Washington trip successful

A high-level delegation from the Cayman Islands had a productive trip to Washington, DC last week, even if no particular agreements were reached.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the visit was part of the Finance Public Relations Unit’s Cabinet-endorsed global strategy to proactively reach out to the opinion formers of key other governments.

‘We went to Washington to spread the good news about the Cayman Islands,’ Mr. Tibbetts said.

‘I can tell you that the Cayman Islands delegation was well received and there was sincere appreciation shown among the U.S. House and Senate leadership for our efforts to proactively and openly take the initiative and outline our industry and its relative importance to the U.S.’

Cayman’s delegation included Mr. Tibbetts; Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin in his capacity as Minister for International Financial Services Policy; Attorney General Sam Bulgin; Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson; Deputy Financial Secretary for Financial Services Deborah Drummond; Cayman Islands Monetary Authority General Counsel Langston Sibblies; Deputy Managing Director Patrick Bodden; and Portfolio of Finance Public Relations Unit Director Ted Bravakis.

Mr. Tibbetts said the purpose of the trip was not to resolve any particular issues.

‘There were no formal agreements reached,’ he said. ‘That is not the type of [visit] it was. There was nothing like that to achieve.’

Mr. Tibbetts said the visit was entirely one of the Cayman government’s own initiative, which was even more warranted because of the changing political landscape in the U.S. following the November 2006 elections that brought the American Democratic Party into control of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

‘I think it was absolutely important for us to meet, greet and shake hands with [the people in Washington] so they could see our sincerity and meet us directly.’

Among the many important meetings the delegation had were ones with U.S. Representative Charles Rangle, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; U.S. Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee; and U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader.

Mr. Tibbetts said the Cayman delegation split up in meeting some of the people.

The delegation had particularly important meetings with members of the U.S. Ways and Means Committee – a body that deals with taxation matters – and with the House and Senate Financial Services Committees and Banking Committees.

‘We knew from our advance work and discussions leading up to this visit that there is uneven awareness and appreciation of the Cayman Islands’ financial services industry among these particular audiences,’ Mr. Tibbetts said.

The delegation also met with economic think tanks, including that of Richard Rahn’s Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Tibbetts said the delegation’s message to the people it met with was one that indicated it was a ‘friendly partner of the U.S. government.’

‘We also wanted to ensure that any misconceptions about our industry were addressed and we stressed the importance of open dialogue in hopes of being able to provide input on any potential U.S. legislative activities that may come to light and with may have implications for the Cayman Islands.’

Mr. Tibbetts said the delegation received no complaints about Cayman’s financial services industry and that its money-laundering and counter terrorist regimes were duly noted.

‘Clearly our investments in those regimes have started to become more recognised,’ he said.

When it came to the issues of taxes, Mr. Tibbetts said the Cayman Government has recognised that U.S. policymakers are looking at all sources of revenue, including the activities of U.S. individuals and entities with a presence in international financial centres such as the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Tibbetts said the delegation emphasised that the Cayman Islands Government recognised that all U.S. individuals and entities must meet their tax obligations.

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