Lord Ahmad: We didn’t want this

| 30/05/2018 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

(CNS): The British government did not want to be in the position it finds itself regarding the recent vote in parliament which has resulted in the imposition of public beneficial ownership registers on the Cayman Islands and other overseas territories, according to Minister of State for the Commonwealth Lord Ahmad. The Conservative peer was in Cayman Wednesday for a one-day visit in an effort to reassure the people and the local government that despite this “testing” situation, the UK values its relationship with Cayman and wants to find a solution.

Speaking briefly with the local media before leaving the Cayman Islands, Lord Ahmad said that the vote was made by the members of the House of Commons, and as the UK is a democracy, the will of parliament is sovereign. But he wanted to work in a collective and collaborative manner to mitigate some of the issues that have arisen as a result of what is now an act of parliament.

“It wasn’t my decision,” he said, adding that the Conservative government, of which he is a member, did not support the amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that resulted in the overseas territories being obliged to introduce open registers before it is the global norm. Lord Ahmad said that he believed that real progress had already been made on beneficial ownership with the existing agreement between Cayman and Britain. But he stressed that the UK government had no choice but to accept the decision by the British parliament.

Now that the law has passed, if there is not a public register in Cayman by 2020, Britain will be obligated to issue an order-in-council to impose it. But he said he wanted to assure the Cayman people that the UK wants to work with them on this issue to find a solution and it was a time for calmness to prevail.

“Britain is very much with you and will work with you to address any concerns and mitigate risks,” he said.

However, Premier Alden McLaughlin has stated clearly that the Cayman Islands Government will not be doing anything to create a public register and should an order be imposed to force local legislation, it will be challenged in the courts.

Given that situation, when asked what the collaboration would be, the Tory peer did not give a clear explanation.”There are solutions to be found,” he said. “There are details to be worked through and we will work collaboratively to find a solution that works for our overseas territories that also reflects and upholds the decision of the British parliament.”

He refused to comment on the CIG’s plans to press its case against the public register in the courts and how the UK would deal with any litigation, but he said the UK had a strong relationship with the Cayman Islands government.

“The strength of that relationship will determine how we progress on this important issue. But I understand not just the concerns but the nature of the concerns that have been raised. I get it,” he said, adding that he had defended the Cayman Islands position twice during the presentation of the law. “We are in a situation we would rather have not been in,” he said.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister said that the Cayman Islands’ public finances and the offshore sector was in a strong position and this one decision was not going to undermine the sector. “Cayman is very much open to business,” he said, as he complimented the deep and established financial sector here.

He made it clear on a number of occasions that while he was not in support of the decision by parliament, it had to be respected but the Cayman Islands was still very much part of the British family.

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Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Our politicians aren’t well-advised as to what’s going on, and continue to misrepresent the forces at play. The UK Parliament was obliged to comply with the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive by December 2019. We should (a) continue with our special-access tax and law enforcement UBO register, for implementation this summer; and (b) adopt the UK’s own flawed standard Public “Persons of Significant Control” Register by 2020. We either appear to comply or we don’t. If we don’t, we have to anticipate the likely consequences vis-á-vis European money-transfers, settlements and custodial relationships. We really don’t have much of a choice if we plan on continuing to be an international financial player beyond 2020. A Royal Flush beats a Low Pair every time…


  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for clarifying that the king/queen isn’t an elected position. It’s a privilege within the royal family, a monarchy like Suadi Arabia. This Lord Am guy is spewing foolishness. UK is far from being democratic.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So all the poor people need to get there british passport so we can get free medical dental and all the other free stuff they give to their citizens in the UK. Cause it sounds like we have no other choice then go independent. I really believe we can’t stop it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is partially ready for independence. The sooner the better. It is the inevitable so we need to get on board and wake up!

  5. 13Colonies says:

    I ask myself, what does the UK actually do for Cayman? Certainly it is not to advocate for the best interests of the economy and people of the Cayman Islands. English common law would still remain in Cayman after independence. Some Lord, however you get that title come to Cayman and says, well you know we didn’t want this for you. But bows to political pressure from the opposition. Cayman does not need to be Independent however we need to be Independent of English politics.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I read/heard Goo*@#$&bole*+_)903degook. Anybody else hear something different from Lord Ahmad? Well worth the trip to deliver this nonsensical message.

  7. V says:

    Ah, Cayman is a mere football in political horse trading. See Cayman, it is not about the prosperity of the islands and it people.

    • Anonymous says:

      The prosperity of Cayman is dependent on harming the prosperity of the UK and many other nations of the world. There is direct harm and indirect reputational harm. Parliament has seen fit to address that.

