Premier heads into hostile territory

Due to appear on hard-hitting interview show and speak at corruption conference at Chatham House

Premier Alden McLaughlin is planning an appearance on BBC’s “HARDtalk” on his trip to the United Kingdom, during which he will also deliver a keynote address at the Chatham House think-tank. 

“It’s a pretty big stage,” Mr. McLaughlin said of ‘HARDtalk,’ a hard-hitting current affairs interview show. “It’s my honor to represent the Cayman Islands and the overseas territories. We all have a good story to tell. As far as we are aware, this will be the first appearance of a leader from an overseas territory to appear on ‘HARDtalk.’” 

Topics for the TV show, which is presented by Stephen Sackur, include Cayman’s status as an international finance center, the use of the term “tax haven,” international efforts to curb tax avoidance, banking regulation in the Cayman Islands and reported recent tensions between Caymanians and the expat community. 

Mr. McLaughlin is also set to deliver one of two keynote addresses during the two-day conference on corruption held at Chatham House, a place not typically high on the list of offshore finance supporters. 

The title of the conference is Combatting Global Corruption: Shared Standards and Common Practice. The event will be held Feb. 3 and 4.  

The conference will explore potential ways to tackle global corruption and consider the role of governments and businesses in doing so. Participants and speakers will assess international efforts and consider their consequences for future business practices and governance. 

“It’s rare that a leader of a U.K. [Overseas] Territory has the opportunity to address anti-corruption initiatives from a global perspective,” Mr. McLaughlin said.  

One Chatham House associate, Nick Shaxson, wrote the book “Treasure Islands” about Cayman and other jurisdictions he termed “offshore tax havens.”  

During a 2012 interview, Mr. Shaxson noted his views on the subject: “The United Kingdom … runs a huge network of satellite tax havens around it, feeding the City of London.  

“The U.K. and its overseas territories, which it partly controls, include the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, British Virgin Islands. Massive tax havens. And also the crown dependencies which are Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. And these are all like, in Treasure Islands I describe it as a bit like a spider’s web with the City of London at the middle.  

“So these places are capturing money from around the world, and the business of handling the money from around the world and funneling this money up to London.” 

The premier also plans to meet with officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office while in London. 

Traveling with the premier, his office confirmed, will be Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose and Senior Political Adviser Roy Tatum. 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I really truly hope he is prepared for this. He will surely get hit with some very aggressive questions and I don’t think it will be as easy to fool them by avoiding the answers as he so eloquently does here on his home turf.

  2. I’m confident the new premier will handle himself well. He’s polished, educated and well versed in the give and take of questions and answers no matter how hard hitting. Most of the financial inquiring is quite simple; we are complying with all rules and regulations and we have signed agreements with various jurisdictions to prove it. On misdeeds, they may want to call the first Premier for that. As to the Foreign Commonwealth Office; the Premier make ask them what can they do to bust our education system without cost to Cayman’s treasury? Yes, I have faith in our Premier to represent these Islands with dignity and respect and I’m sure there are many more that feel positive about his trip as well. Negativity does not dwell here.

  3. At least lets give our leader some moral support. I believe he is quite capable of stating the outstanding progress Cayman has made as a financial centre. Further the subject matter is defined, it is not as if he have to shoot from the hip. One thing I can say after watching this hard hitting talk show for years, the host is firm but fair, with question being quite relevant.