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Gov’t, UK exchange tit for tat on cooperation, Saunders stands with Premier on the issue

The rift between Cayman and the United Kingdom over the Sanctions and Anti-Money laundering law takes a new turn.
Conflicting accounts on the level of cooperation relating to financial crime investigations played out in the public domain between Cayman and the UK.
At the centre of the issue, the Premier’s decision to withdraw from an agreement to share information. A decision, Opposition spokesman on Financial Services matters, Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders supports. In fact, he feels no sympathy for the UK.

“They broke the deal, not usSo like with anything else you have cause and effect and there are consequences,” Mr. Saunders said.

Over the weekend a BBC article emerged detailing complaints from UK leaders regarding cooperation with Cayman’s government to share information on suspected financial crime.

“They are just trying to back us into a corner as for whatever reason, I have no idea, but what I can say is that their track record is one of more double standard than anything else and divide and rule or divide and conquer,” said Mr. Saunders.

The Premier’s Office responded to the UK’s position saying “What is even more worrying is that this baseless attack on Cayman’s economy and reputation appears to be due to our public criticism of and affirmation to challenge the recent attempt by the UK Parliament to legislate for Cayman (and other British Overseas Territories) in areas that are a part of our devolved administration.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office countered saying Cayman withdrew from an agreement aimed at sharing information to fight crime.

But Cayman’s leaders said they only did that after the UK announced it was trying to force the creation of a public registry of assets here.

“The UK or the FCO or whoever it is, is in no position to dictate to Cayman in terms of cooperation I think we are well ahead of them, we are well ahead of a lot of international standards and I think our record speaks for itself,” Mr. Saunders said.

As for what happens next Mr. Saunders said ultimately it is in Premier McLaughlin’s court and he will be standing behind his decision.

“I think it is important when it comes down to international affairs and we speak with one voice. I have personally seen the Premier in action and he has represented the island well,” said Mr. Saunders.

This story continues to evolve, earlier Monday (17 September) Premier McLaughlin responded to the FCO saying, “The Cayman Islands stands by its commitment to cooperation with all international law enforcement, including the National Crime Agency, but will not be bullied into the violation of fundamental principles of human rights or to cooperating in a way that runs counter to internationally accepted standards.”

Meanwhile, Attorney Anthony Travers, senior partner at law firm Travers and Alberga, joined Cayman 27’s Kevin Morales and Dr. Taylor Burrowes to discuss the latest developments on this story.
Read the Premier’s statement released Monday (17 September) : Statement FCO and NCA Comments 17.9.18 Final (1)

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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