Today, the Cayman Islands faces such a threat, not from any enemy but from our maternal relation, the United Kingdom.
We refer, of course, to England’s insistence that Cayman and our British Overseas Territories brethren implement a public, centralized ownership registry for beneficial owners of locally registered offshore businesses and also — which is more extreme — trusts.
This is a measure that has not been enacted by a single one of Cayman’s offshore competitors or any of the G-20 countries, and hasn’t been seriously contemplated by any major country except the U.K.
Before the Legislative Assembly on Monday, Premier Alden McLaughlin declared unequivocally and correctly that this is a potentially disastrous plan that Cayman will resist — and certainly will not spearhead.
“Unless such registers become the new global standard…neither we, nor any other overseas territory or Crown dependency intend to go first and have our economies experimented with and potentially damaged,” he said.
Exactly right. That’s the “HARDTalk” we like to hear from our Premier.
From our perspective, we see the public register proposal as yet another example of the U.K.’s being unduly influenced by its relationship with the European Union and the motley assemblage of high-tax, high-spend bureaucrats who have led Europe to the fiscal abyss.
The U.K.’s prime minister, David Cameron, who is pushing this public registry scheme, should know better. He has become increasingly critical of the increasingly political European Union, and his current position on the public registry appears to be incongruent with his overall capitalistic conservative views.
While England shows little restraint in instructing Cayman on how to run its affairs, it might be productive for our so-called Mother Country to engage in a reflective inward look.
What She would find is a rapidly growing national debt of about $1.88 trillion, or 90 percent of the country’s gross domestic product — a ratio horrifyingly similar to that of France and Spain, and several multiples greater than Cayman’s.
In regard to immigration, She would find an absolute mess. England’s failure to regulate the flood of inbound foreigners, or to steward the integration and assimilation of new residents, has engendered communities of “strangers,” who, although they happen to live in the U.K., do not identify themselves as British — or even wish to relate to the British.
In fact, many are not the least bit reluctant to state publicly that they hate the British. Isolated enclaves and ghettos serve as incubators for radical “homegrown” terrorists eager to praise ISIS, while at the same time condemning the U.K. and Her allies.
The list of England’s social and economic deficiencies could go on to include the government’s warping influence on the British press, the paranoiac British security apparatus, and any number of restrictions or transgressions of individual liberties.
In this instance, Premier McLaughlin, his government and those of the other British Overseas Territories are acting astutely by presenting a united front against the U.K.’s misguided dictate regarding public registries.
It’s one thing for Britain to flirt with, or appease, the European Union’s bureaucratic bullies in Brussels, but it is quite another to attempt to export their toxic economic orthodoxy 4,800 miles west to their territories in the Caribbean.