. Most of those that get there have come from leading Universities (Oxbridge), have exemplary records with magic circle law firms, have an enviable client list that produce $m’s a year of income, and are generally just smarter than the product of what is effectively a little village, with a bad school, that sits on the outside of America with enormous illusion of grandeur. The majority of lawyers I see with a degree from the University of Liverpool wouldn’t have made it past a paralegal in other parts of the world, let alone gained a scholarship to get there in the first instance. I think it’s time to shut up, say thank you, and apologise for biting the hand that feeds you. And I’m not a lawyer.

    • Anonymous says:

      You didn’t need to qualify that you are not a lawyer. That is obvious. If you were and if you were a Caymanian, you would know, like many of us, promotion to equity level is mostly premised on who you know, not what you know. Please reserve your comments for a topic on which you can speak with some authority.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m a lawyer, and he/she is spot on with the comments above. Equity status isn’t a given with any lawyer progression. Many don’t make it, and it’s only the cream of the crop who do – doesn’t matter if you’re Caymanian or American, if you’re not good enough, you don’t get it.
        A chance of a career for Caymanians’ is a right. A career is earn’t.

      • Anonymous says:

        11:15pm This is true and also how you get along with your peers. But what makes it different from anywhere else in the ENTIRE WORLD?? That is just the way it is. EVERYWHERE!!
        Boys Club
        Just like YOUR politicians!

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually 5:14 got it right.

    • Anonymous says:

      Says the dog

    • Anonymous says:

      And as a Caymanian lawyer, educated at the Cayman Islands Law School…Ive spent so much of my career assisting migrant lawyers of the Oxbridge breeding who get to Cayman and have no idea how Cayman statutes work or how processes here work. They still email my gmail asking me questions to help them as they can’t let their Big Four law firm employer know they actually don’t know what they are doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh PLEASE! The current crop of equity partners are NOTHING like the equity partners of the past who trained them and insisted they be promoted! Cayman has always accepted and elevated, first the visionaries and now the mediocre of “magic circle law firms” (interesting you know that term not being a lawyer – have you heard of the silver circle where the latest incipient guard comes from?) It is well known among the profession that the quality of expat lawyer is declining year on year as the offshore world becomes a more acceptable career path. The idea that those who make it are doing it on merit is a fiction! They are being promoted by those who look like them, talk like them, and walk like them, and none of them is going to take this profession and country to any greater heights than it is already at! I guarantee you, the best young Caymanians are at least as good as the failed associates of London, not least because they know the country they work in! This is such laughable naked self-interest!

  11. Anonymous says:

    The writer might not realise this but some local attorneys tried to have a discussion like that years ago and the other side would not listen. They were very arrogant to be honest. Should we try again? Maybe…

  12. Anonymous says:

    How about getting agreement form the Government and the two associations on the following simple concepts that will definitely benefit Caymanians and allow for the practice of Cayman Law overseas.

    • 60/40 equity ownership and voting control anything less incurs an additional premium on that firms work permit so if the firm has 50% Caymanian equity ownership every work permit is subject to a 10% fee increase for the firm that has no Cayman participation they are subject to a 60% premium. Work in some greater penalty for those that don’t comply after a period. It could be that the amount doubles every year that they are none compliant etc.(I would also suggest a fee credit where any firm has in excess of 60% Caymanian legal and beneficial ownership and voting control they be entitled to a (say) 25% rebate on their work permit fees paid over the preceding 12 months provided there was indeed at least 60% Caymanian ownership and control during that period.) Just to be clear there is a requirement for people who want to do business in the Cayman Islands to have Caymanian participation why should law be different.
    • Increase the PQE requirement immediately to 4 years and go to 5 years in three years.
    • Every non-Caymanian practicing certificate for a attorney to practice overseas incurs a annual $25,000 fee. (Will allow the firms to practice Cayman law overseas as necessary but not allow them to be incentivized by not having to pay work permit fees).
    • Ratio of one overseas attorney for every two in the Cayman office in any one overseas location, the cumulative ratio can remain one to one. There is no reason for any one overseas location to have the same number of lawyers practicing Cayman law. If the firm has 100 lawyers in Cayman they should not need to have any office with more than 50 lawyers in any one location they may be able to justify five offices in different jurisdictions with 20 in each but currently the one to one ratio allows them the equivalent in any one overseas office.(If the majority of work is intended to be sent back to Cayman then they don’t need the same amount of lawyers there).
    • Only one member from each firm on the Council, and only two can be non-Caymanian.

