Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stand squarely behind the Cayman Islands and other Overseas Territories in their disagreement with the United Kingdom concerning potential constitutional overreach.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, along with Hon. Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, and the Cayman delegation, returned over the weekend from the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Montego Bay, Jamaica from the 4th July through the 6th July 2018.
At the request of Premier McLaughlin, His Excellency Erwin LaRocque, Secretary General of CARICOM, agreed to include on the Conference agenda the issue of the constitutional relationship of the Overseas Territories and the United Kingdom and the recent overreach by the United Kingdom Parliament regarding implementation of Public Registers.
The matter was discussed during the Caucus session and it was agreed by CARICOM Heads to support the Overseas Territories and to express concern regarding the vote in the UK House of Commons to seek to force OT’s to implement Public Registers.
The Official Communique issued at the end of the Conference stated that:
“Heads of Government noted with great concern the amendment approved by the UK House of Commons to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill requiring the UK Government to ensure that the British Overseas Territories, but not the Crown Dependencies, establish public registers of beneficial ownership information by no later than 31 December 2020.
“They expressed their solidarity with the territories adversely affected by this unilateral action to legislate in areas of domestic policy constitutionally devolved to the territories without the consent and involvement of their people. Moreover, the action ran counter to an alternative arrangement to public registers earlier negotiated and agreed with the UK government and put in place at great cost to the overseas territories.
“Heads of Government viewed this action as similar to the unilateral and punitive extra-territorial measures such as blacklisting and de-risking taken against their own countries financial services sector, also a critical aspect of their economies, despite their best efforts at transparency and compliance.”
“This is an important statement of solidarity from the Heads of member states of CARICOM in support of the Overseas Territories, the majority of which are also Associate Members of CARICOM,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “I am grateful to Heads of Government for this unanimous support, but in particular I am very grateful to the Prime Ministers of Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent who unhesitatingly provided support and spoke passionately on our behalf.
“This shows the importance of building relationships within the region and as I noted during the Legislative Assembly, there is strength in numbers. The support of CARICOM Heads enhances the cause of OT’s for the creation of appropriate safeguards in our individual constitutions,” he said.
“I also thank the Prime Minister of Jamaica for hosting the conference and for his support, and importantly I am grateful to Secretary General LaRocque for agreeing that this matter be added to the Conference agenda,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “And of course, I am appreciative of the assistance of the Attorney General, Mr. Samuel Bulgin, for his advice and counsel during discussions as well as to the team from my office and the Cabinet Office, Roy Tatum and Jamal Anderson, for their support during the Conference.”
The 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community was chaired by The Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness.
Other Members of the Conference in attendance included:
• Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Honourable Gaston Browne;
• Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Honourable Dr. Hubert Minnis;
• Prime Minister of Barbados, Honourable Mia Mottley;
• Prime Minister of Belize, Honourable Dean Barrow;
• Prime Minister of Dominica, Honourable Roosevelt Skerritt;
• Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell;
• President of Guyana, His Excellency David Granger (Brigadier Ret);
• President of Haiti, His Excellency Jovenel Moïse;
• Premier of Montserrat, Honourable Donaldson Romeo;
• Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris;
• Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Honourable Allen Chastanet;
• Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves;
• President of Suriname, His Excellency Desire Bouterse;
• Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley.
Associate Members in attendance were:
• Premier of the Cayman Islands, Honourable Alden McLaughlin;
• Premier of Bermuda, Honourable David Burt;
• Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Honourable Dr. Orlando Smith; and
• Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands,Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson.