UK-Cayman row over cooperation intensifies

| 18/09/2018 | 79 Comments
Cayman News Service

FCO building in London

(CNS): The row between the Cayman Islands Government and the UK intensified on Monday, as Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials stood by the National Crime Agency’s complaints, while Premier Alden McLaughlin continued to deny that Cayman was the cause of the disagreement over what the UK says is the declining co-operation compared to other territories.

The FCO has said the CIG’s decision to switch the point of contact for the NCA from the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit to the Financial Reporting Authority of the Cayman Islands has undermined the ability of investigators to get immediate information needed for important crime cases because of the limited hours of operation.

In his second statement about Britain’s complaints, McLaughlin again denied being uncooperative and pointed to the privacy issues Cayman believes need to be protected. He said that the UK and CIG had a “difference of opinion on fundamental issues of data security and human rights, regarding the right to privacy”.

He added, “Cayman has on several occasions offered case-law examples to support our point of view. The FCO has never provided any counterpoints, choosing instead to dismiss Cayman’s concerns without explanation. This attitude is alarming as a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights found that British surveillance violated privacy rights — an indication that the UK’s interpretation of human rights protection is not infallible.”

The premier accused the FCO of previously dismissing the local government’s concerns about data security, specifically encryption, in relation to the exchange of information for an active investigation, but in July the British had conceded that Cayman’s concerns were well founded.

McLaughlin said that under the ‘Exchange of Notes’ (EoN) agreement, the FCU was designated as the point of contact for requests regarding the beneficial owners of companies until the technical platform for exchange of information was fully operational. At the end of the transition period, on 30 June, the additional powers delegated to the FCU “were no longer necessary and were consequently revoked”, the premier said.

While FCO sources told CNS that this was creating problems, McLaughlin said, “The revocation of this delegation to the Financial Crimes Unit in no way affects the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with its international counterparts, a point that has explicitly been made to the FCO on multiple occasions.”

The Financial Crimes Unit can still make search requests on the beneficial ownership platform in accordance with the provisions of local Companies Law.

The premier said the Cayman Islands has taken the position that the UK is in breach of the agreement made with the exchange of notes after the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill passed in parliament, which will impose public registers on Cayman and other overseas territories. The premier said Cayman has nevertheless repeatedly sought to ensure the UK that an enhanced level of cooperation remains in place.

“The Cayman Islands stands by its commitment to cooperation with all international law enforcement, including the NCA, but will not be bullied into the violation of fundamental principles of human rights or to cooperating in a way that runs counter to internationally accepted standards,” McLaughlin stated.

The FCO, however, has said that Cayman remains the only British Overseas Territories that has taken action to pull out of its agreement with the UK over exchanging beneficial ownership information. UK sources have also told CNS that there are concerns that the current disagreements could backfire on the Cayman Islands by undermining the support it gained over the change in legislation after the Conservative government’s U-turn on the beneficial ownership issue.

This, they warned, could lead to even more pressure regarding public registers, as it fuels the claims made by those seeking public access that Cayman is being secretive.

The current process of how the UK secures information for criminal investigations will be under review later this year by the British Parliament, and if things remain as they are in the Cayman Islands, some officials believe Cayman will be singled out as the uncooperative territory in the subsequent report, undermining any support it once had.

See the premier’s statement in full in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, Financial Services, Politics

Comments (79)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Its a bit rich when the Premier is using human rights arguments and references the European Convention. What about the rights of the gay community and ‘same sex’ marriages? The European Court has repeatedly found that a country which does not permit same sex unions, is breaching the human rights of those persons.

    Long live hypocrisy!!

    • Diogenes says:

      Didn’t you get the memo?

      Human rights only exist in regards to the approved citizens, the inferiors, undesirables and the rabble get no such treatment.
      Human rights are only positive and acceptable in regards to the approved citizens and their rights.
      Cayman can follow international human rights standards don’t let anyone fool you… when it suits the goals of the government and ruling class of the day.

      Don’t forget the one right they hold most sacred is their right to decide what your rights shall be and whether or not you get their standard or equal treatment.
      Of course if you demand equal treatment and you happen to be an inferior member of the rabble, what you are doing according to them is infringing on THEIR rights.

      We will utilize every court and every organization that will support our conflicts or listen to what we have to say but when those same courts and groups point out the shortcomings in our jurisdiction.
      They are trying to” force their values on us”, or they are trying to “destroy our christian culture”

      I wonder where many Caymanians think they got “Caymanian Christian Values” from if not the same European region they now so despise and discount


    • If the cap fits says:

      All of this bugging out for What?. The truth is AldMac will hAve their say and Dear Mother will shoo dem away like the little pipsqueaks that they are. Haruuuumph.

