Lobbying listed in London office duties

Lobbyist duties are listed among the job requirements for the head of the Cayman Islands government’s London office, according to job advertisements released this month.

Cayman is shopping for a new London office director following the departure of Lord Blencathra (formerly David MacLean) from the post amid concerns that United Kingdom House of Lords rules changes would render him unable to carry out his duties.

According to the job posting: “[The successful candidate for London office director] advocates on behalf of the Cayman Islands in areas including: international financial services, immigration, inward investment, provision of information and recruitment.”

However, the applicant will also be required to run and administer a public sector office, according to the job advert. “The representative … is responsible for [an annual] budget of £500,000,” the notice reads.

The pay being offered for the London office director’s position is between CI$96,000 and CI$117,500, significantly less than the £12,000 per month [about CI$200,000 per year] Lord Blencathra’s consulting firm, Two Lions, was reportedly paid for his Cayman contract between late 2011 and March 31, 2014.

“The representative develops and maintains strategic links in order to gather pertinent information, promote the Cayman Islands and facilitate greater economic, social, cultural and political understanding amongst critical stakeholders,” the job posting states.

The post contains no requirement that a Caymanian or permanent resident be selected for the job.

“It is critical that government continues to have the benefit of proper advice on these matters in order to protect and promote the interests of the Cayman Islands,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said. “We are considering our options.”

Lord Blencathra’s lobbying contract was the subject of controversy in both the U.K. and in Cayman almost since its inception. 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 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.

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.

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