Alden to face HARDtalk

| 29/01/2014

(CNS): Although the Cayman Islands premier recently accused the local media of wanting to take "pot shots" at government when he made it clear that regular press briefings are now a thing of the past, Alden McLaughlin is, however, set to make an appearance on one of the BBC’s flagship interview programmes, where he is likely to face more than pot shots. Leaving for London on Friday evening for a conference on combating global corruption, where he is delivering a keynote address next week, the premier will also be taping an interview for HARDtalk with host Stephen Sackur (left), following an invitation to talk about Cayman’s tax haven label, among other issues.

In a release from his office McLaughlin said he was “humbled to have been asked to appear on HARDtalk to tell not only Cayman’s story, but that of the other overseas territories,” as it is understood he will be the first OT leader to appear on the show and face Sackur’s pointed questions.

“It’s a pretty big stage,” said thepremier. “It’s my honour to represent the Cayman Islands and the overseas territories. We all have a good story to tell,” he added.

Topics to be discussed include Cayman’s status as an international finance centre, the use of the term “tax haven”, international efforts to curb tax avoidance, banking regulation in the Cayman Islands and reported recent tensions between Caymanians and the expat community.

While in London, the premier, who will be travelling with the Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose and Senior Political Advisor Roy Tatum, also plans to meet with officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The main purpose of the visit, however, is for McLaughlin to deliver an address at the corruption conference hosted by Chatham House, "Combating Global Corruption: Shared Standards and Common Practice", which is being held on Monday and Tuesday, 3-4 February. McLaughlin will address Session Five of the conference, "Recovering the Proceeds of Corruption".

The premier said he was delighted to accept the Chatham House invitation and for the opportunity to tell the world of the successes of the Cayman Islands on the global financial stage.

“It’s rare that a leader of a UK territory has the opportunity to address anti-corruption initiatives from a global perspective,” McLaughlin added.

This conference will examine action to tackle global corruption and consider the role of governments and businesses. Participants and speakers will critically assess current and emerging international efforts and consider their consequences for future business practice and governance.

Chatham House is home to the Royal Institute for International affairs, an independent think tank and organisation that analyzes, informs and influences debate on the hope for a prosperous and secure world for all. Engaging governments, the private sector, civil society and members about developments in international affairs, it produces analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities and puts forward possible solutions on the world stage.

Other keynote speakers at the conference include Angel Gurria, Secretary General for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Dr Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance, Nigeria.

During the absence of McLaughlin and Rose, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell will be the acting premier and Robert Lewis will act as the cabinet secretary.

Officials said McLaughlin will depart on Friday, 31 January, but didnot state when he is expected to return. The interview with the BBC will take place on Tuesday but no date has been confirmed for when the show will air.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier, please tell our story including all the steps Cayman has taken to become transparent and compliant International Financial Center. These include but are not limited to unilateral TIEs, FATCA agreement – US and UK, CIMA membership in IOSCO, FATF, IMF, OECD and US GAO reviews.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Alden is out of touch.  XXXX 

    I watched him on TV this monring talking about unemployment in Cayman and trying to explain why many that make up the percentage of unemployed Caymanians are jobless…. because they are not willing to take "lower" jobs.  

    For his info, I have a postgrad education in finance and when I returned to Cayman, I applied and applied and applied, even to the Ritz, Westin, Marriot….. for receptionist jobs, and every job I could apply for.  Two outcomes: I got no replies or I was told that I didn't have relevant experience.  

    There you go, Alden…….so stop kicking the can down the road! 