    • Anonymous says:

      The answer is in the Steele Dossier.
      Trump / Rosneft / Qatar / Carter Page / Russia

  2. Nostra Damn Us says:

    Alden can’t see that his association with Mac is going to throw salt in an old open wound.
    This is not going to end in Cayman’s favour and things must be serious for these men in black to come here. Better cough up now while you and still have a chance to save our constitution.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden / McKeeva = same dog / puppy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Two sides of the same rusty, corroded coin that needs to be melted down

      • Anonymous says:

        And we got people advocating independence for Cayman? Aren’t we seeing enough dictator-like tactics now? Who do we have to lead with integrity into independence? And what do we have to survive on with independence? More hot air?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Current government trying to act all big and powerful again? FCO needs to step in and slap these stooges heads around about a lot of things.

    • Anonymous says:

      No worries, UK direct rule soon come! Is Premier trying to check if he can become Prime Minister of some other Caribbean island?

      • Boris says:

        He will have to find another Island to be Prime Minister, because his advisor mckeeva says he will be the first Prime Minister of the Cayman Islands and I guess the political ignorant population of Cayman has no problem with that.

      • E. Nygma says:

        So which is it people, are they trying to get rid of us or are they trying to achieve direct rule???

        Keep the story straight people, they can’t both be true

        Also for you “direct rule” folks

        I am failing to see what will be gained from direct rule,
        Their Islands contain 60 million, our island contains 60 thousand of which only around half are actually permanent citizens
        With no natural resources, and nothing to exploit they don’t already have their hands on

        What exactly do they gain by direct rule over Cayman??

        -They didn’t care about us in the colonial period, we were nothing more than a source of provisions on a journey through the Caribbean.
        – During most of the modern era (anything past industrialization) we were under Jamaica and it’s Governor and little focus was on us
        Up to the 1960s when Jamaica decided to go its own way, they gave us our own representatives and sent one of theirs down to administrate

        If they wanted to rule us directly from London, they would have done it in the 60s, nothing is stopping them from sending a fleet down here to occupy us, we have no army, no navy, no guns, there would be 2 seconds of resistance and everyone would go back to getting high and drinking their days away

        A new Constitution was written in 2009, surely that would have been the time for direct rule

        Y’all gotta cut the direct rule shit, it makes no sense

        • The Watcher says:

          You are right. Direct rule serves no purpose.

          Whilst the Islands where a tax avoidance instrument, there was a purpose to be gained by the UK government.

          Now that the end days are here and additional legislation, government loan repayments, healthcare deficits and pension “re arrangements” have been noted, the U.K. wants out and will be quick to put some distance between us.

          Whatever is coming, it won’t be on our terms.

        • Mike says:

          Despite having London’s financial services and banking awash with dirty money from Eastern Europe and others, and their real estate and football clubs etc being bought up with suspect funding, they still choose to bully small fry Cayman into sharing their banking and funds clients’ confidential information in an utterly disgusting and hypocritical manner. Where does this all end? It is a signal to Cayman to grow up and clean up politically and launch the M/V Cayman on the seas and start to decide our own laws and rights. This playground bullying by the UK has to stop. “Physician cure thyself.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is my understanding that the pending 4th EU AML directive’s advance provisions include the creation of UBO registers on EU countries.

    While I disagree with the registers themselves, the arrival of 4th EU AML directive will level the playing field again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed which address the public register argument. I think the Premier is playing a smoke and mirrors game by mixing the public register issue with the exchange of information issue which they already agreed to sometime ago. And to say that there are privacy issues is really rich coming from him. Both the Data Protection Law (not yet in force) and Confidential Information Disclosure Laws allow such disclosures between regulatory bodies as exceptions to confidentiality and privacy. For simple minds like ours the Premier needs to do a lot of explaining.

  5. Ron Ebanks says:

    CNS , I want to thank you for doing the Islands a big News Service , by bringing the News to the public in a fair and balanced way , and giving a public platform for the public to have an opportunity to publicly voice their opinion on the issues .

    I think that what you are doing is Beneficial to everyone , and is trying very hard to have a healthy society . Just imagine if CNS was like some other News Media that only publish what/how they wants it published , and publish 3 -5 other people’s opinions every 2-3 days, that’s not trying very hard to have a healthy society , maybe what Editor talked about .

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Please put these thoughts together, my comment and Anonymous 9:59pm comment and understand what is going around you .