    Simple solutions that will definitely benefit Caymanians. Can we get those associations firms and politicians who all are looking out for the best interest of Caymanians to agree?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Winston and Arden are playing politics and happy to take cayman down at the same time. Don’t know where W is running in GT but he’s not getting my vote this time. This is selfish just trying to get political points. If he wants to help why don’t they have a meeting as suggested above? I won’t hold my breath. Smh….

  14. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian this Caymanian that. What about protecting the economic foundation of the country before you worry about whether there are enough pro-Caymanian racial biases in the new law.

    • Anonymous says:

      The foundation of this country is built on CAYMAN soil. Cayman is for Caymanians just as the USA is for Americans and Australia is for Australians. Anyone who does not respect that should leave.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually this is British soil, could you get back to Africa or Jamaica or from wherever you came from? I don’t really want you too, but I would like you to understand the foolishness you propagate.

        • Anonymous says:

          The deal always has been that it work for Caymanians AND foreigners. It is not working for Caymanians. The deal has been broken.

          • Anonymous says:

            It IS working for Caymanians. The country has the highest standard of living in the Caribbean because of it’s status as a financial centre. Every business, including the law firms, employs Caymanians and pays them well, and pays for health care and makes pension contributions. Every firm is willing to promote a Caymanian that meets the grade. Those expat lawyers you hate so much take their money you resent them earning and spend it here on the island in businesses that are at least 60% Caymanian owned.

        • Anonymous says:

          And there Ladies and gentleman is the case in point.

          You sir should respect our little island. You are an embarrassment.

          • Anonymous says:

            And there Ladies and Gentlemen is why Caymanians do not always do as well as they could. They “deserve” respect. No Bobo, you earn it and comments like your will ensure that don’t happen any time soon.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is Cayman soil bobo! If you need let me show you what time it is!

          • Anonymous says:

            Looks like it was 7:35. We can tell time on our own.

          • Anonymous says:

            And 7.35, the Queen is your boss. I’ll give you a clue, her picture is one of the first things you see in the immigration hall at Owen Roberts. Your picture is not there and there is a reason for that.

        • Anonymous says:

          It was not British soil until Britain, like the plague…forced itself upon countries already formed and raised out of the sea. Cayman wasn’t “born” British it became a BOTC because the british refused to stay in their own country..which is rich from a country that voted yes to Brexit.

          • Anonymous says:

            Please don’t make the rest of Caymanians look stupid 8:59am. Caymanians are deserters from Cromwell’s army so Caymanians are British mixed in with Jamaicans. Some people forget where we came from. We are British. We were born British. Learn your ancestry.

            • Anonymous says:

              My point exactly, the British came HERE from Britain. They aren’t indigenous to the Caribbean. They arrived from elsewhere and took the land and then turn around and tell others to get out of Britain. Please do not procreate.

      • Anonymous says:

        4:27pm – Really?? That’s rich. Is that why all the illegal immigrants in the USA are arguing that they shouldn’t have to leave!!?!?!?!???? HA. HA.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s your type of attitude that has stalled the law for past few years. It’s also the reason why it won’t get passed. You see the Caymanians this Caymanians that part is actually important. These boys might be playing politics but you cannot throw away real issues with their politics. Show a little respect for the Caymanian this Caymanian that concern and you will see how quickly we get progress. Just a little respect. Not overkill or anything….

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously? Did you not read anything in the viewpoint? That’s the whole point show some appreciation for the concern behind the politics and maybe we get somewhere. I hope others respond less politely to you!

