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Mac claims Panton is destroying offshore sector

| 02/02/2016 | 14 Comments
CNS Business

McKeeva Bush, as premier, attending a conference in London

(CNS Business): Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush has accused the financial services minister of failing to protect Cayman’s financial services sector because of what he claims are agreements made with the UK and plans to dismantle Cayman’s secrecy law. Bush has accused Wayne Panton of shifting his loyalty from his own country to the British government, as both he and the PPM appeased “their London masters” with detrimental changes to the financial services laws.

In the latest spat in the ongoing war of words between Bush and Panton, Bush accused the minister of being “hell bent” on destroying the offshore industry.

Panton: Mac out of touch with reality

“Under his watch our financial services sector, so critical to the economy of Cayman, has suffered continuous and potentially permanent damage, while placing us back on a global blacklist, since 2013. The livelihoods of thousands of Caymanians depends on a strong and globally competitive finance industry,” Bush told CNS Business. “If he goes ahead with the dismantling of our confidential relationship laws and other changes he is agreeing to with the FCO-UK Treasury, it will be the death knell for the industry.”

However, Panton, a former partner in a leading local law firm working in the sector, has stated on a number of occasions that there are no plans to repeal the Confidential Relationships (preservation) Law. He has said that because of the negativity and misunderstanding associated with the legislation he is hoping to change the name of the law and make some changes to some sections that criminalise the exchange of information, which has caused conflict with exchange treaties.

Nevertheless, Bush said that Panton, after enjoying “the luxuries” of the work he (Bush) did as the country’s leader to protect the sector, was now undermining the industry. He claimed that despite Panton’s criticisms of his handling of the offshore industry, when he was leader of government business he had taken steps to protect the sector, including against a “destructive blow” from the IRS because of the “over-charging of clients’ bills” by certain law firms.

“It was a good thing that I had the ability to deal with those issues when they arose,” he said.

The opposition leader accused Panton of forgetting his loyalty to the Cayman people and moving “his allegiance from Cayman to London”. Bush said he was a British citizen who respected the Queen but he was first and foremost a Caymanian.

“I answer to the people of these islands; I listen to their needs and stand up for their rights in every forum and jurisdiction I must be at,” he said. “Panton and the PPM appeases their London masters with these detrimental changes to our financial laws and way of life, and one by one is undermining the lives of more and more Caymanians.”

Speaking of his disdain for Foreign Office officials in London, Bush said he would always stand against their intrusion into personal lives and the “kind of mentality that leads them to agree to the undemocratic pulling down of democratically elected official with trumped-up investigations” — referring to his own corruption trial, which he said was “a pack of vicious and destructive lies”.

In October 2014 Bush was acquitted of a number of corruption charges relating to the use of his government credit card in casinos abroad.

While Bush accepted that government was faced with global changes, some of which “we can’t do much about”, he said the new regulations were being “rammed down the throat of the industry while our major competitors continue to do business as usual” and Cayman must be more innovative.

He said rather than repeal the confidentiality laws, Cayman must introduce legislation that keeps it competitive and relevant, offering products that assure clients their money is safe and their business information will not be “open to the whims and fancies of terrorist and other nefarious entities”.

“The end product has to be more Caymanians employed rather than the trend the PPM have us on where our people are losing their jobs, their homes and their dignity,” he added.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “While I am no financial expert”…

    No need to listen to anything this man has to say.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was all lost years ago stop making up excuses
    One of the worst things cayman ever did was enact that law that takes dormant accounts and gives the $ to the Government You caused your own failure by stealing what is not yours

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr Mac your time and been and gone. Go away and check your credit card terms and conditions!

  4. wimpy says:

    Mac does have a point. It seems as if this Government is too busy playing footsie with the FCO to realise that no matter what we do the UK wants to shut us down. Why not join forces with other territories and stand up to this ? We always seem so willing to lay down and take the licks quietly hoping they will lave us alone. First it was Blacklists, then FATCA, now Beneficial Ownership and it will never stop until we decide to stand up and say enough is enough. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is happening. Where are the real representatives who will go down with a fight? Not saying Mac is the answer, just happen to agree with him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wimpy – you might be interested to learn that it was mighty mouth (or mouse) mac that in fact committed the country to FATCA. It was the only action possible mind you. Understand that it is not possible for us to say enough. We are a small state with little leverage and too often might is right in this unfair world. The objective cannot be about representatives going down with a fight – the country has to survive for our children of today and tomorrow. The true challenge is about picking battles and positioning to put us in the best possible position on an ongoing basis. And no Mac is definitely not now or ever the answer.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What Bush should tell people is that he was responsible for putting our finances in such a bad state that the FCO had to step in to save us.Bush did not give one example of Panton’s so called destructive moves; this is just his political blustering , spouting off his mouth in an effort to score political points.Mac believes that if you stir up enough dust it will look like smoke, and of course if there is smoke there must be a fire. Caymanians need to ensure that they never ever put this man in position again to cause as much damage as he did in the past.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to defend Bush but I think it was PPM that left our finances in a shambles..Remember our $100M school that is only worth $60M…I could go on..

      • Anonymous says:

        Not to defend the PPM but i think it was mcCracker that left our finances in shambles. Ask HIM why we have a 100m school that is only worth 60m.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then go on about how Bush wasted our money, $850,000 of government money For land in West bay now valued $75,000.
        I’ll give you one guess the name of the family Mac bought the land from .

  6. Anonymous says:

    Go away Mac.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh no can’t believe I have to agree with Mac

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maintaining secrecy is not so critical to the economy of the Cayman Islands as it seems to have been for Mr. Bush and his political power base. Are we going to do this again? We need new candidates please.

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