Today’s Editorial July 11: Large shoes to fill at CIMA

The Portfolio of Finance and Economics announced this week that Carlyle McLaughlin Jr. would succeed Tim Ridley as chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

For avoidance of doubt, the word ‘succeed’ should be read as ‘replace’, for this was not a case of Mr. Ridley resigning or asking for his appointment not to be renewed.

The government gave no reason why it deemed it necessary to replace Mr. Ridley, but no doubt his outspoken nature played a part.

Since assuming the chairmanship of CIMA in 2004, Mr. Ridley blazed a trail for Cayman’s financial regulatory body, helping it gain respect on the global stage. He did not necessarily do this quietly, however, and he was more than willing to state his contrary opinions on policy matters, always prefacing such statements by saying they were personal views.

Mr. Ridley gave praise when praise was warranted, but he also did not hold back on criticisms – against the US, the UK or even the Cayman Islands government that appointed him – if he felt they were necessary.

Not afraid of the media, Mr. Ridley developed a good relationship with several of the news outlets because he recognised the need to spread the messages about the accomplishments and challenges facing the Cayman Islands financial services industry.

Along with fellow outgoing director Richard Rahn, Mr. Ridley was a consistent and fearless advocate of the Cayman Islands, always calling for a level playing field for the jurisdiction when it came to financial service regulations.

Mr. Ridley was not shy in saying it was the financial services industry, and not the tourism industry, that was the primary business generator for the Cayman Islands.

With a passion about the Cayman Islands financial services industry and time to devote to subject, Mr. Ridley seemed to know about developments that could affect the Cayman Islands before anyone else in the government.

As a former senior partner of the law firm Maples, Mr. Ridley didn’t need the job at CIMA, but he nevertheless took it on with professionalism, dexterity and aplomb.

And now he has been unceremoniously dismissed with little notice, leaving scarce time for a transition period.

While we wish Mr. McLaughlin well in his new role, we must say he has a tough act to follow.

We join Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson in thanking Mr. Ridley for his fine service to the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Ridley was a consistent and fearless advocate of the Cayman Islands, always calling for a level playing field for the jurisdiction when it came to financial service regulations.

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