Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin and Opposition Leader Hon. McKeeva Bush don’t agree on much these days, but both men are singing the same tune on UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s call to impose direct rule on British overseas territories, which he labeled “Honey pots of corruption.”
They both agree Mr. Corbyn is misinformed and missing the mark on the realities of Cayman’s financial services industry.
“The call by Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader of the United Kingdom, for the imposition of direct rule in the overseas territories is absolutely preposterous,” Mr. McLaughlin told Cayman 27.
“Direct rule cannot and will not happen in these islands,” said Mr. Bush.
“He seems to believe we are still living in the 18th century where the United Kingdom, a colonial power, can just do what it pleases to the people of one of its colonies. Well, fortunately we’ve moved well beyond that,” said Mr. McLaughlin.
The premier chalked up these misinformed attitudes to long-standing misconceptions jurisdictions like ours can’t seem to shake, despite the country’s history of compliance on tax and money laundering matters and international cooperation.
“We’ve moved well beyond that a long time ago. Cayman is one the most compliant jurisdictions in the world, with respect to global standards for reporting transparency and cooperation with respect to tax matters and we have one of the most robust anti-money laundering regimes in the world in place,” said Mr. McLaughlin.
“Labour is talking rubbish,” said Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush said it’s absurd that talk of direct rule is coming to the fore now, when successive UK governments have had a hand in shaping Cayman’s tax transparency laws.
“The problem for the United Kingdom and other countries is that the metropolitan countries have onshore centers that do not comply with what they want us to do,” said Mr. Bush.
Both men say Mr. Corbyn and his Labour Party are misdirecting their attention.
“Labour is not being reasonable, nor have they thought out what their leader is suggesting,” said Mr. Bush.
“Cayman is not Panama,” said the Premier.
The premier told Cayman 27 based on his talks with the UK government, he doesn’t believe it shares Mr. Corbyn’s views.
He said he does take the threat of direct rule seriously. The country has engaged legal counsel, just in case.