  6. Anonymous says:

    Honesty without fear.
    People are breaking the shackles of fear all around the world and they are telling the truth, REGARDLESS of the consequences.
    Integrity is not for sale.
    Big government is going down followed swiftly by dishonest media.

  7. Rafaelle says:

    The duplicity of the FCO and NCA is sickening taking into account their numerous financial scandals and abusive behavior towards others. What de hell happened to time honored tradition of hypocrisy of punishing lesser people for the very things you are guilty of yourselves. Please tell us Caymanian people what happen to the former head of SOCA Sir Ian Andrews now NCA and was he ever prosecuted??? What is this all about anyways all these moles and saboteurs in place and they cant get this basic information from the systems the UK has in place to stored it Comeon now stop complaining and stop getting drunk and get mama wuk done you Bloody bloke!

    • Anonymous says:

      Lets just get under the umbrella of Dart and then the growth will flourish. CHEC & Decco will do all the major jobs and we will not have all these blood sucker companies with their big cost over runs. Run it like Camana Bay!

  8. Anonymous says:

    only thing stopping these politicians from bankrupting the country is Englands cap on borrowing….i prefer to stay under british ….and yes, i am a native caymanian…

    • Anonymous says:

      Same here, Native Caymanian and I agree with you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m native too, but have enough sense to know we haven’t planned for independence and we have so much dept now, and more to come with this port fiasco!

      In keeping with the topic, the FCO seems to have their own agenda for the common wealth territories. I like to ask, who is the driving force behind the FCO?

      That’s the more important question.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The 2002 Act which allows Caymanians to have UK passport is working to their favor. Caymanians are indeed being pressured here and moving to the UK

    • Anonymous says:

      It does not allow Caymanians to have a UK passport. It only allows BOTC’s to have a UK passport, and even then it is only guaranteed if they were a BOTC in 2002.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a native, I have both my BOTC Cayman Islands Passport and I also have my European Union British Passport.

        If you have a BOTC Cayman Islands Passport, then you should have applied for the other long ago!


  10. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile our “Leader” is in Barbados
    After having recently spend an extended period in Cuba literally I kid you not riding Bicycles


    • Anonymous says:

      That’s a little ridiculous to say. I am not a fan of Alden, but I’m pretty sure the premier is entitled to vacation.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well said Johan.

  12. Johann Moxam says:

    I want to publicly acknowledge and thank the Premier Alden McLaughlin for his defense of our jurisdiction and the robust regulatory regime that Cayman has created. Our regulatory regime surpasses many other International Financial Centres including U.K.

    While I may disagree with the government on other policy objectives and fiscal decisions we are fully aligned on the need to protect the single most important industry of our economy (which represents 56% of Cayman’s GDP.) FSI facilitates global finance products, high value services to local businesses and multiple opportunities for our local people.

    Protecting and growing the financial services industry is one of the top five most important priorities (arguably the most important) for this and future governments. All of us should be circling the wagons and offering our support on this matter of national importance and Cayman’s repudiation. We must cease being reactive to negative PR and smear campaigns by competitors.

    CIG and FSI must collaborate and be proactive in order to tell the world what the real story is behind our collective success and remind the world of our high standards of compliance in every forum available.

    Mr. McLaughlin “Stay the course” and continue to defend our Cayman Islands. This is a fight our country cannot afford to lose.

    • Anonymous says:

      The anonymity business is a vanishing part of the historical trust and private client offering – put on notice almost two decades ago. Thankfully, it is no longer representative of our financial sector. We need to choose what industries and business lines make it through the keyhole because the world doesn’t care about fairness or objectivity. We are a bug on a windscreen if we ignore the traffic coming.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It is time for the UK to just step in a sort out places like the Caymans that have caused so much harm to the world’s most vulnerable by peddling tax dodging schemes to the immoral rich.

    • Anonymous says:

      I suggest, 1:53, that YOU suggest that the UK should sort out the likes of OXFAM in the UK first when it comes to entities “that have caused so much harm to the world’s most vulnerable”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok, we’ll do that if you sort out your men folk beating women, your kids being ill educated, shooting each other for control of shitty gangland turf that nobody wants anyway. Oh yea, your persecution of gays, the discrimination of the disabled, the exploitation of third world workers, your xenophobic attitude to foreigners and your corrupt politicians.

        • Anonymous says:

          @ 3:30 pm

          All valid points, just remember wherever you go, you will find these same societal ills. You just feel like it’s worse here because we’re so small, the effects are more intimate.

