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Cayman Islands Governor Says UK Visit Was 'Profile-Raising'

Caymannetnews

21 December 2000


This story is reproduced by kind permission of Caymannetnews at http://www.caymannetnews.com

Presenting a clearer image of life in the Cayman Islands to UK leaders, as well as reiterating the Government's position on key international financial initiatives, were the achievements of a recent overseas trip by His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Peter Smith.

"It was a profile-raising exercise," he said of the two days in London. "The networking was really quite helpful, and I'm sure the persons I spoke with will pass on the good things that they heard."

While in London on November 29 - 30, the Governor met a former colleague, Mr. Joseph Halligan, who heads the Treasury Department's international initiatives. The Governor reassured him that the Executive Council (ExCo) agreed to operate in the established framework regarding the Organisation for Economic and Co-operative Development (OECD), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and the KPMG report. "I expressed to Mr. Halligan that our objective is to secure, within that framework, the best interests of the Cayman Islands as a financial centre," Mr. Smith said.

He noted that he asked Ms Jennifer Dilbert, who has taken up her post as the Islands' Government Representative in London, to participate in that meeting because of her finance background. "We now have a Caymanian in London who is sharp, knows her stuff, and is very proactive," the Governor emphasised. "That is definitely an asset. She is a valuable resource and we should make maximum use of her office."

Mr. Smith then attended a briefing luncheon with Conservative leaders of the House of Commons, including persons representing the All-Party Group and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which met here in August.

Baroness Rawlings, who is the Opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs in the House of Lords - and who is the counterpart to Baroness Scotland, the Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories - was also present.

"Overall, they wanted to know more about the Cayman Islands generally and the offshore business specifically," the Governor said. "Those who knew about Cayman were well informed, but those who were less aware are now much better clued-up. They feel it's good that we are being more pro-active about the positive things that are happening here."

His next official visit was tea with Baroness Scotland, during which he briefed her on the new Government, the way forward and his initial impressions. "She and I get on very well after her visit here in August," Mr. Smith noted. "During that visit, she met the Members of the Legislative Assembly, including Mr. Kurt Tibbetts. In fact, on November 24, she sent a telegram asking me to pass a congratulatory message to him following his election as Leader of Government Business."

That message read: "May I send you my and Her Majesty's Government's congratulations on your victory in the Cayman Islands General Election. I look forward to working with you in the spirit of partnership set out in the 1999 'White Paper on the Overseas Territories', to promote the good governance and prosperity of the Cayman Islands. The people of the Cayman Islands deserve no less."

The Governor and Baroness Scotland discussed women's issues, because of her "manifest enjoyment" of her Women's Resource Centre visit. "I confirmed that the new Minister of Women's Affairs, the Hon. Edna Moyle, was equally as focused on those matters," he said.

Mr. Smith then met Lord Wallace, the Liberal Democratic spokesman of Foreign Affairs in the House of Lords. "He has a natural interest in politics and the constitutionalism of the Overseas Territories, as befits a Reader in International Relations at the London School of Economics. We had a marvellous conversation," the Governor remarked.

Mr. Smith also talked with staff in the Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) representative's offices, discussing internal and administrative matters. Following that, he and his wife, Mrs. Suzanne Smith, attended the annual CIG London reception.

"It was an absolutely outstanding effort this year," he said. "There was a good cross-section of people - a number of European bankers flew in because they know Ms Dilbert from her work with the Basle Committee and Deutsche Bank in Cayman."

Ms Dilbert also invited to the reception around 20 Caymanian students who are pursuing UK education in various disciplines. The effect, the Governor explained, was that the foreign guests spoke with persons who knew Cayman intimately in diverse spheres.

On the whole, Mr. Smith said the tour was very beneficial in promoting Cayman's position on various fronts. He thanked Ms Dilbert and her staff for co-ordinating the trip, which would normally be arranged through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. "For such a short visit, the results far exceeded my expectations," he said.

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