  8. Slacker says:

    I have a question. He was here for five hours. How did he manage to get through Immigration, Customs and then back two hours early, to get through Security?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ah, bless…neither did the Captain of the Titanic want to sail into an iceberg….and for those who say whatever, only 10% of business will be affected…that’s not the point, these days perception is reality….the perception will be there is no privacy, so the financial services industry and its supporting sectors (legal/accounts/etc) will flee……the end is nigh, its the apocalypse…we’ve reaped what we’ve sown…

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure if this statement made by the Premier and repeated by Ezzard is really so. If it is please keep that quiet or else the U.K., will manufacture some other reason to come after the 90 percent. As Ms. Twyla would say “everything good fi eat not good fi talk.”

  10. Anonymous says:

    Free Cayman now !

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why is there all this fuss? Just goto the states and live off their welfare. Its really what our economy has been doing anyway for decades.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are an idiot if you believe that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where do most of your tourist dollars and financial fees come from? The British may be the ones giving you the credit to take out loans to fund your projects, but the US is providing the revenue and business connections to pay off those loans. My God, just Texas has a bigger GDP than the UK. What does Cayman make in comparison to either UK or its whiny overseas territory.

  12. VIctor Colfari says:

    Sure good buddie but no matter what you all do or take, infringe or inflict on other people you cant save your precious little Europe its going to fail socially and economically. Your precious little socialistic utopia and economic machine cannot sustain itself because it is top heavy where the elite few make decisions for the many and your so called democratic principals have come home to roost right in your own backyard. Self destruction is terrible is it not ? you have simply reaped what you have sown in other parts of our globe because of your greedy desires to have it all no matter the cost to others our how much suffering and death and destruction you inflict on the innocent. Europe has simply become a lesson in futility and you cant fix it no matter how many Lords you have!

    • Anon says:

      Hence our majority vote to leave Europe, no?

    • Anonymous says:

      What does this have to do with Europe? What does Britain have to do with Europe? Very little! What does your little diatribe have to do with the subject of the article? Even less! The House of Commons is a joke.. the fact that Guernsey & Jersey are not included in this offshore debacle is the biggest cause for concern. You cannot introduce a set of rules unless it is across the board! The beneficial ownership listings will happen at some stage but shouldn’t be doled out piecemeal.. As for inflicting anything on the innocent – there are very few completely innocent here as there is no smoke without fire.. Everyone maybe trying very quickly to have as translucent a marketplace as possible but the grey areas are not just in relation to Cayman’s risk rating!

    • Anonymous says:

      crayzee name, crayzee post

  13. Anonymous says:

    If the UK is such a “democracy’ Lord am whatever your name is, how come the old woman that you Brits call queen haven’t been voted out yet?

    • Anon says:

      Ermmmm, because the Queen/King is not an elected position you tool!

    • Anonymous says:

      and why doesn’t the overseas territories not have representatives in the house of commons then? And why should those elected members vote on affairs of those that haven’t had a human right to vote for their own members/representatives into their parliament?

    • Anonymous says:

      If there was a referendum to abolish the Monarchy in the UK, it would be defeated by a very large majority of the British public, that’s why.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Four options:

    1) Resist and fight it in court.

    2) Set a fee for the public to access the register of members of a company at approximately CI$2 million + (per entity). This may help our bottom line. Any company fees we lose by migration out, we may gain by public access fees.

    3) Trial the public registers for 1-2 years and analyze the effects of the introduction of public registers and thereafter decide what needs to be done.

    4) Independence.

  15. West Bay Premier says:

    “We are in a situation we would rather not be in”, he said . That is not a statement that I don’t like to hear . If there isn’t a public register in Cayman by the year 2020 , that’s one year and six months away , and that’s something more I don’t like . That all sounds like the UK is going to be doing a lot of forcing things down our throats . Or try to.

    The UK is changing overnight , and if something don’t change there , I believe that there’s bad weather ahead for the C.I .

  16. Anonymous says:

    Lord Ahmad’s performance in the House of Lords debate on beneficial ownership was woeful: he was half-hearted in our defense and didn’t even have command of his subject. With amateurs like him as our champions in Westminster, we need never again be unsure of our future.

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Agree with you 9.30 pm and what he said to the press before leaving was pathetic and totally non-specific. Possibly there were sensible things said behind closed doors, but I am not optimistic. This one is going to the courts to be tested. This is the same Tory govt that carried out the Windrush disaster, targeting West Indian migrants and their offspring, which was tantamount to ethnic cleansing. Are they to be trusted to consider our interests? I think not. Deeds count more than words!

