September 28, 2020

No Complaint, Investigation against Lord Blencathra

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The Commissioner for Standards in the UK House of Lords has confirmed that no complaint has been made about the conduct of Lord Blencathra, the director of the Cayman Islands Government’s London Office.

Because there has been no complaint, Commissioner Paul Kernaghan notes there is nothing for him to investigate.

The question of conduct arose when the UK publication The Independent printed a story stating that Lord Blencathra sits as a peer in the House of Lords, while also holding the post of London Office director.

“On 17 April, they print a story saying that I may have broken the rules and should be reported. Then on 18 April, they print a story saying that there have been demands for me to be investigated, without pointing out that they were the only ones making the demands,” Lord Blencathra said.

The story, which received some attention in the Cayman Islands, was not carried by many international media houses.

Lord Blencathra noted that Cayman has been under attack in the UK press for years, ever since John Grisham’s novel The Firm used the Islands as the backdrop for a fictional story of financial corruption. The novel was then made into a popular film.

“There are some reporters and editors who are stuck on that 1993 movie, and who do not report truthfully about the quality of the Cayman Islands as an international financial centre,” he said.

“Unfortunately, this means that the public cannot move forward either – unless they are aware of positive reports written about the Cayman Islands, prepared by global oversight bodies such as the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes; the Financial Stability Board; and International Organisation of Securities Commission (IOSCO).

“These reports, and many others, speak well of the Cayman Islands’ financial services legislation, regulation, court system, and industry overall.”

Lord Blencathra said that as the London Office director, it is his job to tell the public about the jurisdiction’s achievements and strong reputation in the global financial community.

However he noted, “It is a fact of life that I, or anyone else who speaks up for Cayman, will be criticised. If people like me stay silent then there is no chance of the true financial status of Cayman being fairly reported. I will continue to defend Cayman, and no doubt some reporters will continue to attack us.”

Attached is a copy of the letter sent to Lord Blencathra by the Commissioner. The reference to paragraph 103 is a section of the Code where a Lord can report himself for investigation. This is only used where a Lord has committed a minor breach and reports himself before others do so.

Also attached is a copy of a letter Lord Blencathra sent to the Commissioner on 21 April 2012, immediately after the story broke. The letter is proof of Lord Blencathra’s willingness to give all assistance to the Commissioner if there were an investigation.

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