  15. Anonymous says:

    There was a commotion on Rooster this morning between Steve Mcfield and the law society guy. Old Stevie was very aggressive and went way back to the days of discrimination. that was a perfect example of the need for people to listen to each other and stop arguing for argument sake. I think they tried to calm him down but my brethren wouldn’t ease up. but where there smoke there fire so I don’t blame him. if we can get somebody to manage a meeting with these people maybe we can get to the bottom of it. but they all need to give and take even the politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where there is smoke there is fire…you mean like the Bowling Green Massacre and the Swedish attacks? There is an awful lot of smoke these days with no fire, especially by politicians hoping for re-election and using the Cayman/Furreners card. We go through this every 4 years, why do you guys still fall for it? Its always the most desperate politicos who pull it up and make a huge fuss about something that is nothing, which harms the Cayman Islands image overall. There is not one Statesman among the accusers, and the quality of commenting on here on matters that few actually really understand is asinine, but nonetheless they still rally to the anti-furrener call blindly, not seeing this for what it is, and the harm it does to Cayman and for community relationships. If you want to see the harm it does, look at the US, since Trump took over tourism is down around 16% already and he has only just started with his racist agenda…here you risk more, losing the FS industry and tourism numbers? Potential disaster. Do some serious thinking people, why is this being talked about now and not in the last 3.5 years? Do you see it now?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to say but this has nothing to do with making life better for Caymanians. the MLAs are playing politics at the fullest and the law firms just need to continue making the almost dollar. we the people get left behind as usual. and look at how Flow laying off workers. More to come. Walk good.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Caymanians do not stand up against this kind of abuse and corruption that is what will happen. You need to understand that if we want our Islands we need to take them. Stop looking for politics to fix everything broken without your support. If you want to see change support politicians such as these who are trying to change things for the better- if you sit there and do nothing you can expect nothing. Some of us are actually backing them and trying to help even if we are not lawyers because one day the fight might be in our profession and I hope everyone stands up for us then. It’s a give and take – but FOR Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you want the Islands, then take them then. Have a referendum and ask for independence from the UK, and you will no doubt get it. Otherwise, please shut up with all the constant moaning. You sound like my young children.

        • Cayman Watchman says:

          This is not constant moaning, this is a discussion that you seem ill prepared to maturely answer or comment to. Perhaps then, you should limit yourself to play time with your children since you cannot be civil

        • Anonymous says:

          just see what happens to your third world rock if you loose the queen I would come in quickly arrest many and sit on my fat ass like castro did

      • Cayman Watchman says:

        Absolutely, thank you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanians have a long and proud tradition of not standing up against abuse and corruption.

  17. Anon says:

    Very subtle 101 but I see you touched on the key issue here. politics is a big part of this. on rooster recently Wayne said that Winston said he supported the bill sometime ago but that he (winston) needed to do some ‘politicking’ Wayne repeated that 2 or 3 times on the radio. I don’t know if its true but its very likely because thats how ALL of them operate. They will support whatever but they just want to trick us into believing they support it a certain way or that they don’t really want it even if they do. So maybe Winston supports the new law but don’t want us to believe he does. Or better yet he wants us to believe that when it get approved that he was the one that did something for Caymanians.. you know who was a master at stuff like that? BIG MAC. don’t be fooled yet again my friends.

  18. Realtalk says:

    Thats a big IF 101. cant see them sorting anything out before May 24th. Between now and then there will be pure foolishness discussed but not this one. our people need a bigger bite of the pie but this is not just about legal work. I see it more everyday in construction industry where low skill workers from overseas are getting the jobs from Caymanians. if you check you will see that this is also in tourism and real estate jobs too. its better not to have cayman status to be honest. I don’t know anything about the legal bill they are arguing about, it might even have good things in it. But if we are not sitting down to talk about how to take care of our own people then why should we care about those type of laws. when I see them reducing some of these work permits then I can see them looking at this. Look at how in Bahamas they protect their tourism industry so that when you go there you see mostly locals serving you. why cant we do that here?? i am not saying you are wrong but there are other things far far more important.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have to fight in all of the industries- this is also setting a precedent. If we allow the firms to write their own laws and self-regulate then all other industries will be able to ask the same. This is insanity. Lawyer or not we have to stand up against this.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don’t you just annoy the firms and also create so much damage for international clients that they concentrate their business in the other offshore jurisdictions, then you can pay income tax to fund the government budget because all the financial services fees have gone. Now that would be funny!

