Media backlash for CI lord

| 24/03/2014

(CNS): The Cayman Islands premier has arrived in the UK against a backdrop of more bad publicity for the Cayman Islands and its head of the UK office, who is one of the people on the Cayman Islands Government's (CIG) agenda to meet while in the UK. Although the contract between CIG and Lord Blencathra’s company has been in the public domain for more than one year, in light of the recent findings by the House of Lords banning peers from lobbying, the contract has now found its way into the British press. The contract demonstrates that the Tory lord was required to lobby on this jurisdiction’s behalfas part of his $14,000 per month contract.

Lord Blencathra has denied lobbying the House of Lords, only government. During the investigation into his role he told the House of Lords Committee that his “compliance with the law or Lords Rules takes precedence over anything which was in my contract." He added, "I made clear that I would not be lobbying Parliament or MPs. Indeed, even that initial contract made no mention of lobbying. That was firmly understood between us."

However, his controversial appointment was justified in Cayman exactly because he could lobby relevant government ministers on Cayman's behalf.The top job in the UK office had for obvious reasons been historically held by a Caymanian. When the former premier, McKeeva Bush, broke the tradition by hiring Blencathra, he made it clear it was because of his influence in the corridors of power at Westminster as well as Whitehall.

According to an official release from the premier’s office on Friday, Alden McLaughlin will be meeting with Lord Blencathra this week “regarding the budget and various Cayman Islands Government projects”, officials said.

Despite the recent findings by the House of Lords following an investigation into Blencathra’s role as the director of the Cayman Islands’ UK office, he still appears to be employed by CIG and there was no indication that his future with the CIG would be on the line in this planned meeting.

CNS has made several requests to government and Blencathra’s media representatives in London to clarify the situation regarding Blencathra, since the House of Lords committee instituted the new regulations banning lords from lobbying ministers. The government and his PR firm have, however, remained silent. McLaughlin was scheduled to do a video interview with CNS Business earlier this month in which this question would have been put to him again but he cancelled the interview.

McLaughlin will now be meeting with the Tory peer, who, despite being paid more than $14,000 per month from public funds, is stirring up significant controversy for Cayman at a time when there had been high hopes that the islands' image abroad was improving. Various efforts by both the previous minority government and the PPM administration to repair the relationship with the UK and to move very quickly on the G8 agenda of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, automatic exchange of information and improving overall transparency had placed Cayman in a more favourable light.

However, media coverage in the UK Monday points to Blencathra’s role as promoting a tax haven.

Labour MP Paul Flynn, who had made the original complaint with the Lords, is now calling for further enquiries, as he said he did not see how Lord Blencathra could reconcile his defence that he had never lobbied for Cayman given the contract he signed.

“I will be contacting the Lords authorities and asking them to look again at this. It is intolerable that he is acting as both a legislator and lobbying on behalf of a country that makes income from the tax avoidance industry.”

The contract was originally revealed by CNS following a freedom of information request in 2012.

See UK press articles below:

Peers-contract-with-caribbean-tax-haven
Revealed-conservative-peer–contract-for-tax-haven-
Lord-blencathra-lobbying-contract–show-government-chasing-wrong-target

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Category: Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just checked $ 14000. = £11337  £12000 = $14760

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, £12,000 * 1.6485 (the current exchange rate) = US$19,782 = CI$16,260. Hopefully your job does not involve maths.

       

       

  2. Crab Claw says:

    This might seem funny, but shouldn't we be asking for a seat in the house too, this is nothing new what Cayman is doing, years ago the caribbean was managed and lobbied for by the large plantation owners, they would aquire seats and repersent the islands and mainly there interest back in the UK, nothing wrong in my eyes of Cayman or any other dependant territory going direct to parliment to seek representation, because the FCO don't seem to have our back always.

  3. If de cap fit says:

    Aren't all politicians basically lobbyists?  Obama is a lobbyist for Wall street and big oil, George Bush shilled for Halliburton and the military, Blair for BP and BAE, Thatcher for big industry. Senators,Congressmen and Lords also have been bought and paid for. It's too bad they don't lobby for us occasionaly. That would be nice but we don't have the money.

    • Anonymous says:

      you're missing the point, he's in trouble because he is lobbying for us haha!

