Cayman’s leaders mount a united front as the country prepares to face what Premier Alden McLaughlin describes as a fight for our very existence.
Speaking at yesterday’s (24 May) media briefing the Premier made it clear Cayman’s fight is not against public beneficial ownership registries.
But rather the fight is about this country’s right to legislate locally and not have the UK dictate Cayman’s laws.
On the eve of the 1st anniversary of his administration Premier McLaughlin geared up for a battle for what he says is Cayman’s very existence.
“We do not accept it and should the UK Government proceed ultimately to issue an Order in Council to amend local legislation to impose public registries it will be resisted through the Cayman Islands courts,” he said.
The Premier said the UK has agreed to fresh constitutional discussions to address what he described as overreach by UK legislators.
“If we allow this particular situation to go unchallenged we know what the outcome is likely to be. Similarly so with respect to voting rights, the rights to stand for election. They could threaten the very basis of the way the Cayman Islands currently operates,” he said.
Wednesday (23 May) the Premier, joined by Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller and Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott presented a united front on Cayman’s position as the UK pushes for public beneficial ownership registry in Cayman.
“We will continue to support the Premier and his Government in his efforts to react to this unfortunate act by the House of Commons. We stand four square with him to protect the financial industry and the Cayman Islands in general,” Mr. Miller said.
“This is merely one of things that is being pushed by certain NGOs that are intended to create sort of disadvantages or discrimination in small jurisdictions like ourselves,” Mr. Scott said.
The Premier said he doesn’t see this situation costing Cayman business, as for independence from the UK.
“I regard independence as being ultimately inevitable. But I want to be sure, we all need to be sure that we are as prepared as we possibly can as a jurisdiction and as a people for what is a hugely greater step than many people seem to believe,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
The Premier returns to London on 11 June. While there he said he will engage the UK Government in constitutional discussions.
Governor HE Anwar Choudhury is the UK’s representative here.
We reached out to his office for comment. A spokesperson said he returns to Cayman next week.
They added Mr. Choudhury was with the Premier in London last week and attended a number of meetings on the issue with him.