      • Anonymous says:

        Before you do that, take some of your income (the highest per capita in the Caribbean) and invest it into fishing nets and a boat. You’ll probably need it before long.

  19. Anonymous says:

    To the elected officials of the Legislative Assembly

    I am a concerned citizen of the Cayman Islands.

    I have been reading about the current debate on the Legal Practitioners Bill, the Private Members Motion calling for an investigation of the large international law firms, and of various reports of concerns which have been brought to the attention to those who occupy the highest positions in our Government. I am concerned that much has been said about the potential damage to our Islands economy if the Private Members Motion were to continue and if the Legal Practitioners Bill does not pass in this final seating of the Legislative Assembly. I am concerned that various stakeholders, including Cayman Finance, the Cayman Islands Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Association have made great efforts to decry the Private Members Motion and to challenge the motivations of your fellow members to who brought the motion. However, I am increasingly concerned about the apparent lack of substance in those efforts to reach a definitive answer (and perhaps why an answer was not immediately ready and forthcoming) and put the matter to an end, despite claims to be acting in the best interests of all.

    To that end, I would ask you to consider, if you have not already done so, several issues that I feel are of increasing importance as this debate rages on, including the statement made by Cayman Finance on 3 March 2017.

    When Cayman Finance said of the Private Members Motion, “These are very serious allegations, which as stated above have not been made before (to the best of our knowledge) in the long history of the existence of foreign offices”, how could the mouthpiece of our Financial Services Industry ignore:

    (a) The concerns raised by Attorney General Mr J. Michael Bradley in his speech in the Legislative Assembly on this issue on 25 November 1982 when he said,

    “I do not consider it desirable, Sir, that a person who has severed their ties with these Islands, who is not living here, who is not working here, who is not entitled to work here, should, in other jurisdictions, be able to hold themselves out as the holder of a practising certificate the Grand Court in these Islands”;

    (b) The concerns raised by Attorney General Mr David Ballantyne in his speech to the Legislative Assembly on this issue on 19 December 2002,when he said,

    “The question that arises is: Does this apply to a lawyer overseas who is practising Cayman Islands Law and is the law silent on that situation? It appears that it may be, and I suggest that that is an undesirable situation if, in fact it obtains. I have no information that there are lawyers practising Cayman Islands Law. If there are, then it would appear that they are not amendable to the jurisdiction of the Chief Justice and it may be that consideration should be given in conjunction with the Chief Justice to addressing that issue”;


    (c) The concerns raised by Mr James Bergstrom, then President of the Caymanian Bar Association when he spoke at the opening of the Grand Court on 13 January 2010 and when he said,

    “… we are hopeful that we will see the revised Bill brought into force in the first quarter of 2010. Our reputation as an international financial centre remains at risk until this is done”.

    (2) When Cayman Finance says in its statement that “In light of its significance to the Islands, any damage to this industry could have far reaching implications for the jurisdiction and its people as a whole”, did it consider the concerns raised by the Law Reform Commission in its May 2007 Report when it said of the current practice,

    “Issuing a practising certificate to a non-resident attorney must involve more than providing a mere “flag of convenience” to such a professional to operate under the mantle of the Cayman Islands jurisdiction. There must be substantial and substantive links between the profession and the jurisdiction, which involves a transparent and credible system of licensing, monitoring and discipline where professional misconduct is detected. To do otherwise would open the jurisdiction to potential significant reputational damage if one such professional were to be engaged in misconduct, which resulted in major fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing or other financial scandal. This potential danger could threaten the reputation of the Cayman Islands as a “major international legal jurisdiction”.

