Thursday 24 September, 2020

Cayman to fight UK’s public register demands

Premier Alden McLaughlin in the Legislative Assembly (LA) on Thursday said that Cayman would not sit quietly and accept the UK government’s plans to impose a public register.

The UK Parliament passed an amendment to the legislation known as the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, which received Royal Assent in April 2018.

The newly amended act makes publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership compulsory for companies registered in British Overseas Territories, by December 31, 2020

However, the Premier has said that Cayman would not be changing any laws or making any moves to adopt legislation to implement public registries of beneficial ownership.

McLaughlin suggested that the public register if implemented in Cayman would constitute a constitutional overreach by the UK Parliament.

“So Mister Speaker, I have said many times since the amendment passed in the UK Parliament that the Cayman Islands will not accept that the United Kingdom Parliament has any right to legislate for us when it comes to domestic matters that are devolved to local government,” said McLaughlin in the LA.

How do you feel about the public register issue and Cayman’s response?

It is a big deal, if not addressed now we will have further interference from the UK in Cayman’s domestic affairs.
44%
We are a British Overseas Territory and unless we are willing go the route full self-governance what’s the point?
33%
Much ado about nothing (Don’t Know/ Don’t Care)
0%
Don’t understand the issue well enough.
22%

In giving an exhaustive account of the history surrounding what McLaughlin called the parliament’s attempts to ‘force the issue of Public Registers on the territories’; the Premier was sure to thank Lord Ahmad, the Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories, and Lord Naseby, in particular, for their efforts in helping to “resist and fend of the threat”.

McLaughlin says that he not just challenging the issue of the public register but also fighting to restrict the powers of the UK Parliament to legislate for the Cayman Islands is significantly restricted.

“What we are striving for is to have aspects of the constitution clarified to ensure that the ability of the UK Parliament to legislate for the Cayman Islands is significantly restricted. In particular, we are proposing that the power currently reserved to Her Majesty in Section 125 of the Constitution, which is the section that says Her Majesty reserves unto herself the power to legislate for the territories with respect to peace, order and good government be removed,” added McLaughlin.

If the 2020 deadline is missed, the act requires the UK Secretary of State to draft orders to force the territories to comply.

In the meantime, McLaughlin says his office is currently waiting for confirmation on the start talks surrounding the issues.

Failing a successful resolution from these talks, the Premier has vowed to formulate a challenge, one he says he is prepared to take all the way to the Privy Council.

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