Business leaders in the Cayman Islands have welcomed comments by UK Prime Minister defending Crown dependencies and overseas territories from having a reputation as tax havens.In the House of Commons David Cameron said he no longer considered it "fair" to use the label, after recent efforts to ensure transparency. "It is very important that our focus should now shift to those territories and countries that really are tax havens," said Cameron.
"The Crown dependencies and overseas territories, which matter so much – quite rightly – to the British people and members have taken the necessary action and should get the backing for it."
Last June, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man agreed to sign up to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters, an initiative led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In a joint statement, the leaders of the territories and dependencies said: "We are committed to continuing to play a leading role in delivering a responsible and effectively regulated global business environment and in tackling the global problem of tax evasion."
Cayman Finance, the organisation representing the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands, welcomed the comments by the Prime Minister, which, it said, finally recognise the transparency of the Cayman Islands financial services industry built over the past four decades.
Cayman Finance also highlighted the OECD Secretary-General's Report to the G20 Leaders, issued in early September, which shows how the Cayman Islands compares to other jurisdictions. The report shows ratings for 98 jurisdictions, based on nine criteria, giving a green, amber, or red rating for each and where 'green' denotes the highest rating.
Cayman is rated green across all nine categories. Brazil and the US have two ambers, Russia has seven, and Canada, Germany, Spain, and the UK each have one.“Clearly we appreciate the comments by the Honourable Prime Minister. Given the facts, like the OECD/FATF reviews, we believe it is about time Cayman starts to receive some credit. We applaud Prime Minster Cameron for making this statement, which reflects the reality of the situation regarding international financial centres. We hope other heads of state emulate his actions, and the international media starts to focus on facts rather than fiction," said Gonzalo Jalles, CEO of Cayman Finance.