    (3) When, in times of increasing financial difficulty for so many living in the Islands, that our Government is not concerned about the potential loss of revenue that could do so much for our people, when Mr Ian Paget-Brown QC speaking on behalf of Attorney General Samuel Bulgin at the opening of the Grand Court on 16 January 2013 said,

    “The statistics the Law Society provides of 180 lawyers working outside the Islands as Cayman attorneys, assuming that none of them hold current Practising Certificates, are generating an estimated US$108 million in fees annually (180 x average salary US $200,000 x 3 salary being the expected billings) or a staggering US$1.8 billion over 10 years”.

    (4) When Mr Alasdair Robertson, President of the Cayman Islands Law Society for the last 6 years, spoke with Tammi Sulliman on 28 February 2017 and he said, of there being only one Caymanian partner being promoted to an equity partner position in 20 years, that “there are a lot more Caymanians… who are partners in law firms”, who exactly are the Caymanians that he is referring to who have trained at the major law firms, qualified, and became equity partner at those firms?

    (5) When Cayman Finance said that “If proceedings were actually to be brought against the partners in the law firms which have foreign offices the results would be disastrous for the jurisdiction as a whole”, what exactly would be disastrous – that the Private Members Motion was right and criminal acts had been committed? Or perhaps that no investigations should be brought at all, just because they are rich important lawyers?

    Ladies and gentlemen of the Legislative Assembly, it is no longer appropriate for these, and other questions, to be answered simply by prepared statements, sound bytes, and hyperbole, by the very people whom these serious allegations have been directed, without conducting your own enquiry, your own analysis, and your own justification as to why this Bill continues to cause such controversy, why these questions cannot be answered and how this Bill will benefit the people of the Cayman Islands.

    I urge you to do what is right.

    Yours truly,

    A concerned citizen.

    If you are also a concerned citizen, let the members of the Legislative Assembly know:

    [On Facebook: like or share this post if you are also a concerned citizen and agree with this letter]

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    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      I am a concerned citizen and I agree with this letter.

    • Anonymous says:

      I actually hope that the law firms close their doors and leave Cayman, along with the accountants and the other financial services companies. Then all those Caymanians that lose their jobs here are going to have to apply for jobs in the BVI or Bermuda or somewhere where they are the expat.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well said but too late for that now. Those two MLA’s plus Alva will have a lot to say in LA and nothing Wayne can do to stop it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    You put it very mildly to suggest: The charge by the two MLAs and their supporters is obviously that the sector has not done enough for Caymanians and that a lot more needs to be done.

    I thought the suggestion was not only what you describe, but that in addition, certain players may have broken various of our laws in various ways over an extended period, and that in some respects, that conduct may be criminal in nature.

    Is anyone prepared to address that aspect head on, one way or the other, or was I supposed to have learned in law school that laws only apply to some people, some of the time?

    Missed that lecture.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you also missed a class on statutory interpretation. The law is completely silent on this issue. There is no law to break.

      • Anonymous says:

        You do not appear to have been educated in a number of laws, nor do you even appear to have read them.

      • Anonymous says:

        The laws of sovereign parliaments have extraterritorial effect…the fact that our Legislative Assembly is not the only way of making binding law in this country does not change the fact that its will is sovereign…ergo the doing of legal work anywhere in the world under the banner of this country is illegal unless the practitioner is authorised and qualified under our laws…it is that simple…

  22. Anonymous says:

    How does people working overseas help us here in cayman? It just takes away more jobs. If you gonna give them a licence then at least charge them a lot and use those funds to help Caymanians.

    Another thing either Arden or Winston is being used because I never expect to see those two working together. Sorry if that get thumbs down but the truth hurts?

    • Anonymous says:

      No it does not take away jobs. The lawyers overseas help bring business to cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have no understanding whatsoever how the international financial services industry works. The overseas offices bring in work that is fed to Cayman. It is all about marketing and client servicing. Cayman litigation is litigated in Cayman. Whether the client is in Hong Kong or London.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you really believe all the foreign based firms with offices here are feeding work to Cayman. I have seen the opposite!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Let’s make one clear. Law Society, “Caymanian” Bar and Cayman Finance are all run behind the scenes by the same individuals who have the same interests in mind …

    Caymanians suffer and will continue to suffer until something is done.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s make two things clear. 1: you are an idiot. 2: Those institutions you mentioned underpin an industry that contributes about a third of the government budget each year in fees. Lose that, and you will really see some suffering.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Every day these firms work and call themselves Cayman Islands Law they make it harder and harder to ever leave without a massive and expensive headache explaining to thousands of blue-chip clients why they won’t pay a few thousand or million in fees out of the hundreds of millions they receive from those clients. IT WON’T HAPPEN! This industry is going nowhere! The Cayman Islands owns this industry no matter who controls it. Get that into your head!

