Today’s Editorial March 10: UK visitors seek assurance

More company has arrived.

This time we’re getting guests from the United Kingdom Foreign Affairs Committee.

They arrived yesterday and will be with us through tomorrow.

The visit comes on the heels of a look into our financial services regulations by representatives from the Government Accountability Office, an arm of the United States Congress.

They wanted to make sure we aren’t allowing avenues for people to cheat the US out of tax dollars.

Our UK visitors – MPs Sir John Stanley, Paul Keetch and Greg Pope – will meet with various officials on many issues.

Probably uppermost on most people’s minds will be the constitution review process, of which there is another public meeting tonight in the district of East End.

We know from a December meeting in the UK that the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons that members are quite interested in constitutional modernization in the Cayman Islands.

During that meeting Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts was questioned about the role of the Governor – not the person, but the office – in the Cayman Islands, whether ‘belongers’ have a right to vote and the consultation process with our country as it pertains to the ratification of treaties that apply to Overseas Territories, among other things.

The UK is concerned about ‘belongers’ – or people given citizenship in Overseas Territories – because those people do have some access to the United Kingdom once they are given citizenship and ultimately the right to vote

Like the US visitors, our UK friends are also interested in financial regulations. That, too, was broached in the December meeting in the UK.

Mr. Tibbetts reiterated at the meeting that the Cayman Islands has a strong compliance culture underpinned by modern legislations that complies with international best practice built on a partnership between the government and the private sector.

But like the US, it will be good for the UK to see first-hand that our financial sector is above board.

Another area to be discussed is disaster management.

It is interesting to note that a disaster drill is planned today along Shamrock Road. While we don’t have full details, we do know that traffic disruptions in the Spotts area have been forewarned.

Expect some roads to be closed and keep an eye out for emergency vehicles. Maybe the UK visitors will see first-hand how we manage disasters through this exercise.

Members of Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly will also offer their input on illegal immigration and human rights to our visitors.

Once the visit is complete the committee of three will make a report to the House of Commons and the UK Government will have two months to respond to the committee’s recommendations.

It will be interesting to see what that report says.

A vast amount of ocean and other countries separate us from the United Kingdom. It is understandable the Foreign Affairs Committee wants to visit Overseas Territories to ensure that all is well.

Pullout quote

Probably uppermost on most people’s minds will be the constitution review process, of which there is another public meeting tonight in the district of East End.

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