As a delegation from Cayman meets with members of Congress and policymakers, the group is also building on work that has been ongoing for several years.
The visit follows a similar trip to Washington in March 2007 following the mid-term Congressional elections in 2006, also led by Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts along with several members of Cabinet and representatives from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.
On this trip the hope is that the delegation can meet with members of the Ways and Means, House Financial Services, and Senate Finance Committees, which have jurisdiction over legislation in taxation, financial services, trade and international cooperation. .
‘We want to open more channels on the lawmaking and legislative side,’ said Portfolio of Finance Public Relations Director Ted Bravakis. ‘Obviously, we’d like to talk with someone in the legislative branch about legislation to do with offshore.’
The Cayman delegation will includes the Minster for International Financial Services Policy Alden McLaughlin, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chairman Carlyle McLaughlin.
Mr. Bravakis said members of the delegation may also have the chance to discuss Cayman’s situation with possible future decision makers.
‘A lot of key appointments have yet to be made in the Obama administration,’ said Mr. Bravakis.
‘For instance, not one assistant secretary in the Treasury Department has been chosen, yet,’ he said.
Mr. Bravakis said the Cayman Islands has invested heavily in facilitating relationship-building between with key US Congressional leaders.
‘That is in addition to reinforcing existing ties with several areas of the administration, including the departments of Treasury, Justice, and State, and their related agencies,’ said Mr Bravakis.
‘On the US legislative front, the Cayman Islands financial services industry was referenced in the domestic debate on US tax policies. This required interventions at several levels in the US Government to educate and inform political leaders and their advisors of the quality, integrity and stability of Cayman’s financial services,’ he said.
Since January 2006 Cayman’s interests have been represented on the ground by Fleishman-Hillard, first hired by the Portfolio of Finance in January 2006, to engage in public affairs and public relations for the Portfolio of Finance.
‘Representing us we have a core team in Washington, London and New York, but we have access to their network that spans the globe, meaning we can target certain locations as the need arises as well, such as in Brussels and Beijing.’
Mr. Bravakis said the firm does a lot more than just work on US legislation, including work on the Government Accountability Office review of the Cayman Islands, and treasury work in the UK.
‘For instance, they were instrumental in getting us media coverage for a feature in the Economist,’ he said.
Along with discussing legislation, the current Cayman delegation also hopes to engage with U.S. counterparts on key global topics including the G20 Summit, regulatory reforms, transparency and financial services innovation, and; outreach to stakeholders and interest groups outside of the US government who share a mutual concern in ensuring US access to offshore in a responsible way.
Mr. Bravakis also noted the timing of the Cayman visit coincides with visits from the UK and Switzerland, which will be discussing the same subjects, placing the offshore debate front and centre.
It’s not just Washington that’s in the sights of Cayman’s representatives.
‘We will be taking every opportunity to make sure that our interests are managed leading up to and following the G-20 summit taking place in London in April,’ said Mr. Bravakis.
‘That could include additional outreach, including advance papers and meetings with government officials and opinion formers who will be debating these issues at the G-20.’