  3. Anonymous says:

    I hope he demonstrates greater leadership than he does in government. Marco Archer is by far a leader compared to Alden McLaughlin. I supported him before but I can assure him that I intend to use all my energy to see that he doesn't get re-elected. People complain about Mr. Bush but there is one thing he can't be accused of and that is being a weak leader. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that Marco is an excellent Minister but hard experience should have taught you that McKeeva is not a real leader at all. He achieved nothing of substance during his tenure, and worst, he is dangerous. He simply does not have the skillset needed to lead this country. If you still think McKeeva is a strong leader then it is very unlikely that you ever supported Alden. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well I am hoping and trusting that Alden will hold his own.  Hes bright and an able lawyer and he's been in this game a long time. It's a shame that we as a people think the only ones able to speak articulately and knowledgeably are the English like Travers and Riddley. I am hoping Alden will makeusproud.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Alden, please, observe the following, scrupulously :

    A. This is the real world you are entering and you will be talking to agrown up person living in a grown up's world.

    B. Do not grin or chuckle to yourself. (See above.)

    C. For all our sakes get some mock sessions in with people who actually know what they are talking about.

    D.God help you.

    E.God help us.

  6. Anonymous says:

    At least we don't have to implore Alden not to sing. So I'm feeling a small amount of relief on that score.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Somehow I doubt many will be watching at 4.30am UK time on the BBC News Channel. 

    • Far Canal says:

      Given its rebroadcast on BBC World at various times around the world I reckon quite a few people will get to see this.

      • Anonymous says:

        No-one watches BBC World.   Who is interested in dull middle of the road Asian business news read by presenters with annoying American accents?

  8. Anonymous says:

    My only request too Alden is at least once please say "NOT TODAY BOBO"!!!

  9. Come Let Us Reason says:

    The time has come the walrus said, to speak of many things,

    Of ships, of sails, of sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.

    So my advice is! When asked questions of which you have no answers, just say that you are unable to answer the question properly  because to do so would involve having to disclose information that falls under national security. And then if he continues to pressure you, you stand up, pull off your mike and walk out! I don't he ever had that happen before. 

    Hard Talk  will see, that "you", know how to  play Hard Ball.

    • Anonymous says:

      National Security is not his remit. This sits squarely with the UK Government. Do not set this up further for failure.

  10. Knot S Smart says:

    Alden will hold 'his own' although Strphen Sackur might make him 'groan'..

    And on another matter – Money dun, fun done, sayed gonna get bun…

  11. Kadafe says:

    This is gonna be great.. I'm just as excited as if this was a ppv boxing match!! Ding ding ding! Lol

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ya know we talk about transparency, this is a step in the righ direction.  Sure it will be tough and he has a right to be "nervous" but if we can't step up to the world in a forum like HARDtalk , then we pretty much don't truly believe in what we have to offer and it says we don't believe in our product. It takes a really good leader to take risk and I commend him for accepting this challenge.    

  13. Anonymous says:

    I'm encouraging Alden to do mock interviews with Tony Travers and Tim Ridley in order to prepare for this BBC hotseat session. 

    Getting your butt kicked by the BBC on international TV is no JOKE!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why on earth would he put himself in that type of position "talk show BBC"? What is he going to get out of it?  What is Cayman getting out of it?

  14. Anonymous says:

    What he has to show the world is that tax havens are good for the worlds economies. That we are not afraid to speak or explain what we do here . That we are not the money laundering center of the universe , New York is . That they money laundered 10 billion dollars through Europe from the russian mob and that the russian gov't sued the US gov't and only got back 7.5 billion dollars. That Wilmington Del. is the new tax haven which is the vice president home . That the five story building here is  Her majesties lawyers here in the Cayman Islands. That the 18,000 companies that were licensed here is no different then the companies licensed in Las Vegas or Conn. or in Del. That they now use the same laws and standards and procedures as we do here. So whose calling the kettle black?

    We need to correct the fallacies of the constant bullying at the end of the block and stand up for our country.  We are obviously not doing  anything different here since they now do it over there in many other countries. What is wrong, is TAXATION . Without taxation the divisions would stop and the wars also. Can you add to this ? This is what he needs to argue with Sackur. Facts and more facts .

    • Far Canal says:

      We're not a tax haven.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, you are.

