Premier backs storm-hit BOTs’ bid for cash

| 26/10/2017 | 42 Comments
Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin and Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers talks to UK Chancellor Philip Hammond

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin will be going to Miami for a pre-meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council on Saturday, the day after his government delivers is 2018 budget, to show solidarity and help his fellow leaders of Caribbean British Overseas Territories lobby for more cash from the UK. McLaughlin said the meeting is to discuss the needs of the islands impacted by the recent hurricanes to ensure that the issue is on the agenda of the main JMC meeting at the end of November in London and that the UK understands their needs.

During the recent trip by a Cayman delegation to Manchester and London, they lobbied for the territories affected by this season’s storms and to encourage the UK to cough up more cash.

“The UK government had indicated a commitment of up to £62 million, according to Lord Ahmed, Minister for Overseas Territories, to help rebuild the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Anguilla and Turks and Caicos (TCI),” McLaughlin said in a release from his office.  “However, due to the damage inflicted on these islands, they will need to access significantly more in reconstruction funds.”

A request by the UK to obtain funds from the international aid budget managed by the EU International Development and Cooperation Directorate (IDCD) has been denied. The reason given is that the GDP of the BOTs is too high and the budget is designed to relieve poverty.

But McLaughlin pointed to the implications if these territories are not assisted properly.

“The devastation is such that their economies are in danger of long-term damage unless they receive financial assistance — in the short-term for disaster relief — but in the medium to long-term to rebuild infrastructure and to enable them to maintain their economic base,” he said. “This includes the financial services in BVI and TCI as well as tourism for all three countries. If the hotels and airports are not ready to receive tourists this winter it will be another blow to their economies.”

Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, one of the senior UK government officials that McLaughlin met and lobbied while in Manchester, responded to the IDCD asking it to “urgently” review the rules relating to countries hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, saying that the international rules should take into account the vulnerabilities of small island states.

Bloomberg News reported that 36% of Anguilla’s capital budget in 2016 came from EU funding and normally this funding would be used to build or repair infrastructure such as roads, ports, government buildings. There is currently no indication how this funding is going to be impacted by Brexit; it may continue, it may not, officials said. What is clear, they said, is that a lot more capital funding is going to be required by the islands affected by these major hurricanes to get them back on their feet.

“I lobbied all the ministers, parliamentarians and officials that I met in Manchester and London regarding UK support for these islands,” the premier stated.  “It is important to remind the UK that the overseas territories are part of the British family and deserving of assistance when impacted by natural disasters. In fact, I feel that the UK has an obligation to assist the Caribbean British Overseas Territories, in the same way it supports Gibraltar and the Falklands. I feel obligated to join my fellow premiers and chief ministers in lobbying the UK because I’m conscious that this will also benefit the Cayman Islands.

“If one OT is floundering, that puts a question mark around all of us; I want to make sure that UK aid is available. Today it is TCI, BVI and Anguilla but tomorrow it could be the Cayman Islands impacted and needing help,” he noted.

McLaughlin said his government was happy to play a part and Cayman was fortunate to be able to do so.

“The assistance we’ve provided so far, from the RCIPS officers that we sent to BVI, the helicopter and RCIPS team we sent to Turks and Caicos and the medical and humanitarian support we provided to Anguilla, benefits those islands but it also highlights our relationship, shared histories, and circumstances,” the premier said, as he emphasised the solidarity between the regional BOTs.

“We are all Caribbean people but we’re also British and we’re obligated to support our Caribbean Overseas Territories brothers and sisters in their time of need,” he said. “The importance of our relationship has been recognised at the highest levels of the UK government. On many occasions over the last few weeks it’s been said how grateful the UK government is for the assistance that the government and the people of the Cayman Islands have provided. I would go so far as to say that this recognition has raised the profile and esteem of the Cayman Islands with many in the UK government.”

The annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) brings together political leaders from the BOT’s and UK ministers. It will meet this year in London from 27 –28 November and will be hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s BOT minister, Lord Ahmed.

