Government’s ongoing delay in setting up Overseas Offices endangers financial services.
The news that in the coming weeks the Government is expecting the Cayman Islands to be placed on yet another EU list of countries at high risk from money laundry is perhaps not so unexpected. The last two Progressives Government’s faced many such threats and despite bumps in the road we successfully maneuvered through them. It has been obvious for some time that we would continue to face these threats.
However, one thing that also became obvious was the need for us to have a Caymanian representative on the ground in Brussels to develop relationships with the European Union and the various representatives of the EU states, and to argue our case daily. It was on that basis that the last Government, after consulting with the Financial Services Sector, developed plans for an overseas office in Brussels as a main priority, with another one in Washington DC to follow, and finally an Asian Office in Hong Kong, or failing that perhaps in Singapore. The main role of the Brussels and Washington Offices would be to defend our financial services businesses.
Despite our warning that dithering would likely be problematic, the PACT Government delayed the opening of Overseas Offices, including the important Brussels Office. Though they did give some commitment to having an office in Brussels and Washington in place before the end of 2021. Well, 2021 has ended and the much-needed Brussels office has still not yet opened. Perhaps now that there is a threat of being listed this, and I suspect pressure from the Financial Services sector, will drive the Government to finally act.
For the sake of the country and our financial services business I hope that they do act and do so quickly.
Issued by: The Progressives