          Just so you know, not all natives have a xenophobic attitude towards foreigners. For some of us, our closest friends ARE foreigners.

          Just don’t let the few bad apples spoil your view of the bunch.

          Signed: Native, and proud.

        • Anonymous says:

          why are you living in this shitty place

        • Anonymous says:

          Replace guns for knives and you’ve described the UK

        • Anonymous says:

          The British are xenophobic to a degree as well. One of the reasons they are leaving European Union because they do not want any more Eastern European immigrants in the country.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Daily Mail -Is this Fake News? Man in the mirror is what you need!

        • Anonymous says:

          That does happen in the U.K.?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, 3:30, that is ok except that it is not really what the original subject is about. But, since you bring it up, lets just share this with everyone shall we? Domestic violence is terrible and it exists in Cayman. I am so glad from your post that it obviously does not exist in Britain anymore (I grew up there, bobo). I am also glad that since I left, education in Britain is brilliant for EVERYONE not just the privately educated. Those OFSTED reports I’ve read are clearly wrong. You are, however, dead right, that after 150 years of terrible treatment of gays, Britain is is to be admired and we are not. But it will change here too. I am happy that I was ill informed about the British treatment of third world workers and that it did not really happen…the Windrush thing was fake news I suppose. Happily, Britain showed by its Brexit vote how welcoming we are to foreigners in contrast to Cayman’s xenophobic attitude.

          And, my unpleasant friend, clearly, according to you, Britain has no corrupt politicians. May I suggest you subscribe to Private Eye…one year will do it….or even less. Then, dear boy, you may wish to reconsider before you post trolling crap that some of us know the other side of issues.

          • Anonymous says:

            “not really what the original subject is about” was thinking the same thing.. He/she got off point and that takes away from the importance of what Anonymous 18/09/2018 @ 2:13pm said, which was VERY on point!!! 2:13pm google (or better, what Oxfam did in Haiti among other places!!

          • Anonymous says:

            How does Brexit vote show how welcoming the Brits are?

        • Anonymous says:

          t0 330 and your blessed UK has none of these evils

        • Anonymous says:

          According to daily BBC online news you have your countries reversed – unless you are a lying, bigoted moron.

        • Judean Peoples Front says:

          Don’t forget the constant inability to use indicators too!
          We would certainly miss that if we all had to leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just love this idea that if places like Cayman didn’t exist, the “world’s most vulnerable” would somehow benefit. Total BS of course. The money would be pissed away on taxes to fund ever more mighty and wasteful military complexes and corrupt dictators and industrialists. The one group that would NOT EVER benefit is, sad to say, the world’s poor and vulnerable. That is just not how it works except for the infinitesimally small group of benevolent donors like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett giving away their own individual personal wealth to good causes.

    • Anonymous says:

      First of all, don’t call us the Caymans; we find it demeaning and offensive. Second of all, our financial services industry has not peddled schemes resulting in harm that would not otherwise have resulted. On the contrary, it has catered to the demand for a tax-free place for capital to pool and flow through, facilitating not harm but great benefit around the world as things that would not otherwise have been possible are made possible through us. Also there is no such thing as “the immoral rich”. The way you say it, their wealth makes them immoral. Do you have a problem with money? A problem with some people having more than others? Some people are better at getting it than others. Yes, perhaps we operate at the sharp end of human society and nature in that sense – we cater to the needs of wealth. But wealth will always be, will always have needs, and will always be able to pay to get those needs met. So you should get to work on the global socialist revolution it sounds like you daydream about. As a start, you should make sure your pension isn’t invested in any Cayman-domiciled hedge funds. If it is, definitely restructure that so it is subject to more tax, in line with your values that taxes are good and money is bad. Watch Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders speeches while you do so, depending on your country of origin. You’re welcome.

      • Anonymous says:

        First, Caymans. Perfectly correct term. Get over your pathetic sensitivity, that you are offended by a correct term shows much about you. Secondly, the immoral rich are the ones that use parasitic tax havens like the Caymans to move capital beyond taxation in real countries.

        • Anonymous says:

          @4:18 The Caymans refer to the islands, the Caymanians are the people on the islands. Which Caymans are you referring to? I personally am not a Caymans but a Caymanian and as a CAYMANIAN I think I would know what I am or what I want to call myself. Quite trolling.

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t see what your problem is. The point being made by the person you accuse of being a troll is that the Caymans is an appropriate name for the islands, which is correct. The poster did not say “Caymans” was a term for “Caymanians”. If you thought he did, then you are stupid.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are obviously a troll so go back to whichever cave you came out of

    • Anonymous says:

      Boo Hoo, cry me a river Pooh Bear.

