Today’s Editorial February 29: US going fishing

Company’s coming.

Someone(s) from the United States Government Accountability Office will be here next week to talk about tax evasion and Ugland House.

Maybe they’ll pay attention and listen while receiving technical briefings and background on the Cayman Islands legal and regulatory framework for our financial services industry.

The Cayman Islands – and now Ugland House – are the topic of tirades from US political candidates, especially those posturing during an election year.

Time after time we’ve heard US congressmen and wannabes politically stump on the grounds that they’re going to come down here to the Cayman Islands and stop companies from hiding their money in our banks to avoid paying US taxes.

Rubbish.

The impetus for this little visit (vacation) next week was sparked last June when two US senators determined things may not be quite up to snuff at Ugland House.

They asked the GAO to come here to determine what business the registered corporations carry out in the Cayman Islands; what business reasons exist for incorporating in the Cayman Islands; what information is available on the entities registered at Ugland House, including how many are associated with US citizens, residents or organisations and whether they are complying with US tax laws; and to what extent the US Internal Revenue Service has looked into the US tax compliance implications of the entities.

We said it last year and we’ll say it again: Yes, there’s a lot at stake in the upcoming elections in the United States, but points should not be made on the back of the Cayman Islands.

We have a long history and a solid working relationship with the United States Treasury, which includes the Internal Revenue Service, the SEC and the Department of Justice.

Our government and those in our financial industry have worked hard with the US and others throughout the world to ensure Americans who seek to evade their taxes aren’t offered protection here.

While the US senators are casting Cayman and Ugland house in a negative light, they’re borderline slandering Maples and Calder, the largest law firm in the Cayman Islands, and Ugland House tenant.

To make inference that M&C is engaged in illegal tax evasion is an insult to that firm, our government and our country.

Hopefully those who come here representing the GAO next week will remain objective and act independently of the two senators and allow us to finally set the record straight.

We find it amusing that just about everything the GAO wants to know – on orders from the US Senate Finance Committee – is already in the public domain, so we’re not really sure why US taxpayers’ money is being used for what may amount to a needless trip.

But if this trip finally clears our good name once and for all, we welcome our visitors with open arms and transparency.

When our visitors finish fishing in our financial industry waters may we suggest a charter trip with one of our friendly boat captains for a true Caymanian fishing expedition?

We hope they enjoy all Cayman has to offer and if they forget the sunscreen, we’re sure someone will oblige.

BREAKOUT

We said it last year and we’ll say it again: Yes, there’s a lot at stake in the upcoming elections in the United States, but points should not be made on the back of the Cayman Islands.

We have a long history and a solid working relationship with the United States Treasury, which includes the Internal Revenue Service, the SEC and the Department of Justice.

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