      • Anonymous says:

        It wasn’t so much ethnic cleansing as cleansing of people that had 40 years to complete the appropriate paperwork and didn’t.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t blame the government for doing their job.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s precisely because the victims are being blamed for this that the rationale of ethnic cleansing is exposed as the truth. Prior to the Information Age and when the UK needed help, it extended an invitation to persons with low levels of education and sophistication to come to rebuild it. They duly did so, spending all of their working lives in the UK (and most of their childhoods), likely in backbreaking occupations. They are humble, trusting people of colour, ripe for exploitation, which is what has occurred. The shame heaped upon the UK Government for this appalling treatment is very, very well deserved.

          • Anonymous says:

            240 cases out of 500,000… that’s 240 people who had the right to get a British Passport but didn’t bother for 40 years or who left the country for 2 years and broke the terms of their right to remain. 240 cases! How many Jamaican immigrants have been screwed over here? More than 240 I bet!

            • Anonymous says:

              240 cases of persons who were socioeconomically indistinguishable from the others, whose stories, and multiple items of proof of the exercise of their RIGHT of indefinite leave to remain over decades, were credible far beyond any doubt. They were just being put through the bureaucratic meat grinder in an attempt to make them leave so the UK could be that little bit less Afro-Caribbean. They were declared worthless, spent and disposable by that position taken towards them. And just so you know, I lived in the UK; I’ve seen its cultural make-up and know its history; and I am myself White Caribbean. I just get how this all works and none of you are going to convince me this is about missing paperwork. It is about demanding paperwork from people who had plenty to show, but not quite enough for the bureaucrats who were told to give the undocumented, ANY undocumented, a hostile environment, when it was always clear these 240 were Windrush and should have been graciously documented the rest of the way through the process, as they have now been after the UK was exposed. Stop excusing your countrymen only when it suits you.

          • Anonymous says:

            That is not ethnic cleansing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Many many application forms went missing. Some applicants sent them in up to three times and apparently they were thrown out. That is why they weren’t processed. Which means the British government didn’t want to process them.

          • Anonymous says:

            So how do you explain the hundreds
            of thousands of successful applicants receiving citizenship over the last forty years.

            Did those anomalies just slip through the cracks.

  17. Cooler heads prevail says:

    Public registers even if implemented are not going to be a problem in so far as we can build the relevant exemptions (similar to the current register) and a “legitimate interest” test into the legislation. Maybe 10% of our business would leave but that can be replaced with Fintech if we position ourselves properly in the tech space. We should take a step back and use whatever good will exists within Theresa May’s government from this debacle to bend the public register to our will and also reshape our constitution to avoid a repeat.

  18. Richard Wadd says:

    Well I say we give them “A taste of their own Medicine”.
    Why don’t we and ALL of the other BOT’s start by publishing the BO info for all of these UK parliamentarians & politicians … hell, let us take out ads in ‘The Times’ & the ‘Wall Street Journal’ & plaster their business for all the world to read … that ought to get some heads rolling.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nice work my Lord, just sweep it under the rug and it will be someone else’s problem to deal with in a few years when you have moved on to another post.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a lot of hollow platitudes to me. If Conservatives were ‘not for it’ how come it passed the vote, given that with their N Irish partners they carry a majority?

    • Anonymous says:

      The truth is that some rogue Tories voted for it contrary to their party’s position. I’m not sure what the UK government could have done about that, especially as it in such a weak overall position.

      • Anonymous says:

        True. If there hadn’t have been an early general election called last year it probably wouldn’t have passed.

        This is not the colonial witch hunt some people think it is. Quite the opposite in fact, it’s a very poor and misguided attempt to bloody the noses of rich people. Cayman is just collateral damage.

        • Anonymous says:

          That is why we need the protection we are seeking. We can not and will not be collateral damage.

          • Anonymous says:

            “Cannot and will not”. Vearless fighting words there from an anonymous keyboard warrior.

            • Anonymous says:

              I may be anonymous but that doesn’t mean I’m not one of the actual warriors…you seem pretty anonymous yourself come to think of it…

  21. Anonymous says:

    I demand an answer from Uncle Bulgaria.
    Haha. You you have to be an old dog to appreciate that one.
    Can we have some relevant input please? Only those in the know need respond.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently the U.K., went into this as they did Brexit. Eyes wide shut!! They who always hold themselves up as the arbiter of all things political should be embarrassed. However, his platitudes does not resolve this issue. They need to go back into parliament and recind the mess they have created but as we all know they are too arrogant to even think of that. They would prefer to destroy the overseas territories before they do that.

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