        • Far Canal says:

          Read the OECD definition of a tax haven.  We do not meet the three criteria, especially transparency/exchange of information. Cayman has ensured this is addressed to the standards expected of all significant international organisations with TIEAs in place with all major economies around the world and the establishment of a Tax Information Authority. However political expediency doesn't care about facts most of the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well put sir – and he might add that their tax codes are huge and written specifically to allow loopholes for the wealthy and special interests, whereas the Cayman Islands Tax Code can be written on a couple of sheets of paper. Why should we change to accomodate their problem?

  15. Michel says:

    Alden my friend, Be Qwick to Listen, slower to Speak and get Angry according to our sciptures. Speak of what is known in Good Confidence and speak with a clean heart in an humble manner and He too shall be next to you. It reasurres me of your character that you know it will not be easy and yet you’re doing it and I for one am proud of you. Comparing to where we stood 1 year ago. God Bless, Michel Lemay

  16. Anonymous says:

    Alden must truely be blind, they are going to rip him to shreds and make Cayman seem like it has no strong leadership..

    • Anonymous says:

      Which is a fair point.  It has a bunch of overpaid jokers with a misplaced sense of self-importance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then it's a good thing they are….it accommodates people like you….

  17. Anonymous says:


    I hope his Political Assistant Kenneth has prepared his answers!

    I  sorry but Alden can barely answer Austin so I know for sure this guy will rip him up




    • Anonymous says:

      Anyone who has had any contact with Kenneth will know that he has an agile intellect and a fluent delivery ….and with such sound credentials our Premier has indeed selected wise counsel to guide him through the valley of the shadow of Stephen Sackur.



  18. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen people walked off his stage because of his questions! Not good!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hope Alden's flying first class so he can get a good night's sleep. It'll be money well spent on this occasion, I mean for all of us. He's about to place his head in the lion's mouth!

  20. SKEPTICAL says:

    The Premier could be considered a very brave man, or a fool. He is not a fool, but perhaps this time he may be out of his league. This is not a two minute "sound bite"  on the steps of the LA with CITN 27News, or the Caymanian Compass. This is the SuperBowl of investigative journalism – and Stephen Sackur does not pull his punches. So the concern could be, depending on his performance, how will the World at large perceive the Cayman Islands as one of the Bad Boys of offshore internalional finance. On the other hand, who is actually going to watch the broadcast ?  The G 7/8/20 Groups, the OECD/IMF/FATF, and the good old US of A have already made up their minds about us – and the average man on the streets of the UK couldn't give a tuppenny toss about the Cayman Islands. So, should the interview go " pear shaped ",  any negative publicity should be manageable.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'd say he's simply a fool. This trip is a victory of ego over common sense.


      • Anonymous says:

        Ego is a helluva a thing eh? There is no benefit to Cayman orthe regressives instead of talking to BBC please tell us what he doing to fix things in Cayman at weekly press conferences

  21. Anonymous says:

    How will this be positive for us?  Has Alden seen this show?  The guy in the hot seat ALWAYS loses. UK out to burn us and we're pouring gasoline.

  22. Anonymous says:

    On a bad day Stephen Sackur will shred him. If he's on form poor Alden will be praying for the floor to swallow him up. This is not going to go well. And if you're reading this and thinking Alden will get the opportunity to come off well during this interrogation all I can say you're truly living in cookoo land and you have certainly never seen HARDtalk.

  23. Anonymous says:

    You sometimes gotta wonder if Alden ever recovered from his bicycle accident. He's being set up here.

    One associate of Chatham House is Nicholas Shaxon – author of Treasure Islands.

    Two others are Martin Polaine and Arvinder Sambei – legal advisors to Operation Tempura.

    Moral – there's no such thing as a free lunch unless you're the main course     

  24. Anonymous says:

    Now WHY would we want to go on to that show???  There's really no positive out come for Cayman on that.  Ahh boy more fuel to the fire and we the ones pouring…

  25. UHUHUH says:

    I have one hard question for the Premier! Did you have some in your cabinet have Mr. Sackur send you a list of the questions you will be asked on HARDtalk?. All smart Government officials do this, so that assistants  can help them brush up on those difficult and tricky questions.

