Duddridge to press for open register

| 20/11/2015 | 5 Comments
CNS Business

Premier Alden McLaughlin (left) and BOT Minister Duddridge

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands premier and other leaders of British overseas territories (BOTs) continue to resist the concept of an open beneficial ownership registry to meet the UK’s demands for more transparency regarding the offshore sector, the FCO minister with responsibility for BOTs has said he will be pressing for a commitment to transparency at this year’s annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC). Answering a parliamentary question last week from opposition member Margaret Hodge about public registers in the BOTs, James Duddridge said he and the Treasury’s financial secretary had written to the leaders of the Cayman Islands, BVI and Bermuda.

In the letter he asked for their plans and a timetable for central registers of company beneficial ownership, or “similarly effective systems”, by the JMC meeting set for the beginning of December, he told the Labour backbencher.

“My objective is to press the premiers to repeat their commitments to uphold international standards of transparency to ensure the highest degree of effectiveness including on holding beneficial ownership information. I will be discussing their proposals and timetable for doing so,” he said.

The FCO minister added that the systems should allow access by UK law enforcement and tax authorities without restriction, enabling them to quickly identify all companies that a particular beneficial owner has a stake in without needing to submit multiple requests and without telling the owners they are being investigated.

Although the Cayman Islands Government believes that enhancing the status quo with automatic exchange mechanisms should meet the criteria, the recent comments from Whitehall suggest that the UK is expecting more than Cayman appears willing to give. Duddridge appears to be taking a harder position than his colleague, Grant Shapps, who had acted in his post while he was in hospital. When visiting Cayman earlier this year, Shapps took a more relaxed position and suggested there were more ways than one to achieve the same thing as a public register.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has made it clear that he will not give in to a centralised public registry of beneficial ownership and it is clear that this issue is likely to dominate the annual meeting between the territories and the UK scheduled for 1 -2 December.

A press release from the FCO said that other issues to be discussed this year include child safeguarding, economic development, and setting a vision for the UK and the OTs in 2030.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (5)

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  1. Crab Claw says:

    Only sign on to such and agreement if the UK guarantees funding for all our future budgets plus an extra 25% indefinitely if we are to give up a prize like this, oh by god make them pay thru their teeth for it. because the price they are asking us to pay is the downfall and ruination of a solvent country.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can we at least find out who really owns companies trading in Cayman? It is often not who the registers say.

    • Norman says:

      Sure. Just as soon as you can find out who owns companies registered in Nevada

      • Anonymous says:

        I thought ownership was required to be disclosed to the Trade and Business licensing authorities under Cayman laws? I guess we just ignore them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Good Mr. premier, do not bow to the Uk on this. It is not their flipping business. They do not give us anything and if they try to do this on their own every Caymanian man, woman and child should get an EU passport and park our butts in the UK and let them support us. also Mr.Premier while you are there, Ask them to kindly return the 1 million pounds that was sent to them to help fight the Falklands war with Argentina. Tell them we want our money back asap with interest attached. cheeky Brits. ,, Also ask them what they intend to do with all their people over here raking in the millions after they have destroy our islands.? I wonder if they have given that a thought?

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