Officials have confirmed that following the budget presentation on Friday, the debate in the Legislative Assembly on the Government of National Unity’s spending plans and policy priorities for the next two years will begin on Wednesday 1 November.

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Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Surely a modest amount of corporate taxation would have provided a fund for relief efforts for all these parasitic tax havens. They do not need aid. At most they should be offered a loan on short repayment terms.

    • Anonymous says:

      Blame your own dirty, double-crossing, fellow Brits who put in play and control the game – not the “parasitic tax havens”.

      Must be sad being a whiney common loser of that society – watching the successful run circles around you.

    • GDP is used in most cases to assess the wealth of a country, territory or SIDS. However, GDP is a asinine measure which says nothing about poverty levels. It is an average across the economy, so in the BVI Richard Branson resides GDP, one could argue, is somewhat skewed.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not skewed as a measure of a nation’s wealth, given that it shows the income that can form the tax base. If a place chooses not to tax income, that is not the problem of the UK.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have always heard that a cockroach has no business in a rooster fight!! We did our part and opened our community to the BVI ( not sure if for other territories) and rightly so but I don’t know if we should be expected do more than that.

  3. West bay Premier says:

    Some people think that Dart is the best thing that ever happened to the Cayman Islands. Some people think that the Island be run by the one man Dart is better than run by the Mother Country .
    Ask yourselves the question, would any country be better run by one man ? Or run and ruled by many men/women ? Let me give you the answer go to Cuba and North Korea and see how those are living and enjoying their millionaire President this goes to you insiders too . Being RULED by one man is NEVER GOOD.

    When you reply , just don’t say you are Caymanian because that could mean that you are Mr Bush or Mr McLaughlin , even to them should go and see how those people have to live .

  4. West bay Premier says:

    I think that we need to get rid of the Speaker and the Premier and all others like them because I see some bad weather and hurricanes coming ahead with them at the wheel of Cayman Islands .

  5. Anonymous says:

    No Caribbean unity since bogus Jamaica and shameful Barbados destroyed the West Indies Federation.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t understand why the Brits should expect funding from the EU after they voted for Brexit. Didn’t they think about that before the vote. Sounds a tad naive to me. presumptious!!

      • Anonymous says:

        They don’t expect funding…that’s the whole point, but don’t let that stop you having a whinge at the UK about nothing. Try reading the BBC website, maybe even a whole article unless more than a headline is too difficult for you?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because if you took the time to educate yourself you would know that all the OT’s funding initiative ‘European Development Fund (EDF) and the Overseas Association Decision 2014 guranteed funding through 2020 which was reconfirmed last year by the European Council.

        Stop speaking on matter you know nothing about

  6. Anonymous says:

    Suddenly the BOT’s are considered independent states.

    Although for every other issue they’re reminded of their lowly “territory” status.

    Typical position of the UK making it up as they go along.

    Ridiculous.

    – Who

    • PD says:

      Better we become the country of Dart Corporation then with all there recourses they can officially run the country and make us efficient and prosperous. Right now it is being done on the side but lets get real and smell the roses. If you can get a paycheck every week or month who cares.
      PD

    • Anonymous says:

      The BOTs consider themselves independent states until they need a cash handout, then suddenly they’re clinging to their lowly UK territory status.

  7. Anonymous says:

    BOT Taxes are coming to pay for this and for general wastage by Caribbean governments!
    Just fill in the mandatory salary survey now being launched.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @12:20

    Many Caymanians are cowards, and as soon as you scream “Independence”, they in fear run with a doomsday list of political disasters re. economic turmoil, local corruption and we having no army, and the cowardly list goes on and on. Only the brave ones have the vision of what will happen to us in the future if we keep depending on an unfit mother. We need to grow up!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do not confuse brave and stupid. How can a coward be someone who understands that these islands will sink if they become independent, and will be over run by the drug lords and criminals? How can they be a coward if they want what is best for their children and understand that 30,000 odd thousand as a population will never cut it in the real world. How dare you think yourself brave when you don’t have a working brain cell if you think otherwise? The graveyards are full of young fools who thought they knew everything.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are already over run with drug lords and criminals following mother England’s politically correct laws. We need to abandon the PC nonsense and start treating these POS the same way they do in the Philippines. No mercy.

