Premier Alden McLaughlin travels to UK and Europe

Premier Alden McLaughlin is visiting London this week with Roy Tatum, head of the Premier’s Office, to continue talks with the United Kingdom government on issues affecting the Cayman Islands.

He will meet with Ben Wallace, minister of state from the Home Office, and Ben Merrick, director of the Overseas Territories Department of the FCO, about the ongoing constitutional reform discussions started last year, the UK government’s response to the recent Foreign Affairs Committee report on the Overseas Territories as well as public registers of beneficial ownership.

The UK parliament passed a section in the UK Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Act last year that instructed the Foreign Office to issue an order in council to directly implement a public beneficial ownership register in Cayman, if is not in place by 2021.

This date was later pushed back by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to 2023.

The Cayman Islands government argues that the islands have always complied with global standards of financial regulation and should public registers become a global standard, then the Cayman Islands will introduce such a register.

In the interim, the current system for handling beneficial ownership, which is not public, allows timely and ready access to UK and international law enforcement and tax agencies.

In London, the premier will also host a dinner with cross-party parliamentarians as part of the government’s ongoing political engagement programme for the Cayman Islands.

“Continued engagement with MPs and Peers is essential for the Cayman Islands to build and maintain relationships and for them to hear directly what’s happening in our islands,” McLaughlin said.

The premier will then travel to Monaco with Eric Bush, chief officer of the new Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs, and Joel Walton, CEO of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands for a series of meetings with stakeholders in the maritime and superyacht sector.

This is part of Cayman’s ongoing efforts to maintain the significant market share held by the islands’ shipping registry.

McLaughlin said the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry is known globally as a premium maritime flag state and is home to most of the biggest yachts in the world.

“Indeed, the Registry has been rated as one of the best in the world in the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Flag State Performance Table for 2018/19 for the 8th year running,” he said. “The meetings in Monaco are a continuation of efforts started by me last year and as part of our new focus on not only maintaining but growing the Cayman Islands Shipping Register under the newly created Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs.”

For over two decades, Cayman’s Maritime Authority has had a presence in Monaco, where the majority of superyachts docked in the harbour are flying the red ensign of the Cayman Islands. “Monaco, with its wealth of financial services and international high net worth individuals, is a natural fit for the Cayman Islands and its shipping Registry,” Walton said. “It’s an extremely important market for us.”

While in Monaco, the premier is expected to meet with the first minister and will also participate in the 8th annual St. Tropez to Monaco charity bike ride.

This will be an opportunity to continue promoting the Cayman Islands as McLaughlin will be riding with Prince Albert of Monaco as well as other high-profile riders.

Bush said meetings and participation in events like the yacht show and the charity ride help build a partnership between the Cayman Islands and Monaco.

“They also provide an opportunity for us not only to support causes with a synergy to the Cayman Islands, but explore opportunities for further cooperation and collaboration,” Bush said.