September 24, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Travers got it 100% right. We need EXPERT PR!!

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Colin Wilsonweb2I watched Anthony Travers, our local lawyer and financial expert who is not afraid to speak out, say it exactly right.

He was being interviewed on CITN/Cayman27’s 6pm News on Tuesday (5) on the fallout from the Panama Papers.

Even though the name of the Cayman Islands is conspicuous from its almost absence in the scandal’s huge number of papers disclosed the International Press has almost unanimously linked us with Panama, calling us the “notorious” place for secrecy.

Even UK’s parliamentarians have shouted our name angrily whilst waving papers in the air as if there was a plague of wasps zooming over their heads in the Houses of Parliament.

Why are we being linked with Panama?

Travers warned “rhetoric from politicians and mudslinging in the foreign press could leave a stain on our image, if we don’t wage a positive PR campaign”.

“We have the wrong people leading the public relations initiatives here, and they are significantly under resourced,” Travers said adding, “the country’s public relations machine needs to go to war against misinformation about the jurisdiction in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

“Cayman is a signatory [to the common reporting standards], Panama is not. So we see this very clear divide between the sort of covered transactions which are being structured through jurisdictions like Panama on the one hand, and the legitimate transactions that are being structured in jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and most of the overseas territories which have similar legislative regime.”

To watch the interview go to:

Jude Scott CEO of Cayman Finance issued a statement stating the need for a clear understanding of the positive role International Financial Centres play in the global economy could not be stronger.

“Cayman is not a secrecy jurisdiction. We have a clear and strong commitment to transparency,” he said. “The Cayman Islands is a global financial hub that efficiently connects law abiding users and providers of capital and financing around the world – benefitting both developed and developing countries.

“The Cayman Islands benefits on-shore jurisdictions by enabling them to be competitive in international trade and in facilitating effective inward investment to help grow those economies.”

“Financial crime is a serious global problem that requires a unified legal, social and law enforcement response,” he added. “One of the best weapons against illegal activities and tax evasion is effective transparency and cross border cooperation. This is where the Cayman Islands has a proven track record.”

To read the whole Cayman Finance release it is published today as one of our Front Stories “Cayman Islands is NOT a secrecy jurisdiction”.

Unfortunately we are preaching to the converted.

Yesterday we published a story in iNews Briefs from Reddit:
“Following the leak of the 149 reports of Mossack Fonseca yesterday the Cayman Islands (a British Overseas Territory), infamous as being a tax haven and known to be used among famous figures such as Mitt Romney, was going to hold a conference detailing a more “centralized” platform of ownership rather than a UK-preferred central republic registry. It also wanted to promote greater transparency between the ownership of the companies registered in the Islands. After learning about the leak, it was cancelled.”

It needs, as Travers said, money spent on some hard Public Relations before it really hurts us.

Footnote: Premier Alden McLaughlin made reference to the Panama Papers in his speech he made today at IMPACT 16 saying:

“Indeed despite the picture that some may paint, Cayman has decades of engagement with international initiatives around Anti-Money Laundering and tax evasion, and we have in place mechanisms for exchanges of information on tax and beneficial ownership information. Mechanisms such as tax information exchange agreements, the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and the double tax arrangement with the UK allow for the sharing of information with more than 90 jurisdictions.

“Additionally, Cayman automatically shares information with the US and UK, for FATCA purposes and is committed to the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard along with 95 other jurisdictions, including the majority of G20 countries. And we consistently seek to enhance our regulatory framework in order to more effectively collaborate globally with law enforcement and tax authorities in the fight against serious crime.

“I am sure that you may have heard that credible international organizations such as the Financial Action Task Force and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recognize the leading role that Cayman plays in the prevention of anti-money laundering, tax evasion and serious crime. Criminals looking to set up illicit shell companies that serve to hide ill-begotten gains or usurp the laws of another country will not readily find a home here.

“Currently the news media is full of stories with regard to the “Panama Papers” leak and there are some in the media, and indeed some misinformed politicians in the United Kingdom who try to lump the Cayman Islands in to the so-called tax haven bucket and ignore the words of Prime Minister David Cameron who was quoted as saying “I do not think it is fair any longer to refer to any of the Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies as tax havens. They have taken action to make sure that they have fair and open tax systems”. Needless to say, we agree with him particularly as regards the Cayman Islands. Our point all along has been that while the world’s attention has been on places like the Cayman Islands, which does uphold necessary international standards, and which does collaborate with all countries that adhere to global standards for the sharing of information, insufficient attention and effort has been focused on where the real problems are; those places that do not adhere to the strict standards that we follow. Criminals are much less likely to operate in well-regulated jurisdictions, like the Cayman Islands, where the spotlight is brightest and the attention is greatest. They will simply migrate to where there is less sunshine.

“In February 2014 I was invited to Chatham House in London to give a key note address at a conference with the theme of combatting global corruption. I said “I will be forthright. No stronger interface exists between corruption and international financial centres than exists between corruption and every single country in this world. Finance is both global and digital. Therefore, corruption is global and digital; it does not solely reside in any particular geographic region or in a particular grouping of countries or peoples”.

“I also said “This truth is so simple, but it is inconvenient to acknowledge it – inconvenient for political candidates who are looking for a scapegoat for mismanaged public finances and inconvenient for some of the news media that operate more as entertainers than purveyors of the truth. It is inconvenient for many Non-Governmental Organisations – although I do believe many of them have the public interest at heart, at times their passion overrides their analysis”.
I mention this because there will be some of you in this room considering doing business in Cayman and will read and see what some in the press are saying. It is important to me, and indeed my Government, that you know the full truth. The Cayman Islands is not Panama and our anti-money laundering regime has been in effect for over 15 years. We continue to enhance it. Indeed it surpasses what can be found in onshore jurisdictions like the United Kingdom and the United States.
So in summary, we are not just a wonderful place to visit and live but also a good place for business and we are a jurisdiction that meets its international obligations in the fight against serious crime.”

Very good but none of the points he said has been quoted anywhere following the Panama Papers leak.

EXPERT Public Relations wanted immediately!

iNews Cayman will publish the Premier’s speech in its entirety tomorrow.

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