The European Union’s 2019 blacklist is on the horizon and come Monday (17 December) lawmakers will debate key bills to help keep us in the safe zone.
Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders says while those legislative changes are necessary he wants Caymanian interests protected in the process.
The clock is winding down for Cayman to enact measures to keep off the European Union’s blacklist, but bills are heading to the LA to aid this cause like the Economic Substance Bill.
“If businesses do have an issue now in this day and age of terrorist financing and everything else and they want to be discreet then the Cayman Islands is not the place for you,” said Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders.
He said the measures in the Economic Substance Bill are important for Cayman’s financial services which will help keep us in line with Base Erosion and Profit Shifting or BEPS tax rules.
“I support the principle what the government is trying to get done, but it is the legislative impact analysis that has not yet been completed, in terms of, what the far-reaching consequences would be and that is why we have these debates I want to see what the government debate will be,” he said.
Mr. Saunders, the Opposition spokesman on financial services matters, said being compliant with international laws and regulate our financial services industry is key, but so too is protecting local interests.
“We need to make sure that this is not something that is also going to increase cost too much for businesses that will actually force them to leave, not from the fact that they have nothing to hide, but from the fact that it has become too expensive to do business in the Cayman Islands,” he said.
The new bill proposes a substance test on the legitimacy of businesses resident here. It also proposes the creation of offices with staff. Mr. Saunders said this raises Immigration questions.
“Definitely you are asking them to basically have more employees now. If we have the right system where we make sure that Caymanians benefit from those opportunities then fine,” he said.
Cayman Finance has come out in support of the bill saying it is pleased government is moving to adopt the new global standard which will also be applied to the other 123 BEPS member jurisdictions.
The Economic Substance Bill heads to the House on Monday.