April 23, 2021

The editor speaks: Life is full of disappointments

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colin-wilsonweb2One of my biggest disappointments was the passing of the Charities Bill by the Legislative Assembly.

Of course, even though we are a British protectorate, we have to pander to the law hungry US State Department:

“Each year, a U.S. State Department Report indicates that lack of nonprofit regulation in the Caymans is a major anti-money-laundering weakness. As the Cayman Islands are just one year shy of a review by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), the timing of the bill seems apt. While there were no cases of money laundering or terrorist financing reported, Cayman lawmakers believe the law strengthens their defenses against such activities and gives them a better shot at a positive review by the CFATF.”

Sheela Nimishakavi writing on the Non Profit Networking Association website says:

“Fortunately for U.S. nonprofits with branches in the Cayman Islands and vice versa, the new legislation doesn’t present any extraordinary hurdles and is slightly more lax than U.S. reporting requirements. A component of the bill is to create a registry of nonprofit organizations operating in the Cayman Islands. The legislation defines a nonprofit organization as “any organization seeking public contributions as its primary purpose for philanthropic activities.” It does not apply to charitable organizations that are already regulated by a government agency. Organizations with more than $250,000 in annual gross revenue that send more than 30 percent of those earnings to another country must have their financial statements reviewed by an accountant submitted to the government. Organizations with income less than $250,000 will be reviewed if there is cause for concern.”

“According to ministry officials, the bill would “ensure that the public has access to information on all NPOs; allow for easy identification of entities that have been registered as NPOs; and facilitate investigations of, and enforcement against, bad actors within the NPO sector.”’

SOURCE: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/10/11/cayman-islands-take-steps-protect-nonprofit-sector-bad-actors/

What Ms Nimishakavi doesn’t say is the wide powers that are given to the new overseer (yet to be appointed by the government of the day) – note the sentence “Organizations with income less than $250,000 will be reviewed if there is cause for concern.”

Just that one sentence gives me a LOT of cause for concern. We all know what happens with political appointments and there would appear to be no one to appeal to if the cause for concern is politically motivated.

I can see revenues depleting when charitable bodies find just by being a board member opens them up for lawsuits. They won’t exist.

And can the government name any bad actor that couldn’t be hooked off stage by the existing laws that appeared on our charitable stage?

Of course they can’t. That’s why I am so disappointed in this government. Bringing in a law just to satisfy the good old USA. Plus the gobbledegook that goes with it by way of justification.

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