    • Anonymous says:

      The caymans? You must not live here.

      • Anonymous says:

        I find the local affectation when they hear the word “Caymans” so pathetic and petty. The Caymans are a group of islands comprising of Grand Cayman and the Lesser Caymans. If you don’t like the term, tough. Caymans, Caymans, tax haven Caymans….

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s not an affectation. That’s not our name. It’s something Americans say that irritates the hell out of us because IT’S NOT OUR NAME.

          • Anonymous says:

            The political name is the Cayman Islands. But the Caymans is a perfectly correct geographical name. I have a nautical map on my wall of “the Caymans”. I am looking at it now.

            • Anonymous says:

              These islands was given the name by Sir Fancis Drake, he named it Caymanas. Buy the book, “Lawless Caymanas”. My father bought the encyclopedia britannica in 1953 when I was born. In learning about the land of my Ancestors I was interested about it . I looked at the atlas it called these islands “Caymen Islands”.That is when the wrong pronunciation started.

        • Anonymous says:

          You can’t just call it what you want, or what sounds trendy to you.

          It is insulting. Ignorance is bliss though, as seen everyday on this site!

          • Anonymous says:

            That you are insulted is your problem. People do not have to change their language to suit the oversensitive.

    • Jotnar says:

      As opposed to the wholesale use of Scottish limited partnerships by Ukrainian and Russian organized crime because of the lack of adequate UBO control, or allowing incorporation of UK entities online with no requirements for evidence to verify the identity of declared shareholders ( and even prosecuting an activist who incorporated an entity with 2 government members as declared shareholders just to show how easy it was), or offering Oligarchs residence in exchange for a fixed tax fee irrespective of their earnings? The hypocrisy ( or ignorance) is breathtaking.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Alden, wha yuh hiding?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Better hope them turtle releases are successful, going to need another economic pillar soon enough.

    • The Constitutional Critic says:

      Won’t matter, the next economic crash is around the corner and we didn’t learn anything from 2008-9
      With Trump’s deregulations including slashing regulations put in place specifically to prevent another financial crisis, dismantling the agencies entrusted to identify and mitigate potential risks and and tax cuts only accelerating the boom-bust economic cycle in the US, it is only a matter of time.
      The Boom is always great, and the good times seem like they will never end… until they do, and we know what that feels like
      But is the high worth the fall?
      We pegged the livelihood of our Islands to the two most unstable, unpredictable and mutable industries possible:
      Tourism and Financial Services,
      the rewards are quite evident but everyone seems to always forget about the risks
      and instead of making our profit and jumping ship before we hit the iceberg we in Cayman seem to enjoy the roller-coaster associated with our position in global financial markets, or maybe we just like the feeling of rushing head on toward the wall of ice and seeing if we make it out alive or not.

      Suppose we get hit by another Ivan and a global economic downturn in the same year, which is entirely possible, knocking out financial services and tourism industries in one fell swoop
      Government revenue will be destroyed, we are “too rich” as a nation to receive any real substantive international financial aid and
      We are playing with fire, and we will get burned eventually, the severity of which is completely up to us

      Of course we will continue to elect the same people who try as much as they can to put us into spiraling irrecoverable debt, instead of creating a Sovereign wealth fund and preparing for independence we are gambling with an oceanic concrete slab to boost failing outdated waterfront businesses who refuse to keep up with the times

  16. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the UK is doing everything it can to turn our principled stand into an own goal. Looks like they will succeed in doing that, as well. I am not so sure we should be playing this game with them if it results in them closing ranks where previously we had the Prime Minister agreeing in principle to more constitutional autonomy. More autonomy is going to be predicated upon their faith that we will choose to do what they would like us to do in certain situations. Here we have one such situation where we know what they would prefer and they have had to go public about it, only for us to find out there has been an ongoing war of words between CIG and UK. Premier, you may just be out of your depth here – we need to pick our battles and fight smart! Revisit your strategy, because the facts just changed: this is now a public argument and the stakes are very high.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The FCO will never be satisfied. They keep moving the goalpost. The Cayman Islands are much more regulated than the U.K. I have said it before and I will say it again- the U.K. /FCO will always try to keep their foot on the neck of the Cayman Islands. They would rather that we go to them begging for handouts. So far we have never needed to do that. Perhaps they should return the one million pounds plus interest that we sent them towards the falklands war, which I thought then and still think was a ridiculous idea to begin with. If they destroy our financial sector I wonder if they will have jobs for all of their people working over here who would be affected as well.

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