Miller calls on CIG to dismiss UK Lord

| 24/04/2012

lord blencartha (222x300).jpg(CNS): With questions raised by UK MPs about potential conflicts of interest for Lord Blencathra in his role as the Cayman Islands’ representative in London, the independent member for North Side said government needed to terminate its contract with the Tory peer. Ezzard Miller said Monday that Premier McKeeva Bush is not the only person that needs to go. Because the islands’ reputation already hangs in the balance on the international stage as a result of the three investigations into Bush, questions in the UK about Lord Blencathra will only make matters worse, he added. Miller said the questions had drawn negative attention from the UK press, defeating the purpose of what the peer had described as his role of Cayman’s "mini ambassador".

“I am calling on the UDP Cabinet, who I understand have employed Lord Blencathra by some form of consultancy contract, which was not tendered nor did it follow proper established procedure, to terminate whatever relationship Lord Blencathra has with the Cayman Islands government immediately,” Miller said.

The London office director may be the subject of an investigation over potential breaches of parliamentary regulations by accepting the paid position to lobby for Cayman’s financial services industry while also sitting in the House of Lords.

Labour MP Paul Flynn has accused him of abusing the system and has referred him to the Committee for Standards in Public Life. Tim Farron, a Liberal party member of the coalition government’s back bench, said that with allthe “controversy surrounding lobbying and tax at the moment” in the UK, it was “astonishing that a Tory peer is now the lead advocate in Britain for one of the world’s biggest tax havens.”

The question of the Lord’s position became the focus of a number of stories in the UK’s Independent newspaper and was also picked up by the peer’s native Scottish media in which Cayman was referred to as a “notorious tax haven”.

Miller said he believed that the Cayman Islands was suffering enough “reputational damage” as a result of the three ongoing police investigations of the premier. “We have no need to endure what will transpire in the UK media surrounding this issue,” he added, referring to the questions surrounding Lord Blencathra.

“I am confident that if the government properly advertises this position they can find a Caymanian of high moral, ethical and educational standards to represent our interests in the UK and Europe and should be able to utilize one of the two civil servants whom we have been paying for the last two years to sit at home,” Miller added, referring to Deborah Drummond and Diane Montoya, senior public servants who have both been on paid leave since 2009, though they have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

In the wake of the stories about Blencathra in The Independent and the comments by the UK members of parliament, a spokesperson defended the Conservative peer’s appointment by the Cayman government and dismissed the comments in the British media about Cayman’s tax haven status.

“Cayman has been criticised as a tax haven for many years – long before Lord Blencathra came on the scene and it is naïve to suggest that if he was not there then there would be no criticism of Cayman,” Jack Irving said on behalf of Blencathra.

“The opponents of Cayman and low tax jurisdictions in general will use any excuse to attack, even if the Archbishop of Canterbury was the UK representative. What is desperately sad is that some people on Cayman seem determined to help these opponents.”

He said the article in a “low circulation British newspaper, owned by a former Russian KGB officer,” which has consistently attacked Cayman and the House of Lords did not change the value Lord Blencathra brings to Cayman.

“It makes no difference to and does not undermine the work he does making representations to the City of London, the EU, HM Government and private companies and others,” Irving stated. “Nor does it effect, in any way, the task of bringing new business to Cayman, which is also part of his brief.”

Irving went on to state that Lord Blencathra was not appointed to please the liberal press or as a glamour boy to attract temporary favourable publicity.

“As The Independent had to admit in its editorial," he brought a vast experience of the inner workings of the British political system to the Caymans, Irving said. "That, in itself, justifies his appointment.”

Despite the request for an enquiry, Irving said there had been no follow-up stories in rival and more substantial UK newspapers.

Category: Politics

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller who claims to have so much love for Caymanians just continue to make this country look like we belong in the sewer. It is time for backward politicians like him who believe we are still in the 80’s to step down. This is not about personal vendetta’s. This is about a struggling nation who is about to finally left it’s head above water. We are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. I say he should pack his bags and move on because we do not have room for incompetent antiquated politicians who have not had one solution since the 80’s. This must also be a lesson to the Caymanian people not to resurrect a dinosaur it has no place in the modern urina.

  2. MONARCH of APRIL; says:

    I am surprised that Mr Miller is not asking the Queen Elizabeth to step down from herThrone.   He and Arden and Alden will try it I am sure.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Cayman has been criticised as a tax haven for many years – long before Lord Blencathra came on the scene and it is naïve to suggest that if he was not there then there would be no criticism of Cayman,” Jack Irving said on behalf of Blencathra.

     

    Without Lord Blen…. there might be less criticisms though!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just google 'David Maclean MP expenses' or 'Lord Blencathra expenses' then decide if this is a fit and proper person to represent the Cayman Islands' interests in the UK.

    The proverbial 'albatross round the neck' seems appropriate here.