Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin draws a line in the sand on public beneficial ownership registry issue.
Fresh off a trip to the UK for high-level discussions. The Premier held a press conference today (23 May.)
He said there’ll be no cooperating with the UK when it comes to creating public beneficial ownership registries. Today (23 May) the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money laundering bill was granted royal assent making it law.
It means all 14 British Overseas Territories will have to create public beneficial ownership registries by the end of 2020.
But Premier McLaughlin effectively sent a ‘not today Bobo’ message to the UK on the issue, especially when it comes to co-operating with UK officials to make the registries a reality.
“No, absolutely not. We take the position that the actions would be unlawful and we are not going to participate in that. We would only go down that road if and when any challenge, legal challenge to the Order in Council or the amending legislation in Cayman were to fail,” said the Premier.
The Premier said he will be taking constitutional changes to the UK to protect Cayman’s power to legislate for itself.
He said he will be proposing changes to Section 125 of the Constitution which reserves Her Majesty’s power to legislate for Cayman for peace, order and good government in the Cayman Islands. Mr. McLaughlin said he wants that “it be removed as is the case with the Bermuda Constitution or clarified to matters involving the most serious circumstances such as a fundamental breakdown in public order or endemic corruption in the Government.”
He also shared that the UK tax exchange protocols that were agreed to previously will now fall away. He explained those protocols were they were based on a premise that no longer stands, that being public registries will be implemented here when it becomes a global standard. The Premier also said legal action will be taken challenging the UK law.
In spite of all this, the Premier made it clear Cayman will continue to adhere to its international obligations when it comes to fighting financial crime.
Today Opposition Leader Hon. Ezzard Miller pledged his support to the Premier.
Tonight Mr. Miller and Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders joined Cayman 27’s Kevin Morales and Kafara Augustine to discuss the latest development on this issue.