    • M.A.D. Rass says:

      Actually we have tons of money. The problem is that when we do spend it we tend to blow it on boat ramps and beach huts and anything else that might by a few votes. And even when we decide to buy a lobbyist we end up with someone who causes us more damage than good. But what else can we expect. We elect idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Lord Blencathra was inneffective, the UK would not be making such a fuss.  I say keep him.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If he is doing an excellence job on cayman behalf,what is all the noise about?? Let’s find out if we are getting value for money from his services?? Alden should sit down with the local media,I guess that because he went to bbc for the international viewers to see him on hardtalk his chest is high? I’m sure cns could go international too,with a hardertalk.poltricks is what ppm used to get back in and cayman people got tricked again,why didn’t they put back in pna,udp and ppm?? We need to have three groups in the house to keep a level playing field or its going to be ppm then udp and vice versa.cayman wake up,we have good common sense like those prisons that voted last year,they are the freedom fighter,as prisoner could have vote from many years ago,just look on the penal code of the prison law( 1999) revision! I have nomore to say the are taking us the people for fools that’s why the expats doing it too!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is the ONLY Government office that should be expanded. The appointment of the Lord was both political genius and highly effectual. It's ridiculous to expect CIG to coordinate it's relationship with OUR governing territory from George Town! Only a clown would think otherwise. 

    • Anonymous says:

      And trust me! we have lots of clowns in these Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      You had better wake up and smell the coffee! How anyone can imagine that the adverse publicity to Cayman this has caused is "political genius" is beyond me. And to top it off, despite his handsome salary, Lord Whatsit says he no intention of fulfilling his contractual obligation to lobby on our behalf.  What exactly did we gain by the this act of "political genius"?  

  6. Anonymous says:

    The London Office is, and always hasbeen, a dreadful waste of taxpayers' money, designed to keep people in jobs in a very expensive part of London where they really do very little for the Cayman Islands. It should be closed down. Now.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The arrogance of Alden McLaughlin has no limits he will gladly fly to the UK to do Hard Talk on BBC but refuses to do video interviews for CNS, will not reinstate local press briefings because he does not want "pot shots" taken at him by the media eventhough this was promised in the manifesto nor attend Cross Talk on Rooster FM. The country would like to know what they are doing about crime, unemployment and the poor education system that our kids are passing through. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummmm …. hello!? Wasn't it the former Premier Bush who hired him?!

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course Mr. Bush hired him. That's why there are so much negative comments on this thread.

        It's all about Bushy! 

        I will alway maintain that Caymanians are so blinded with hate, for their own.  That not even  Christ can change them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    1. The Caymanian in the London office does not have the professional stature for the job.  He is nowhere near the calibre of  other Overseas Territory representatives in London .

    2. That is why CIG needs somebody who understands the UK political system and has contacts at the highest level. Hence Lord Blencathra.

    3. It is Caymanian citizens and government employees  who have been undermining Lord Blencathra and in doing so they are bringing unwelcome scrutiny to the islands. Why do we have this propensity for self destruction? 

    4. Instead of touching the forelock to British civil servants it is time CIG reminded the mother country that we are big boys in the global financial community and we don't need lectures on fiscal propriety from  a regime who played a major part in the golbal financial meltdown.  

    • Anonymous says:

      #3 is so true…Caymanians are so confused about who they are that it has been a piece of cake to come here and turn them all fool-fool.

       

      Their smart West Indian friends developed a hating of the ENglish so that the world will think they're all xenophobic with social and political instability, which is in fact slowly being created by their so-called friends who will suck them dry and then return to their homelands to continue talking how bad the English did them and now Cayman too.

      We don't have any difference in political parties because it is now  crystal clear they both have to be controlled by the same group who benefits regardless of winning party but they spread their love and generousity around every 4 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      That's a great idea – "remind the mother country that we are big boys in the global financial community".

      Without the mother country you can kiss the Financial Services Industry on Cayman goodbye!

      Hope you can fish.

    • Anonymous says:

      "It is Caymanian citizens and government employees who have been undermining Lord Blencathra". Now that is just nonsense. I am sure the UK newspapers looking into this care not a wit what the average poster on CNS has to say about this. And the posters most critical are not Caymanians at all.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Blimey, 14 grand a month, no wonder he can afford those fancy togs. Love the bow.

  10. Wouk Up says:

    Don’t stop the carnival. Is there any substantive difference between our alternate “parties”?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hope Alden is meeting with the man to fire him….ridiculous waste of money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently none just look at the results. We swapped McKeeva for Alden which is proving to be "same dog puppy"

       

      • Anonymous says:

        This only proves what i have been saying all along.

        You can't change the guards and have the same protocol ( System of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations)

        The people now have to take their country back.

        First, a labour and trade union.

        Picket the LA and Admin building,Immigration bld, until the law makers amend the laws.

  11. Anonymous says:

     £12,000 per month is a lot more than $14,000. Just saying.