Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin sounded the battle cry in the LA last night (15 November,) making it clear Cayman will not back down nor will it accept being included on the European Union’s Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions blacklist that’s due in December.
The Premier put his cards on the table right here in the LA last night during debate on amendments creating Cayman’s beneficial ownership information platform. Those amendments were passed in the LA today (16 November).
They are part of Cayman’s ongoing efforts to comply with international standards. But the Premier said even with all those efforts, Cayman continues to face sustained attacks on its financial services industry. Now, he said it’s time to draw the line in the sand – and he has the Opposition’s support to do it.
“If the choice is the blacklist or maintaining the basis of the business that we have now we will choose the blacklist.”
Premier McLaughlin went on the offensive Wednesday in the face of mounting international criticism and the looming EU Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions blacklist.
“We cannot make unreasonable concessions which will have the effect of making the Cayman Islands irrelevant to the very business that is the basis of our existence as a financial services jurisdiction,” the Premier said.
The Premier said it is time the United Kingdom does right by its overseas territories when it comes time to vote on the EU blacklist.
“If the UK holds out Cayman or no other territory can be blacklisted,” he added.
If Cayman makes it on to the list, he said, “Cayman’s presence on or off it will be a defining point in how we go forward in terms of continued cooperation with EU entities.”
He has the backing from across the aisle.
“We as a country, as a nation, as a people have to stand together to give the government our full support,” said George Town MLA Kenneth Bryan.
MLA Chris Saunders suggested even more radical steps against those who agree to blacklist us.
“Then we should look at canceling some of those agreements, because what’s the use of us bending our backs over chasing eight percent of businesses?” said Mr Saunders.
The Premier said he and his administration will continue to fight being blacklisted. The list is expected to be published on 5 December. According to Premier McLaughlin the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos “were given a bligh” due to the ravages of the recent hurricanes there.
He said Cayman and Bermuda are in the sights of those who want to take these territories down.