The Cayman Islands government has for the first time participated directly in a UK Labour Party conference by organising a fringe event to discuss the Cayman Islands with the left-wing party.
The Cayman Islands Representative to the UK and Europe André Ebanks attended the conference in Brighton this week together with Jude Scott, chief executive officer of Cayman Finance, and a team from the Government Office in London.
Moderated by Prospect magazine, the event involved a chaired discussion between Labour MP Catherine West and the Cayman Finance CEO about methods of taxation, including Cayman’s own tax neutral regime, the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs said in a press release.
Scott shared with the audience of Labour supporters and media facts about tax neutrality and clarified details about Cayman’s process for verifying and sharing beneficial ownership information compared to self-reporting public registers.
“I was very pleased that the Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK presented the opportunity to engage with such a well-respected MP in this forum, a lot of good even-handed dialogue and discussion took place today,” the Cayman Finance chief executive said on Tuesday. “We were able to reinforce the great track record and the benefits of our tax neutral regime globally to a traditionally doubtful audience.”
He said the conversation was balanced and informed and neutralised some of the historic scepticism.
“We are sending a strong positive message that we are available and willing to continue to engage and be a part of this conversation,” Scott added.
Last year, the Cayman Islands London office set up a branded booth at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. Attendance at a Labour Party conference is, however, a first.
“Events, engagement and attendance at party conferences form part of the ongoing political engagement efforts by the Cayman Islands Government to interact with as many British parliamentarians as possible in order to create and maintain positive working relationships, and are intended to better inform parliamentarians and [the] UK public of Cayman’s history, heritage, culture, financial services, successful conservation work, healthcare and as a thriving British Overseas Territory,” the ministry release stated.
At the Labour conference, Cayman Islands Representative Ebanks met with Gibraltar and Falkland Islands representatives and discussed mental health issues with Mental Health First Aid England.
Ebanks also met Jonathan Reynolds, MP, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
Ebanks said his first month in the new post was off to a busy and “spirited start”, following strategy meetings with his team in the London office, meetings with the High Commission of the Bahamas regarding hurricane relief, meeting and briefing Cayman Islands Councillor David Wight and engaging with various public and private sector stakeholders.
“Attendance at the Labour party conference has been invaluable this year, combined with our first fringe event in conjunction with Cayman Finance, we are ensuring that we have a much greater presence and are at the forefront of political discussions concerning our financial services,” he said.
“We are delighted to have had the support from Cayman Finance and that Catherine West MP was willing to engage and discuss these important topics in a constructive and open manner. We very much look forward to further types of engagement like this to continue this conversation.”