Finance laws still dominate drafting agenda

| 21/01/2020 | 6 Comments
Cayman News Service
Attorney General Samuel Bulgin

(CNS): Attorney General Samuel Bulgin has said Cayman is suffering from “review fatigue” over the scrutiny the jurisdiction faces relating to its vulnerability to financial crime in the offshore sector and related industries. Despite the ongoing engagement with international initiatives relating to taxes, anti-money laundering and combating terrorist financing, the constantly changing rules require more new laws to ensure compliance, and that will continue in 2020, he warned.

Cayman drafters, lawmakers and civil servant spent a considerable part of last year putting in place legislative and administrative measures to give effect to the evolving standards. But Bulgin told the legal profession, as he delivered his formal addressing to open the Grand Court last week, that this would continue through this year.

“So although as a jurisdiction we are suffering from review fatigue, there is simply no relief in sight from these initiatives,” he said. “But… our resolve to ensure that the jurisdiction continues to be a hostile environment for undesirable players is not in doubt and we will continue our constructive engagement with our international partners and other stakeholders in ensuring Cayman’s continuing compliance with these obligations.”

Although offshore and relevant financial legislation is going to dominate the agenda for drafting and presentation in the parliament, Bulgin said that this year will also see government bringing laws dealing with a range of social and other issues, including family law and related reforms.

“Government will also be looking at enacting bespoke legislation dealing with the presumption of death after seven years disappearance,” he stated. “This, it is hoped, will assist in bringing some degree of closure to a number of outstanding matters.”

Bulgin said that a Civil Partnership Bill, which will be considered
by government, is being worked on, and although he gave no time frame for when this critical piece of legislation will be ready to be heard, it is very unlikely to be ready for the forthcoming meeting of the Legislative Assembly, even though government was directed by the Court of Appeal almost three months ago to put this law in place “expeditiously”.

Without the law, the rights of Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden, who have been fighting the government for over four years to get the necessary legislation, will continue to be violated. Day and Bodden were forced to take government to court to seek legal remedy to the breach of their right to a private and family life and pressed for the right to marry. However, government continues to drag its heels on this issue, despite knowing full well it is in breach of the Constitution.

Another piece of contentious legislation promised by the attorney general is the much needed modern legislative framework for regulating the legal profession. “There is still further work to be done but the government is very optimistic that there will be an acceptable resolution to this very long ongoing initiative,” he said.

In his address, David Collins, president of the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA), said this new association had “made significant progress on legal services reform” with its work on the Cayman Attorneys Regulation Authority for lawyers, which he said would help satisfy the recommendations of the CFATF review. But he urged government to bring the draft bill for debate in parliament as soon as possible as it was now agreed among the profession.

“The Cayman Islands will only be able to deliver the regulated legal services product that our clients and international regulators expect by enacting the draft Legal Services Bill,” he said, adding that the legal services market would only be sustainable if suitably qualified Caymanians are provided with the opportunities in management and leadership roles within law firms.

He said it was time to bring the law, turn the page and start a new chapter in the evolution of the profession.

See the full addresses in the CNS Library


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Category: Business, Court, Financial Services

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Methinks Sam is getting a little long in the tooth.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Sam, haven’t you been in charge of the legal profession? I know elements of it have been up to no good, but c’mon man, it’s not like the wrong conduct, when it occurred, wasn’t plain for all to see!

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    • Anonymous says:

      They see only what they want to, in other words, selectively blind. One wonders if the judiciary intentionally leave loopholes in legislation just as programmers create backdoors in code. Then again I’ve seen fewer gaps in braille.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Selective application (or non application) of laws. It is awful and appears to be standard operating procedure.

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