    Good luck sir you will need it! 

  26. Anonymous says:

    You talk about a 'set-up' !  This is the set-up of the century !


    Alden McLaughlinhas no idea what he's in for…and he can't win.

    If he plays up Cayman's success, he will only be re-inforcing the British public's views of Cayman and other non-tax jurisdictions as 'non-tax paying' scroungers.

    If he denies it, he will be branded a bare-faced liar…he has no idea of the rabid envious nature of the Brirish people and their culture…if they can't have it…you're not supposed to either.

    And…if Operation Tempura is brought up…he will wish the ground to open up and swallow him in.

    In any event, I wish him luck; he's going to need it !

    • Anonymous says:

      "rabid envious nature of the Brirish"?? Where do the Brirish come into this?

      And there was never an envious person in Cayman, never met never…thousands yes, but one no.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a Brit myself there is no doubt of the accuracy of the stereotype. Here (and in the US) success is celebrated. In the UK it can be a source of embarrassment.

        What reg car do you drive? Want a cuppa?

        • Anonymous says:

          That is because properly brought up Brits have more class than to be so gauche as to flaunt it. 

        • Anonymous says:

          "Celebrating success" is so lower middle class.

      • Anonymous says:

        You've got to be 'Brirish' to not recognise a typo when you see one…and to be so sensitive about your envy and covetiousness.

        I live in Britain (do you notice the correct spelling ?) and there's nothing that you can tell me about the worst of you lot.

        There's not one of you who wouldn't take the Cayman Islands over Britain any day if you had the choice but…

        Because Cayman has the life that you envy and can't have, you intend to tear it down in any way you can.

        This interview is just another effort to do that but Mr. McLaughlin has agreed to it, so its his funeral.

        Britain wrote the rule book on lying, corruption and theivery a long time time ago…history documents that very well…no need to rehash the history of the 'Brirish Empire' now is there ?.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Please, please, please do not let this happen. These are serious interviewers whose job is to make people squirm & to get them in a corner & beat them, & trip them up etc. , metaphorically, on global topics. They will be well resesearched & well rehearsed with lots of nasty questions to ask & points to make. They can trip up experienced politicians & public speakers, & do so. It is not a nice quiet chat or cosy interview.

    This will not turn out well, he might just as well enter the boxing ring against a Heavyweight Champion. I like the Premier so am not talking him down, but am warning that this show is not the place to be.

    Someone please brief him well if this is going to go ahead…

  28. Anonymous says:

    Does the premier actually know enough about tax competition and the role of offshore financial centers in the global economy to handle this? If he gets stuck he's going to go on autopilot and start blathering about jobs for Caymanians and the other slogans that normally get him votes, instead of explaining why we're a legit financial center and not a shady money laundering operation.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Oh Oh… Country goes to Town.

    This had the potential to be a full scale disaster.

    Its better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

    Tread very carefully Alden


  30. Hear, hear - says:

    Doh!  Stick to a fact sheet buddy.  Speak about the "Firm Factor" and how Deleware and even London UK has looser laws.  Tread carefully and ake sure you have your facts straight.  Listen closely, don't ramble, and be professional.  Many eyes are on this-  Serious interview of your life and you represent us!


  31. Anon says:

    Maybe if he had to travel overseas to speak to the local press he would be more willing to do so. Potshots is an understatement where Hardtalk is concerned. Hope is is prepared – but I doubt that he is. 

  32. Anonymous says:

    Wow, on the face of it, our very own Alden from the tiny, insignificant Cayman Islands going to Chatham House in London to talk to the BBC!


    Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in London whose mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs.

    Let's translate this. Chatham House is a vehicle by which the globalist One World Government agenda is formulated and executed. Alden will be coming home with more than a stick of rock and a jar of Marmite, that's for sure.

    Come on people, I knowkool aid tastes great, but it can be lethal. Read the ingredients before you consume.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your interpretation displays your paranoid roots. Whether the premier is up to the job is another matter…I am sure the "pot shots" comment will be raised, and Sackur does not hold his punches. But good on him anyway for trying to correct the many misrepresentations about these islands. I for one hope he succeeds.