      • Anonymous says:

        3:47 pm, Which rock you been living under to say 30,000 odd thousand as a population, don’t you know its approx. double that. It seems your brains is at a still.

  9. Bertie :B says:

    Me heart bleeds for you poor brits !

  10. Abled Caymanian says:

    Tough times ahead of us. It is time the leaders of the Caribbean, join forces together, and start a UNION ALLIANCE to deal with the powers-that-be like the UK and US that infiltrates their colonial influences upon our governments. I am sure with an alliance we can become independent and be able to give and receive all the economic help we need.

    A reality many here will not like. But just look at the British responce in TCI or BVI and you will see how little they do to running the islands with good governance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok, so you want to run things, you have your own parliament for that. Check. Does your parliament run the good governance too? Check. Do these islands pay taxes to the UK for the few services the UK provide? No. Does the UK still keep the navy out here with emergency supplies despite not getting paid? Check. Does the UK send 3000 troops to various islands to help out after the hurricanes? Check.

      However you still want to blame the UK, US for all your failings as your own administering power (apart from Defense, foreign policy, Law and order). When you consider that Cayman, despite its own government failings (not just this govt, but previous ones) is actually far superior to the majority of totally corrupt Caribbean regimes, do you really want to join with them and descend to their level? Who amongst them could assemble 3000 troops and the equipment to get there after a hurricane? I think you are in cuckoo land and better stop smoking that weed. I can just imagine the governments of Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad, Haiti after a storm- spending all the rebuild money on their own piggy banks, leaving the people with nothing. Good luck with that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I find it ridiculously unfair to request the citizens of the UK to come up with money, while the citizens of the various Caribbean islands pay absolutely no tax or other form of payment to people of the UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      And slag us Brits off to boot!

    • Anonymously says:

      Well if the UK liberals attempt to cut us off, the UK conservatives will war with the liberals. In fact most of them see Cayman as an asset. Thats why when Misick as corrupt he was, was talking about alliance with Canada as mother country, they straitway declared FULL BRITISH RULE on TCI instead of merely prosecuting Misick. It is just their interest over the islanders.

      I dare them to try cutting off the Cayman Islands. Go ahead! We have survived alone before and we can do it again. In fact are banks are open as we speak. Be my guest ??

      • Anonymous says:

        What an active imagination 12.45. If you look it up, you will find that direct rule was imposed after Misick refused to balance budgets and lined his own pockets with the filthy lucre. He knew what was coming as a result. BTW, what on earth would make you think that Canada would agree to such a stupid idea anyway? They never responded if you recall. There were reasons for that. They didn’t want to inherit the debt and they don’t have the Colonial history.

        • Anonymous says:

          T&C was worse off when they had direct rule, they told me it was the worst they been off in 50 years.

          • Anonymous says:

            Of course, they took away their democracy. The governor became a dictator. I remember they even sent a warship to TCI right on time. Wish they could be on time when disasters hit us ?

      • Birdseye says:

        When did you survive alone before?

      • Jotnar says:

        TCI tried joining Canada before – not a new idea of Misick’s. You will note the Canadians wanted no part of it. Sure the Brits would be happy to shed it too – the official position with all the BOTs is that they can have independence if they want it, since they provide nothing for the UK other than a source of allegations of colonialism and reputational risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      The price of colonialism, maybe…

    • Anonymous says:

      Who colonized who? pray tell. Why then doesn’t Britain run the Cayman Islands out of their bailwick,? what say you? 12:18

  12. Anonymous says:

    He can give them some of the proceeds from sale of Caymanians’ futures.

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