Setting the record straight

I do not usually respond to letters in the newspaper directly, but Mr. Truman Bodden and Mr. John McLean’s letter in the 28th April edition of your publication demands a response because of what the writers do not say.

They say Cayman being on the ‘grey list’ recently published by the OECD under the auspices of the G20 is bad. They say I am incompetent and inexperienced in international negotiations and so is Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts. That is why we are on the grey list and in such bad company as virtually all our competitors save the Crown Dependencies.

What they do not say is that under the experienced leadership of Mr. Truman and as a result of his stellar international negotiating skills, Cayman was blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force in 2000. This, among other things, forced both of the writers into involuntary retirement from active politics, although they both continue to dabble from the fringes. What they do not say is that it was the negotiating team led by Kurt Tibbetts and of which I was a member which successfully negotiated the Cayman Islands off the FATF Blacklist in June 2001. It was also that same team that successfully negotiated the Cayman Islands first Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the United States in October 2001.

The reality is that these are very challenging times all round. The issues affecting the financial services sector are grave but Cayman continues to meet these challenges head on. We are committed to international standards of regulation, anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regimes and to tax information exchange.

We presently have in place eight Tax Information Exchange Agreements with OECD countries and territories.

Further, we are able to provide tax information to another 12 countries under the unilateral mechanism arrangements contained in our Tax Information Authority Law. The OECD Forum will shortly consider for recognition the unilateral mechanism which we have utilized. In addition, we are actively pursuing TIEAs with another four OECD states to ensure we meet the present number of arrangements with respect to cooperation in tax information exchange. Given all the foregoing, we are confident that Cayman will shortly migrate to the White List.

Mr. Truman and Mr. John are entitled to state their views, however out of touch and outmoded they may be. But they should really make an effort to be more factual.

Alden McLaughlin – Minister, International Financial Services Policy