The Cayman Islands is looking for a new London office director and a U.K. lobbyist following the termination this week of Lord Blencathra’s consulting contract.
According to a statement from the premier’s office, the contract between Two Lions Consultancy – the Tory Lord’s company – and the Cayman islands government terminated Monday. As a result, Lord Blencathra, formerly David MacLean, is no longer the director of the Cayman Islands London office.
Lord Blencathra’s lobbying contract was the subject of controversy in both the U.K. and in Cayman almost since its inception in late 2011. Some local politicians blasted the former United Democratic Party’s selection for the London office job, stating that a Caymanian should have been hired. Politicos in the U.K. accused Lord Blencathra of violating parliamentary rules by lobbying lawmakers while serving as a member of the House of Lords.
Lord Blencathra has denied that he was improperly lobbying U.K. politicians as part of his duties under the $14,000 per month Cayman Islands contract. He has previously drawn a distinction between lobbying parliament members and lobbying government, as in civil service managers. A 2012 investigation conducted by the Commission for Standards in the U.K. found Lord Blencathra had not breached parliamentary rules.
However, a Lords committee recommended changes in lobbying rules to include a ban on lobbying government officials, as well as on elected politicians. Those changes are expected to receive the full approval of the House of Lords this year.
Lord Blencathra did not respond to Caymanian Compass requests for comment on the contract termination.
“We have mutually concluded that some terms of the contract could be construed to be in conflict with the recently amended Lords Code of Conduct guidelines and that, on that basis, the agreement of Nov. 1, 2012, will be terminated,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said.
Premier McLaughlin said the London office position will be advertised, but he did not indicate whether the duties of the person selected would include lobbying on behalf of the Cayman Islands. However, protecting and promoting the interests of the Cayman Islands in the U.K. and Europe is still a priority of the Progressives-led government, the premier indicated. Meanwhile, Lord Blencathra has found himself under a second investigation by the Lords Commissioner for Standards, this one at his own request.
The request was made following reports that the initial Two Lions consulting contract with the Cayman Islands government included lobbying parliament among Lord Blencathra’s duties.
“I have refuted [the allegations] and I categorically deny that I am in breach of the code,” Lord Blencathra said in an email to the Caymanian Compass last week.
“This is a rehash of the original allegations which was fully investigated and I was cleared. I did not lobby parliament and that was accepted by the commissioner for standards.”
Former Premier McKeeva Bush, who led the UDP government in 2009-2012, lauded Lord Blencathra for his efforts on behalf of Cayman.
“[Lord] Blencathra did a good job in guiding the Cayman Islands office work in the U.K.,” Mr. Bush said. “[The U.K.] really doesn’t want anyone there, particularly someone who was a party whip, that is more than familiar with the way Whitehall operates and who knows ministers, undersecretaries and directors.”