      • Anonymous says:

        We all live in hope, friend. But whether this ultimately does us any good is another matter.. Not sure "paranoid roots" has anything to do with it. I was raised in the U.K. and I understand them in ways you would need to take a full time course for about 20 years to even begin to get a handle on, judging by the naivity ("Sackur does not hold his punches") of your post. Like a lamb to the slaughter.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am a Brit too. Who is naive now? And I still go there regularly, which it would appear you do not.

    • Anonymous says:

      So many trolls? Perhaps the poster is on to something?

  33. Anonymous says:

    I hope that Alden understands that Cayman's "Pot Shots" are like being in Sunday School compared HARDTalk on BBC !!!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Boy me can't wait to tuine in…….hope Sackur got all da hard questquions for good Hardtalk.

  35. Cay5 says:

    Please don't ask him about the previous years in 2007/8 when him and Kurt Tibbetts increased spending with the false notion that the following fiscal year would cover the expenses … it did not and left us in a huge deficit because of a global recession. With UDP it was about corruption. With PPM, the previous years, it was about making bad fiscal decisions.

    • Anonymous says:

      No-one cares.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the article not just the headline, it clearly states what subjects they will be interviewing him on.

      I know it takes a little effort to get past the big bold firstline, but try, it's amazing how much you can learn and it will assist in the avoidance in fitting that big foot in your mouth

      • Anonymous says:

        "What subjects they will be 'interviewing' him on"? Are you serious? Have you ever watched HARDtalk? This ain't no "interview", sweetheart, this is up in your face confrontation on a level that poor Alden will never have faced before. It's not the playground stuff he's had to deal with in the LA by any stretch of the imagination. Lord help him. And us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good posting, as we all know the BBC has an army of researchers who no doubt monitor CNS. But rest assurred, Mr. Sachur will have been briefed extensively in regard to Alden's activities since entering political life, and no stone will be left unturned if previous grillings are anything to go by.  Poor Alden, either he's supremely arrogant or utterly naive to agree to subject himself to this interrogation. Expect a question in regard to the idiotic statement about the press taking "pot shots" at his government and Cayman's willingness to be transparent and open to scrutiny. It is precisely because of this that Alden should have never made such an ill-advised statement. Who is advising him? Is he ignoring their advice, or are they, too, completely out of their depth?

  36. anon says:

    Would have been more fun wtching McKeeva instead. But then I'd feel bad afterwards…

  37. Foreign Devil says:

    That could get ugly.

  38. Anonymous says:

    If the premier is worried about "pot shots" from the local media he should stay away from HARDtalk. Host Stephen Sackur is going to tear him appart and I would recommend that he reconsider this decision. 

  39. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful!  Congrats to our Premier on both scores.  I am sure he will represent us admirably.  

    Ps. CNS, I don't think Alden has any problem handling "pot shots."  He is just choosing the pot shots.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Wonderful toknow that CNS wecomes sarcasm. It may be the lowest form of wit but at times it gets the job done.

    • Anonymous says:


      The  Premier will do well.  I have watched HardTalk many times and while it is deep and, on thes curtting edge, I have seen individuals on there that were no more knowledgeable  he is  and they were able to hold their own.  If he refused someone of you would be complaining about that.  I am sure he has done his research and is ready.  It is not a fist fight or shouting match. It is a debate and idf he sticks to the facts he should do well.





  40. M Prayer says:

    Dear God

    please give the Premier humility and help him to not come across as a petulant diva the way he did at the last press briefing in Cayman. Hardtalk will be a test as he will be expected to deliver more than platitudes. Help him to talk sense not embarrass us and also explain to us how he and his government have recovered proceeds of corruption in the Cayman Islands.


