Mac outlines more new deals

| 30/06/2009

(CNS): Reviewing his recent overseas trip to Europe, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush outlined, on Monday, the current state of ongoing negotiations for tax information exchange, as well as the start of new talks with a number of countries. He said the government would be signing a deal with the Netherlands on 8 July but had reached technical agreements with several others.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on 29 June, he gave an update on what had happened over the last two weeks and what was in the pipeline. He noted that under his government’s new approach Cayman could look forward to signing with Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy and Mexico in the near future and that negotiations were well advanced with both Portugal and France. He also related that expressions of interests to sign TIEAs had come from the Czech Republic and Japan and the Cayman government had expressed its willingess, through the OECD, to enter into negotiations with other OECD member countries.

He noted the successful completion of agreements with the United Kingdom and Ireland, giving Cayman ten bilateral treaties in place. The signing of the Netherlands agreement in Holland next week will leave the Cayman Islands only one agreement short of the OECD’s requirement of twelve TIEAs.

Bush acknowledged the work that had been carried out by the previous negotiation team but said it was regretful that the former administration had not moved more quickly. “As a result the country was placed on the OECD grey list after the G20 meeting in April,” he reminded the House. He said when the new government took up office at the end of May, the OECD considered Cayman not to be fully co-operative as it did not have the minimum 12 agreements, which was negatively impacting the financial services industry, he said.

“Being on the grey list, particularly when some of our competitors were not, was causing damage to the reputation of the financial services industry,” he added. “It was also understood that not only did being on the grey list damage our international reputation as a financial services centre but that it also had some direct negative commercial effects as some clients were considering doing business elsewhere because of the attention the jurisdiction was getting due to being on the grey list.”

Given that financial services and the wider economy was already facing significant challenges due to the global downturn, being on the grey list made things worse, Bush said.

“The UDP administration decided to take a new approach to the negotiations on tax information exchange agreements with a view to being removed from the grey list as soon as possible, while at the same time ensuring that any new agreements were consistent with the interest of the Cayman Islands as a leading international financial centre,” he said.

Bush claimed the proactive approach was consistent with the commitment given to the OECD by the Cayman Islands, but was also necessary to demonstrate to the international community that Cayman is serious about engaging in cooperation with other countries in the exchange of information for legitimate enforcement of their tax laws.

“The Cayman Islands has no direct taxes and this government has no intention to change this situation. We want to, however, send the message that we are not a ‘tax haven’ but, on the contrary, we continue to be a responsible member of the international community that adheres to relevant international standards of compliance with respect to tax cooperation and hence should be properly recognised for what we are: an international financial centre that happens to be a small but significant country in the Caribbean – the use of whose regime adds significant value to the global economy,” Bush added.

He accused the opposition of playing politics while he was in Europe working on the agreements, but the fact was the Cayman Islands is on the OECD grey list and he said it was the new government’s job to do what is necessary to remove this jurisdiction from that list and restore its reputation.

“The reason why the opposition is where they are today is because they played politics with such matters and I have no interest in going that road. My job as leader of this government/Premier Designate, or whatever they are going to call me, is to get this country out of this mess, and my government is going to achieve that,” Bush added.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mac is an action Man and don’t spend "Exhorbitant Sums of Public Funds". Are you sitting on your head?

    Why did he not build the West Bay Road extension if he was such an "Action Man"?

    How much did he spend on the Turtle Farm?

    How much did he cause Government to spend on the Dr. Hortor Memorial Hospital?

    Why was there such a large cost over run on the Royal Watler Dock?

    Do you remember how much was spent on the 177 homes for the lower income people?

    What about Pedro St. James Castle?

    How many times did we have the ground breaking ceremony for the Dalmain Ebanks Civic Center?

    Do  you think any of these were well managed projects?

    What exactly is he doing that will make anyone better off? Maybe $100 here and there is better than nothing.

  2. Caymanian to the bone says:

    Mac is Cayman’s true action man. He does not sit around and twiddle his tumbs all day long, spend exhorbant sums of "public funds" thereby running government into huge financial deficits and hoping that good luck might just fall from the sky into one’s lap.

    For an approaching middle age man, it is understood that many of his younger inner circle juniors, have problems keeping up with him. Mac is like the "Energizer Bunny" whom just keeps on going and going and going.The man must be drinks a half gallon of glucose water every morning for the energy he possesses.

    In my opinion, he has already way surpassed the statesmanship of the the late honourable Jim Bodden, our national hero. I’m optimistic, Mac will get us out of this mess in about 3 years time. If so, we all should all count our blessings and name him our next national hero.

    I’m also encouraged that Mac has already put in place another well educated and capable young man from West Bay, namely Mr. Rolston Anglin to take his place when he retires. This is my opinion, is good sucession planning on Mac’s part and the UDP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please no references to hero. For that matter neither was Mr. Bodden in my opinion. They are/were politions. Nothing more. So far I do not consider that we have recognised a true Caymanian hero – someone who did something for country above self. These men & lady simply got paid for what they did – a job.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Can some one please tell me why is Mr. Bush now signing these agreements?

    He had a much longer time to do so he was Leader way before Mr. Kurt…

    I remember listening to our future LOGB Mr. Alden speak at the Meetings he said that these agreements were already in placed to be signed so Mr. Bush didn’t do much did he?! i’m glad he acknowledge  it was started by PPM…the 1st trurthful thing i’ve heard from him.  now he will get all the credit…PPM took  a  lot of time because  they were actually being productive back at home.. what have UDP  past/present ever  do or will do for this Country.. I’m glad we could account  the money that  PPM has  spent..