Preparing Cayman for the future was a key theme of the Premier’s New Year’s message.
Under those auspices, a thorny issue for Government moving forward this New Year is relations with the UK, which have been somewhat strained since Westminster voted to amend the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
That vote forces British Overseas Territories, like Cayman, to make a public register of beneficial owners of companies and assets registered here.
Hon. Alden McLaughlin addressed concerns surrounding what he has previously dubbed “constitutional overreach.”
“I believe that the work that Government and private sector have done, and the legislation passed in December, will help us avoid blacklisting by the European Union. But the challenges to our financial services sector will not stop here, so we are prepared to continue defending Cayman and our economic pillars wherever we need to,” Mr. McLaughlin vowed.
The Governor – who might be a target for some of those frustrations – also spoke to relations with Britain in his New Year’s message.
He did not specifically acknowledge the tensions over beneficial ownership but, instead, reflected on the strength of the existing bonds between the two countries.
“I do believe that the relationship between the UK and Cayman is very strong,” H.E. Martyn Roper stated.
“One of my objectives in 2019 will be to nurture and strengthen that relationship even more in the future. Already I’ve seen the strong affection there is for HM the Queen and the royal family on these wonderful islands,” Mr. Roper elaborated.
The Premier also touched on two new entities recently given the go-ahead by the UK. The first: a Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs and the second: a Government Office in Hong Kong.
The Premier explained the motivation behind that move, promising to “not sit back and hope that business will keep coming our way. We must increasingly fight for it in those markets that are important to us, and to defend Cayman wherever we need to.”
The Governor previously served as Deputy Head of Mission in China and has spoken in the past about his hopes to nurture trade relations with the Far East.