(CNS): After just seven weeks in the job as the governor of the Cayman Islands, Martyn Roper said that he has been “impressed” from the start with the solid relationship between the Cayman and UK governments. As Britain’s new representative, he hopes to continue that close partnership and told CNS that he sees his role as providing a bridge between the two, where he can explain the local position to London and the UK position to the Cayman Islands. But Roper is also keen to support the local government, not just in his specific areas of responsibility but with economic growth as well.
The governor is directly responsible for national security, good governance and the administrative arm of government. But Roper said he also wanted to help where he could with the premier’s plans for the development of the new investment ministry and with the promotion of the financial services sector to ensure that Cayman continues to prosper.
With the uncertainty of Brexit front and centre for the UK government, he said that he appreciated the legitimate concerns of Cayman and other territories with financial sectors. Cayman does not have major concerns about EU funding or development aid, nor is there a great deal of trade, but the governor said he appreciated the challenges for the offshore sector in future when the UK will no longer be at the table in Brussels to advocate for the interests of the territories.
Roper said that this would be another important area for him as the bridge going forward to ensure the Cayman government is kept fully up to date with what is happening regarding Brexit.
Although the UK and Cayman have had differences recently as a result of what happened over the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering legislation in the British parliament earlier this year, which led to constitutional talks between the two this month, Roper said the relationship is still strong. He said that, despite these differences, it was good to see the positive relationship between the parties that has facilitated the discussions and that the UK and Cayman would be able to continue working together.
Roper said that his role in the recent constitutional talks was one of merely an observer but what he saw was “positive and constructive”. He said there are obvious red lines but believed there will be a way to resolve the concerns articulated by Premier Alden McLaughlin about what he has described as constitutional overreach without altering the delicate balance of power between the autonomy devolved to the Cayman government to manage its own domestic affairs and the need for Britain to fulfill its international obligations and protect its interests.
Roper hinted that there may be non-constitutional ways to address the issues that have caused concern for the local government and what it sees as a challenge to the devolved areas of responsibility.
The governor stressed Britain’s goal was to allow as much self-governance in domestic affairs as possible and stressed what he saw as a modern mature partnership, where Cayman and the UK can overcome any concerns in the continued relationships.
Roper said he was struck by the affection he had seen from the Caymanian people for the crown, which he felt helped underpin the strong bonds between the Cayman Islands and the UK.
“There will always be challenges,” he said. “But the relationship is in very good shape and we will be able to work together to come up with solutions.”