        • Jotnar says:

          Those law firms that have offices in multiple other offshore jurisdictions, and would be perfectly happy to just tell the clients yeah, Caymans not the best place anymore, we’ll handle your business through this new BVI/Channel; Islands/ Singapore/Dubai structure we have set up? Hell, you don’t even need to change the name on the cheque. Those ones? Cayman owns its law, not the offshore industry, and other jurisdictions compete with similar law. And the law firms have grown beyond being single jurisdiction entities to multi nationals. They will relocate legal work faster than Google will switch its “HQ” to harvest tax advantages.

  24. Anonymous says:

    If Winston care about this so much how come he’s just talking about it? Elections just around the corner. Just like Trump this is just another distraction from the real issues. People can’t afford to pay bills and they talking about lawyers making more money?

    I don’t care if they discuss it. Most of us not working in those big companies anyway so this does not help US!

    • Anonymous says:

      It was Wayne who forced this on us all just before the election. Winston is just responding to his unconsciounable actions

  25. Anonymous says:

    Agree with everything but one point. We should NOT have political cease fire. This is something that politicians need to talk about. If my candidate is not putting this first he’s not getting my vote full stop. What we seeeubg in this country is others putting their interest before us. Tell me how much training you will give locals then I agree with the new law.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am with God. I support Donald Trump. Finally, a destroyer of fake politicians, fake news and liberal rot.
    Cayman needs an enema. It will most certainly come.

  27. Anonymous says:

    People are saying they Arden shouldn’t have done this and he and winston are too political. But if they were not political we wouldn’t be discussing the issue about cayman lawyers now. Sometimes you just have to stand up for your rights because no one else will do it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    No 101. Sorry I usually agree with your viewpoints but I think we try to be nice already. Time to try different approach we need take this country back . These people don’t care about Caymanians.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you get Arden to be the mediator? He’s very calm and his views are not lopsided in any manner.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Here now I see it. The law society makes some very good points. I don’t agree with how Winston did this but you can’t sweep some of what he saying under the rug either. I support the new law based on what I heard but still think they need address promotion of Caymanians.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well said 101 but don’t ask Steve McField to be the moderator on this one! He seriously made his points on radio today….

  32. Anonymous says:

    Excellent point. Let’s stop the bickering and get to the real issues.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The Bar Association must be having internal issues as even some of its members are standing up against this Bill and even resigning their positions because they cannot continue to watch the firms destroy this country with the help of Panton- that’s why they have been silent I assume

  34. Anonymous says:

    This is similar to Overseas Investment managers managing Cayman Funds. It is has to happen.
    These Equity Partners do earn a insane amount of money compared to others/professions.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this viewpoint, very much necessary. My two cents is that if the concern is bad publicity for the industry then they should consider the bad publicity they would receive if many of the silent actually felt safe enough to speak out. The law society and bar association would not depict any other picture than pure harmony but that is not the real picture. Caymanians are simply not treated fairly and if any are brave enough to speak out then you have to believe that for each one who does, they are speaking out for many who are not able to.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the concern is the bad publicity then withdrawing the motion is not the solution, the questions and allegations will continue. The only acceptable solution is to have the independent investigation and prove that nothing was done wrong. Those international clients that have questioned the members of the CILS and Woody about the Cayman lawyers breaking laws surely wont be satisfied just because the motion is withdrawn, they will definitely think we are hiding something. If our hands are clean and our hearts are pure lets hurry and pass the motion and get the independent investigation completed.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let me hurry get my Cayman law degree and get outta ya! The Trumpster’s Cabinet is callin’ me to wuk, so America here I come! Just don’t cancel my visa while I’m enroute!

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