The opaque & hypocritical Club OECD

| 18/05/2009

“Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t”, said Alice. And the OECD (the rich man’s club that does not want anyone else to be rich) likes it just that way.

Resigned cynicism is the immediate reaction to the latest shifting of the goalposts by the OECD in its decision to kick the review of Cayman’s “unilateral measures” (for exchange of tax information) forward and up from the Harmful Tax Practices Sub-Committee (which reportedly approved the measures) to the Committee on Fiscal Affairs.

The immediate result is that Cayman stays on the grey list (which should please our competitors in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). The Fiscal Affairs Committee is to meet next month. It will be interesting to see if the Committee feels empowered to approve the measures in a way that puts the matter to rest and enables Cayman to move to the white list. Or if they feel that the OECD membership as a whole or the G20 high priests in November 2009 must make the decision.

If the decision goes against Cayman, there is no appeal process. The OECD website gives no easy information as to the processes, how the various committees are actually selected/comprised or how decisions are made. Indeed, a country has to be invited to join the OECD. Were this a club established in the USA or Europe (other than as an international organization), it would without doubt find itself called to account before a court of law.

Even if the unilateral measures are ultimately found to measure up, a new (cannon) ball has been just fired into the game. This is the “suggestion” that Cayman also consider negotiating multilateral agreements, as well as the bilateral ones already well under way. The astute observer will immediately sniff another delaying or diversionary tactic by the OECD and others, as multilateral agreements take longer than bilateral ones, certainly at the outset. And more and expensive resources will be needed for the task. This is not likely to trouble the OECD bureaucrats in Paris; their website trumpets “we offer excellent tax-free salary”.

Cayman has no option but to continue to play this deadly serious game in earnest and to increase its efforts at all levels, however tempting it may be to walk off the field. But we should not hesitate to point out the inequities. Does the world really want to be run by faceless, unaccountable and shameless bureaucrats who make up the rules as they go along? Everyone deserves better.

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  1. Thankyou says:

    Thank you Mr Ridley for fighting in this battle we are facing.  We need more citizens that are as passionate about the subject as you are.

    Keep it up!! 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr Ridley is clearly correct in his analysis and I would like to thank him for his insight. If the unilateral mechanism which Cayman sought to use did not meet the OECD technical standards it would have been rejected on technical grounds rather than passed on to what sounds like an even more political group within the opaque self-serving machinery of the OECD.


    The problem seems to be that the mechanism which Cayman developed works too well leading the OECD to conclude that if Cayman and other countries were allowed to use it to meet their commitments to exchange tax information then Cayman’s OECD and other competitors might have to compete fairly. 


    I also think that Mr Ridley’s warning regarding these multilateral tax agreements is well put. The Council of Europe multilateral tax agreement that I was able to find from a link on the OECD website goes far beyond anything that I have ever read regarding what Cayman committed to. Any demand from OECD member states that this is something Cayman needs to do while most of their own members refuse to sign such agreements sounds like yet another in the series of instances in which Cayman has been forced to adopt burdens that no one else would for no reason other than to make us less competitive.  


    Mr Ridley is also absolutely correct when he suggests that Cayman should be shouting from the rooftops regarding the hypocrisy of this nonsense in which the OECD members can refuse to negotiate bilateral agreements with Cayman and then accuse us of bad faith in not having such agreements while at the same time refusing to allow our unilateral mechanism and trying to force Cayman into entering into multilateral agreements that their own members won’t sign up to. Hopefully our politicians and those who aspire to leadership are paying attention and will not sell Cayman down the river by signing whatever the OECD says. Those of us with children want them to have a future and being bullied into things by the OECD not only sends the wrong message to our children, it also is likely to encourage the OECD bullies to do even more outrageous things to deprive our children of a future.