Archive for June 8th, 2013

CIG signs up for disclosure

| 08/06/2013 | 49 Comments

275017-david-cameron (236x300).jpg(CNS): The Cayman Islands government announced on Friday evening that it would commit to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, further pushing out the boundaries of transparency in the offshore sector. After considerable pressure from the UK government in particular and in the face of growing international pressure for openness, transparency and automatic exchange of information between countries in connection with tax matters and beneficial ownership, Cayman is one of the first overseas territories to follow the crown dependencies in its decision to truly lift the lid on the offshore financial world.

A CIG delegation headed by Premier Alden McLaughlin will go to London on Tuesday at the invitation of David Cameron, the UK prime minister, who is hosting two events prior to the G8 meeting, which is being held inNorthern Ireland on 17 and 18 June. ‘Open for Growth’ a meeting being dubbed the three ‘T’s (tax, transparency and trade) will be held on the 15 June as well as another private meeting at Ten Downing Street.

The delegation will include Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, Finance Minister Marco Archer and Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson.

During the UK visit the Cayman delegation will meet with Mark Simmonds, the FCO minister for the OTs, to address Cayman's budget issues. However, the focus of the trip will be on the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which is an OECD-Council of Europe multilateral agreement. This was developed to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance by promoting cooperation among jurisdictions for the exchange of information among relevant authorities for tax and transparency purposes.

“Cayman has engaged in substantive discussions with HM Treasury on the particulars of the convention,” McLaughlin said. “We are satisfied that the extension of the convention to our Islands will be done in accordance with the UK’s recognition of Cayman’s fiscal autonomy, and the well-established principle that countries have the prerogative to set their own tax rates.”

He said that committing to the convention was in line with Cayman’s extensive network of bilateral exchange of information agreements, such as the US and UK FATCA, the European Union Savings Directive, and the G5 pilot on multilateral automatic information exchange.

“We agree with the UK’s statement that there is ‘no point in dealing with tax evasion in one country, if the problem is simply displaced to another',” McLaughlin said following government’s decision. “With this in mind, we also agree that there should be equitable adherence, including within the G8 countries, to global tax and transparency standards. This will set the foundation for full and effective participation, by all countries, in the true spirit of these efforts.”

McLaughlin said Cameron had acknowledged the UK’s interest in seeing the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies flourish.  “This important recognition acknowledges the benefits that international financial centres, like Cayman, contribute to the global economy – including the stimulation of cross-border trade and investment, which grows economies and creates jobs,” added the premier.

Appearing as a guest on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme on Friday, McLaughlin said the Cayman government had engaged in lengthy discussion about the tax transparency issues and the technical details since being voted into office last month.

“We have been working through what Cayman’s position should be in relation to this matter and working with Cayman Finance to make sure we take into account what the financial services community think about what is being proposed,” he added. 

There are high expectations around the world that the convention will open doors for governments to track down tax cheats and Cameron has been under considerable pressure himself to ensure that the UK’s territories are all signed up before Britain hosts the G8 summit, where the issue of tax avoidance will be high on the agenda.

“Our position has always been that we want as many jurisdictions as possible to join the multilateral convention, including the Overseas Territories,” the UK Treasury said this week.

Continue Reading

Daylight robbery at Tortuga

| 08/06/2013 | 7 Comments

tortuga7.jpg(CNS) Updated: Police are currently seeking witnesses to an armed robbery which took place in broad daylight on Saturday morning. An RCIPS spokesperson said that at around 10:14 officers were called to the Tortuga Liquor Store on North Sound Road, George Town, where the daylight heist took place and where an undisclosed quantity of cash was stolen. Police said that no shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident. The perpetrator, who was reportedly armed with a handgun, was described as having dark skin, a slim build and around 6'2" to 6'3" tall, wearing a dark coloured jacket with a hoodie, blue jeans and dark coloured shoes.

According to the police report, the man approached an employee as the person was arriving at the store, pointed what appeared to be a small firearm at him and demanded cash. When uniform officers and detectives responded to the scene, the perpetrator had already made his escape.

The matter is under investigation by the Drugs and Serious Crime Task Force. Police are appealing to anyone who was in the area of the Tortuga Liquor Store, North Sound Road, George Town around the time of the incident to contact the George Town Police Station at 949-4222, the RCIPS Tip-line 949-7777 or Cayman Crime Stoppers on 800-8477(TIPS).

Continue Reading