I of course support unreservedly the Premier’s position.
Over the past three decades in which I have been involved in government, the Cayman Islands has introduced world-leading standards of transparency with regard to money laundering and criminal investigation, which exceed those standards in effect in the United States and the European Union.
The Cayman Islands has for decades maintained registers of beneficial ownership available to law enforcement and tax authorities, and now has this information available on a central register which is not available to the public. This is entirely consistent with the Cayman Islands Constitution and the Bill of Rights which guarantees every person’s private affairs shall be maintained in confidence, save on the enquiry of an agent of the government or a public body established by law.
These new proposals, I note with astonishment, do not extend to Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, but target, specifically, the legitimate financial services industry of the Cayman Islands. I assume that the members of Parliament in the United Kingdom were not aware that, unlike the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands has systems already in place which require the maintaining, by the corporate and other professional persons, of substantial information on persons who are directors, officers, shareholders and/or controllers of corporate and investment vehicles. This information is available when there is a justifiable need by law enforcement agencies.
In the event that the matter cannot be sorted out through negotiation, the Premier, Mr. Alden McLaughlin, and the Cabinet have my full support to determine the legitimacy of the proposals through the legal system, as the same appear to be a clear violation of the Cayman Islands Constitution, an individual’s legitimate right to privacy.
The Cayman Islands government is under an obligation to protect its people and, in the light of this suggested and unwarranted intrusion, to consider all its options which responses I will fully support and urge all Caymanians to support the Premier.
Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP, MLA, is the elected member for West Bay West and Speaker of the House.