    • Anonymous says:

      And Dear Lord. I pray they ask him about his tolerance towards Pension corruption. Amen!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I can think of someone else in the LA who could deliver a more believable keynote speech on corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      A hope y trip up n pop y mout.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can't we all wish him well ?.  I have watched Hard Talk and that is exactly what it will be. You people are so negative. He knows the facts and if he sticks to the facts he will do well.  Which one of you out there with all your negativity can do better.  I think it is a good opportunity for the Premier to tell our story and after he come back with a good report and after it is aired and you all see it I think you will be pleasantly surprised or else you all will get a big plate of crow and eat. Mr. premier I am routing for you and wish you much success. Go and do your best and please do not focus on these hard luck story tellers. If you didn't do it their story would be "he had an opportunity to do the debate and he was too chicken to go"  

    • Anonymous says:

      Would he by any chance be singing it?

  42. Bleeding-Teeth says:

    It is a risky interview: if it goes badly, it will reinforce all the bad things that has been said about the Cayman Islands in the past and, if it goes well, it probably won't result in any significant new business inflow to Cayman. If it were my call, i would have tried to discourage the Premier from taking on this gamble. Premier now that you have agreed to do so, I wish you the best – just don't start your answers with "well ……." and no wry chuckles! All the best. Mr Tatum will you be coaching the  Premier and firing hard questions at the Premier to simulate the diffcult interview ahead?

    • Anonymous says:

      "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

      — Oscar Wilde


      Go for it, Alden!

  43. B. Hurlstone says:

    Our Premier should have plenty of examples of corruption to offer the conference attendees, although we all know that nothing will come of it……. It never has!

  44. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the Premier has ever seen Hardtalk?

    Given that he is going to be in the UK, I understand that Sasha Baron Cohen also has openings for victims – sorry I meant interviewees.

    • Hear, hear - says:

      Start watching the tapes and get your public speaking coach!  This is the final exam and a tough one at that.

  45. Just Sayin'.... says:

    This could actually be very good for Cayman as long as he goes prepared with facts provided by our own financial experts in the private sector. Hopefully he will have the opportunity to point out that despite the notorious image of Cayman that Hollywood and the overseas media love to portray, places such as the City of London and Delaware in the USA more accurately fit the "tax haven" description. Go get 'em Alden!

    • Anonymous says:

      London is certainly NOT a tax haven, as anyone whose ever been paid in the UK will tell you! Many of the financial institutions based in London have availed themselves of the facilities offered by "Tax neutral" jurisdictions (like Cayman), but that's not the same as being a tax haven itself.

      I would would agree with that a number of institutions have been involved in money laundering on the other hand, but at least the laws are in place and the political will is there to punish transgressors -even if the policing has been inadequate

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, that is why Cameron is offering to lay out the red carpet for wealthy French elites in response to the increase in income tax in France to 75%.

        Anytime you attract people on the basis of lower taxes you are a tax haven, dimbo.  No doubt you think having palm trees is obligatory.    

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually London is deemed one of the biggest tax havens, may be not for your average Joe but for most Corporations. If you want an example of their tax haven status on an individual level, look at those with resident non-domicile status, who unlike the rest of the brits don't have to pay tax on their world wide income.

        As for money laundering, please cna you let me know last time an executive was jailed for laudnering at one of the big banks?

        Look at HSBC as a shinning example, plenty of fines NO jail time.

  46. Doctor Too Little MuchToo Late says:


  47. Anonymous says:

    Hey Alden what happened to geting rid of pension for permit holders?? That was to go back to Legislature?

  48. Whodatis says:

    Oh dear … this could go either way, couldn't it?!

    Both of these individuals have demonstrated a personality which makes it uncertain who exactly will show up on the day, lol!

    Carry him a plate of Stew Turtle and a piece o' heavy-cake Alden – conduct the interview thereafter.

    Smooth sailing guaranteed!


    • cow itch. says:

      psssst…. make sure to put alot of rum in the heavy cake …. aloootttttt

  49. SSM345 says:

    Thank you sweet baby Jesus we have a new Premier, imagine if the King of the Republic was stilli power……