Panton: Mac out of touch with reality

| 26/01/2016 | 5 Comments
CNS Business

McKeeva Bush, Leader of the Opposition

(CNS Business): Following recent comments by Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush on Facebook about new standards for the exchange of information introduced in Cayman, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton said Bush was “completely out of touch with reality”. The latest Common Reporting Standard is not a UK initiative but the new global standard on automatic exchange of information for tax purposes, Panton explained.

“This standard was mandated by the G20 and handed to the OECD to develop,” Panton said. “From an industry standpoint, as of today, Cayman and 96 other jurisdictions – including all of the international financial centres – have made commitments, through the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, to implement the CRS in 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, all 97 jurisdictions are implementing a standardised plan, and these plans are subject to real-time monitoring by the Global Forum.”

McKeeva Bush recently stated on a Facebook page post that no other jurisdiction in the world had adopted such legislation but the minister said that was completely inaccurate.

“Quite how such a broadly implemented global initiative, ‎which includes all of our competitors, represents a sell out or is dangerous or a threat, as he says, will remain a mystery I am sure he cannot explain, just as he has failed to explain so much else in his political life,” Panton said, as he hit back at the opposition leader’s criticism of how he is handling the changes in offshore regulation.

Defending the changes, the minister said that 97 countries — almost half the world’s governments — have committed to the Common Reporting Standards and are now introducing the necessary local legislation. None of the changes were because Cayman capitulated to pressure from the UK, as implied by Bush, in order to access information to undermine the sector here.

“The automatic exchange of information will not be done through the UK,” he said. “It will be done on a direct basis among jurisdictions that have implemented the CRS and met the OECD mandated requirements, including confidentiality and data safeguards. This information will be transmitted solely to the country of taxpayer residence.”

Information relating to taxpayer resident in a particular country will be transmitted directly and solely to relevant authorities in that country, so the UK will only see and receive information relevant to its own taxpayers and not those of other states.‎

“Cayman has worked with the OECD on these issues for more than 16 years and with the Global Forum for nearly as long,” Panton said and offered to meet the opposition leader at any time to “provide the education he clearly needs”.

“Of course he may decline this offer as he pleases but in that case I must ask him, in the interest of the jurisdiction, to cease making ‎such ridiculous postings anywhere. His published comments are not only damaging to the interests of the country but, equally, his total lack of knowledge and understanding is thoroughly embarrassing.”

Panton said the financial sector was too important to the country and the people “to leave the leader of the opposition to his untrue and wild assertions” as thousands of Caymanian professionals and others depend on the industry for their livelihood. Panton said people have worked hard to build a great reputation and credibility in the global financial services arena and he would not allow Bush to undermine that.

“He may put his self-serving interests ahead of theirs and not care about them but this government certainly does,” Panton said. “‎To ignore the politically motivated ramblings of the UDP leader, which are published for the world to see and be misled by, would do a disservice to these fellow Caymanians. He will not be given free rein to do so.”

Panton’s defence of the new reporting standards come in response to Bush’s Facebook posting, in which he said that the PPM government was selling out to the UK with the “massive change to our financial services they willingly accept”, suggesting that the latest legislative changes were the “worst threat to the Cayman Islands Financial services Industry in forty years” and it was all down to the British.

Wrapping the issue up in claims that the charges against him were all about a British government plot to bring down the Cayman Islands financial services industry, he said it would be on Panton’s head when the “irrevocable damage” happens on his watch.

“By that time though we all will be paupers,” Bush claimed, adding that the UK government was on a moral crusade to force legislation through, which it could not get when he was premier

“I will not agree to their demands to change our confidential laws among other things they wanted me to do,” the opposition leader said. “The British government has no legitimate interest in the tax affairs of any other citizens and we should not be the unpaid agents of the British Government in facilitating that access when we have no idea in whose hands that information may end up.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Conscience says:

    He who calls another witless is either as witless or assumes that he is not witless, is in grave danger, for he that knoweth not is as witless as he that he seeks to besmirch.

  2. Knot S Smart says:

    As much as I dont like Mac I have to ‘Disagree’ with him on this…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I respect Mr. Panton more and more each day.

  4. Marathon says:

    You gotta like the guy. Wayne Panton tells it like it is, and has the guts to call Bush a witless idiot who has no place in politics.

    • Anonymous says:

      The witless idiot simply hates all Brits because they put a stop to his joyride at the people’s expense. They also spoilt his questionable closed door deals particularly with the Chinese port deal.

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