CAYMAN AND LONDON SHOULD TEAM UP ON PROJECTS SAYS UK REP
The Cayman Islands representative in the UK has raised the prospect of the jurisdiction partnering with the UK’s City of London financial district, especially on the financing of global climate change sustainable development projects.
Mr Andre Ebanks, Head of the Cayman Islands Government Office UK (CIGOUK), was participating in an international online forum on Saturday looking at how the OTs respond to Brexit.
Addressing possibilities in which the Cayman and the London financial service sectors can work closer together, Mr Ebanks made the proposition of Cayman, “developing a niche area in which we may be one of the domiciles of choice for environmental social governance investment vehicles.”
“Climate actions are going to cost money,” he said and suggested that “Cayman is well-positioned with its well-regulated investment funding vehicles.”
Mr Ebanks feels this could be one of the areas for Cayman’s global contributions to the ‘green and blue economy’ financing efforts.
He referenced recent remarks by HE Governor Martyn Roper regarding the next global climate summit, COP 26, to be hosted by Scotland.
Mr Roper had spoken of “a UK-Cayman compact on sustainable development setting out areas where we can cooperate.”
“This once-in-a century- health crisis is a once-in-a-century opportunity to reshape the world that our children should inherit. Cayman should be a part of that. We should waste it,” he quoted Governor Roper as stating at the time in the context of the COVID pandemic.
Mr Ebanks said there’s already evidence of this in Cayman working in partnership with the UK on an agenda for environmental protection including identifying the funding streams.
The green economy is concerned with overall sustainable development without degrading the environment while the blue economy more specifically focuses on the exploitation and preservation of the marine environment.
The World Bank is already promoting a shift towards projects that mitigate climate change and deliver sustainable growth as a future growth strategy.
It’s already being viewed as a growth sector.
For example, investors and developers that rely on the Bank’s $30 billion funding programme as leverage for their capital projects will need to demonstrate that future projects are sustainable and meet the new criteria on climate change.
Mr Ebanks also asked whether the Paris Agreement of Climate Action - the global initiative that US President Donald Trump has controversially withdrawn from - should be extended to the Overseas Territories.
Concerning Brexit, Mr Ebanks said what he extrapolates from that is “an opportunity for the UK, Cayman and the OTS to get together and strive towards collective prosperity where we have strong prospects.”
At the same time though, the CIGOUK head also wondered about the impact of Brexit on relations between the OTs themselves, especially through the UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) where common concerns are addressed.
He feared that a valuable resource was at risk.
On the wider bond with the French and Dutch overseas territories, he used the analogy of “the parents are getting divorced and as a result the kids are being split up.”
Mr Ebanks said, “that conversation is ongoing now as to how we can continue wrking together and whegther there’s some form of informal memorandum of understanding that we could still share insights and analysis and continue to collaborate.”
He described this situation as “one of the unforeseen consequences of Brexit.”
According to the head of the Cayman Islands office in the UK, “Despite the gloomy forecasts, during this pandemic, there are rays of light that we should focus on and really make Global Britain mean something.”
Saturday’s forum was organised by the social enterprise and digital media company Island Innovation which links the private sector, government, utilities, NGOs and universities to advance innovation for sustainability and prosperity in islands worldwide.
Meanwhile, as the UK and other other EU overseas territories contemplate their relations post-Brexit, the entire Brexit project has been thrown into disarray with the UK vowing to renege on key aspects of the Withdrawal Treaty it signed with the EU in January.