Three United Kingdom Members of Parliament maintained a packed meetings schedule during their one-week visit to the Cayman Islands, expanding their original itinerary to include more contact with government and private-sector officials, Cayman’s youth and public-interest groups.
The delegation comprised Graham Brady, chairman of the Cayman Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group; Brian Donohoe, vice chair of the APPG; and Andrew Rosindell, chairman of the Overseas Territories All-Party Parliamentary Group. The official visit concluded Friday, 6 April.
The MPs’ final schedule included meetings with ministries and departments representing the finance industry and commerce; the environment, including marine parks; environmental health; tourism; airports and seaports; public audits; public safety; and public finance.
They met with representatives from statutory authorities the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange; greeted the Speaker of the House; attended a sitting of the Legislative Assembly; and met with Cabinet, UDP caucus, the Opposition, and the Independent MLA.
Messrs Brady, Donohoe and Rosindell also had meetings with the Governor and Deputy Governor and were briefed by the Chief of Staff and Cabinet Secretary on their respective areas. In the private sector, the delegation met representatives of Cayman Enterprise City, Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre, The Dart Group, the Chamber of Commerce and Cayman Finance.
Meetings also were held to speak with Cayman’s youth, and with members of the West Bay Action Committee, Save Cayman, Keep BT Dump Free and the Concerned Citizen Group.
Premier McKeeva Bush said the visit had been extremely useful to government and to the UK delegation.
“For persons in the UK Parliamentary system who genuinely have Cayman’s interests at heart, it is important to ensure they get the opportunity to know us in Cayman – not just from what they see in reports, or glean from email and telephone contacts, but across
face with a good cross-section of us,” he said. “Experiencing Cayman firsthand enhances the MPs’ ability to speak with authority when any matter concerning our Islands is on the table, or raised in the press. They are enabled to speak confidently about hot-button topics in finance, tourism, and eco-diversity, but also able to convey from real life an understanding of how Cayman works, how we make it work, that redresses many popular misconceptions and stereotypes.”
The MPS said they enjoyed their visit.
“We have had intensive briefings this week on all major issues affecting Cayman and your economy of The Cayman Islands. It is particularly encouraging to see that the financial services sector and the regulatory authorities have such a deep commitment to conducting business with honesty and transparency – and indeed see it rightly, as a competitive advantage to meet all the international requirements for openness and cooperation. We look forward to hearing that the Cayman Islands have met the OECD Phase Two requirements later this year,” said Mr. Brady.
“I am always concerned about creating jobs for local people in my own constituency. So I was extremely interested in the visit and what is being done to create jobs. We have had bitter experience in the UK of whole communities suffering when older industries have declined and there has been nothing to take their place. So we will watch with interest the developments here,” said Mr. Donohoe.
“I am passionate about all of the British Overseas Territories, including Cayman. I have long campaigned for Her Majesty’s Government to give them more respect and treat them as equal. The Overseas Territories have decided to remain British, but no UK government should take that for granted. I believe that the UK and all the Territories are better off as part of this special relationship and we are all stronger because of it.
The Overseas Territories are also the finest repositories of biodiversity on the planet and they do not receive enough credit for it,” said Mr. Rosindell.