UK Lord says he has ‘mini ambassadorial’ role

| 09/04/2012

lord blencartha (222x300).jpg(CNS): The British peer who was appointed as the Cayman Islands representative in London says his primary goal is to defend the interests of Cayman’s financial services. Lord Blencathra described himself has being a "mini ambassador" for the Cayman Islands. He said there was a need to view the London representative role differently in the post financial crisis world as the Cayman Islands, along with other offshore financial service centres, were now under the spotlight. Blencathra said his job was to represent Cayman’s finance industry in the UK and in Europe in an increasingly hostile environment.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of a packed visit to the Cayman Islands last week, along with two of the three MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) who were also visiting, Blencathra said that he had been appointed because of his 27 years of experience in the UK parliament and government as well as his knowledge of both the British and European political landscape. He said that his title was Director of the London Office and was, therefore, designated as the official London representative.

Although people might ask what it was it that he knew about the Cayman Islands, he said, he had many other people to help him with that, but he was in a very good position to defend Cayman’s interests where it was needed. “I have not been employed to be an expert on Cayman,” he said as he explained his goal was to promote the quality of the financial services industry.

He warned that in Europe in particular there were plans for the introduction of various regulations that could threaten it and it was in that arena where there was work for him to do.  The peer said he could open some doors to get Cayman’s voice heard on the technical matters relating to such initiatives. 

He noted that all of the initiatives that have been written about in the international press, from those impacting fund management to solvency issues, could, if interpreted strictly, pose a threat to this jurisdiction and may limit the ability of Cayman-based firms to compete and sell their products in Europe.

He said Cayman had to guard against the threats and negotiate in the right places and all of this was against a backdrop of threats coming from the United States as well.

Graham Brady, chairman of the Cayman Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, added that there was a mismatch in the popular imagination in Britain about the Cayman Islands with the reality that they had encountered during the visit and it was clear people needed to know facts about Cayman.

He added that during the packed schedule the MPs had met people from government, CIMA, the stock exchange, the voluntary sector and the private sector and had been impressed with the level of regulation and transparency in the financial sector. The conservative MP said that they had been told that, despite the cost to achieve the levels of compliance that exist in Cayman, it provided companies here with a competitive advantage.

Brady said the three MPs had come to Cayman because members of the APPG felt that the relationship between the UK and the overseas territories was sometimes neglected and they all wanted to see greater friendship.

Vice chair of the group, Brian Donahue, said it had been a very interesting week and he looked forward to seeing projects, such as the planned Dr Shetty hospital and the airport redevelopment, come to fruition. Neither of the MPs said they wanted to comment on the more controversial project proposals, such as the George Town cruise berthing facilities or the ForCayman Alliance, but they did meet with local activists groups opposed to those projects.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lord help us.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Seriously now, Caymanians deserve at least to know (1) who was responsible for his appointment, and why him?, and (2) what his experience and qualifications are. He strikes me as a man who has so far uttered a few smug platitudes but who knows nothing about the industry. Which again begs the question “why him?”. There were plenty better qualified than him. And I don’t mean useless political appointees either.

  3. Lord Kangol hat says:

    Looky my boy ,he here to save us you know?Right down to our last dolla.Some people in the mother country actually believe they pay tax for us and have done so for years. That may explain the level of resentment, contempt and arrogance that we see coming from those across the pond . What is very strange is why was that not dispelled a long time ago and all of a sudden has become a priority now!  Sure sounds like somebody playing games with our future as usual.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I find it very strange that someone with Mr (as he was before becoming Lord Blencathra) McLean's track record during the UK's parliamentary expenses scandal could possibly believe that their representation of the Cayman Islands' financial interests could do anything but harm.

    This is after all the man who, reponding to revelations that some of his claims were at best 'interesting', unsuccessfully tried to push legislation through that would have made all parliamentary expenses records secret byexempting them from FOI.

    His presence as 'mini-ambassador' just makes the Islands a rich target for anyone who bothers to spend five minutes or so doing a google search for 'David McLean expenses' or 'Lord Blencathra expenses' – try it, you'll see what I mean. The piece on masheduk is particularly recommended reading.