Government & Politicians

OffshoreAlert’s ‘misconceptions’ about Cayman tax co-operation

Letter to OffshoreAlert's editor from Nev Johnson, Press Officer, Foreign and Commonwealth Office trying to coorect "erroneous" rumours about the Cayman Islands being forced to co-operate with tax investigations. It later transpired that the "rumours" were accurate.

Cayman delegation meets with US officials

A series of recently-concluded talks between the US government and a Cayman government/private sector delegation that began last week in Washington have been termed "extremely beneficial" by Cayman governor John Owen, who headed the delegation.The meetings were designed to "continue to foster good relations with the US government" and to discuss problems of mutual interest, said Owen, who initiated the first series of talks last year.

UK tax initiative in Cayman

Does it exist or doesn't it? That was the question being asked in the Cayman Islands this month after widespread reports that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London sent a directive to Governor John Owen instructing Cayman to pass legislation opening up bank accounts for tax investigations carried out by the world's major countries.

Cayman passes mutual legal assistance law for drug-related offences

The Cayman Islands has introduced another piece of anti-money laundering legislation with the passage this month of the Misuse of Drugs (International Co-operation) Law 1997, which allows foreign countries to apply for legal assistance when investigating drug-related offences.

Bahamas ditches Taiwan for China

The future of Taiwan's economic link with the Bahamas has been jeopardized after the Bahamas broke its eight-year diplomatic relationship with Taiwan in favour of China, the Nassau Guardian reported.The policy shift followed the opening of an $80 million container port in Freeport, in which Hutchison Port Property, a subsidiary of Anglo/Sino firm Hutchison Whampoa, has a 50 per cent stake, reported the Guardian.

David Saul quits as Bermuda’s premier

Bermuda was in shock last week following the sudden resignation of David Saul as Premier after just 19 months in office.Saul caught everyone by surprise by giving only a week's notice that he was stepping down as leader and announcing that he was also quitting as an MP a few days after that.His resignation has caused concern among international businessmen, who fear a leadership battle could affect the economy.

Lynden Pindling quits politics

Sir Lynden Pindling has announced he is stepping down as leader of the opposition Progressive Liberal Party after 32 years, including 25 as Prime Minister, and is also quitting politics following his party's comprehensive defeat in the Bahamas General Election on March 14.Pindling was one of only six PLP MPs to keep hold of their seats as Hubert Ingraham's Free National Movement party won a record 34 of the 40 seats available. The PLP will meet soon to elect a replacement.

Why I was thrown out of Bermuda – by journalist David Marchant

Since Offshore Business News & Research was formed in November, 1996, several clients have asked why the company is based in Miami and not in one of the offshore domiciles it covers, such as Bermuda, the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands. The reason is that OBNR's founder has already been thrown off one island for writing investigative articles about powerful people and there is little doubt in his mind that he would be thrown off others for publishing similar stories. Such a scenario is not a consideration in the United States, where there is genuine freedom of the press and that is why OBNR is located in Miami, which also happens to be a gateway to the Caribbean. Below, Mr. Marchant goes into the circumstances of his forced removal from Bermuda, where he lived and worked from 1990 to 1996. He believes that what happened to him illustrates that, while Bermuda is generally a sophisticated society, occasionally it lives up to the ‘tinpot island' image that it has tried so hard and successfully in recent years to overcome.

Bermuda’s officers and directors given ‘licence for incompetence’

Bermuda's lawyers, a firm of whom recently charged a client $400 for obtaining a $5 copy of someone's will, have surpassed themselves in the area self-preservation through the passage of amendments to The Companies Act 1981.Following the introduction of The Companies Amendment Act 1996, which became law last year, it has become more difficult, if not impossible, for creditors of failed Bermuda-registered companies to sue those who are partly responsible for the failures.

Hearing to decertify Cayman MLA Linford Pierson is adjourned

The hearing to decertify the November 1996 election of Cayman Island Member of Parliament Linford Pierson was today adjourned until April by Grand Court Justice George Harre to allow Pierson to take his place at the opening 1997 session of parliament.

Pindling accused of inciting Bahamas General Election violence

Bahamian opposition leader Sir Lynden Pindling, who all but destroyed his country's international business sector when he was Prime Minister from 1967 to 1992, has been accused of inciting gang members to murder a member of the government in the run up to a General Election on March 14.Housing Minister Chuck Virgill was shot to death just one day after Pindling appeared to incite members of drugs gangs who support him to take violent action against the government.

Cayman’s Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law: Is it for real?

Is the Cayman Islands new ‘Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law' a smoke and mirrors act - as some in rival jurisdictions have indicated - or is it a genuine attempt at deterring money laundering? The answer will only be known the first few times that the Cayman authorities receive requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies in the U. S. and the U. K.

Cable & Wireless sues Bermuda government for breaking monopoly

Cable & Wireless is suing the Bermuda government for breaking its monopoly on international calls by granting a licence to newly-formed rival TeleBermuda International. TeleBermuda plans to begin operating next month and is threatening to slash overseas rates by up to 17 per cent for calls to some countries. Sources in Bermuda say Cable & Wireless have not ruled out the possibility of applying for an injunction to prevent TeleBermuda from offering their service until the legal dispute has been determined by Bermuda Supreme Court.

Sir David Gibbons discusses Bermuda’s economy

Many Bermuda retailers will have to merge to survive, the tourism industry should be remarketed and new premier David Saul's skin colour is not a bar to him winning a general election, according to one of the island's most distinguished business and political figures, Sir David Gibbons.In a wide-ranging interview on the state of the economy and measures that can be taken to improve it, the Bank of Butterfield chairman and former premier said there was evidence that local building projects and international company formations and expansions put on hold because of the referendum were now being reactivated.

Bermuda expects international business boost after David Saul becomes premier

Bermuda's $29 billion-capitalized international business sector looks set for a renewed boom following the emphatic rejection of independence last month and the appointment of a new, business-oriented premier, David Saul.There are already signs that investors in insurance and other areas who had held off until after the referendum result was known are now going ahead with their plans to form on the island.

Bermuda’s National Pensions Scheme may not lead to boom for life insurers

The Bermuda Government's proposed compulsory national pensions scheme for the workforce will not necessarily lead to a boom in the business of life assurance companies on the island, according to one local insurance boss.John Sainsbury, head of Argus Insurance, said, initially, many of the plans are likely to be small and the administrative costs for insurers are likely to be high.

Bermuda lawyers Vaucrosson and Hall sued for alleged unpaid taxes

Lawyers Julian Hall and Charles Vaucrosson are among 12 defendants who are being sued by the Minister of Finance for a total of $1.05 million in unpaid taxes and fees.The government department has started legal action at Supreme Court to recover money it claims it is owed.

Bermuda budget will see relaxation of exchange controls in stages

The likelihood of foreign exchange controls being lifted in their entirety in the Budget on February 14 is considered to be virtually non-existent by Bermuda's financial community. While a complete overhaul of Bermuda's financial regulations may have been the Government's intention as recently as a few months ago, the issue has been turned on its head by talk of independence, according to businessmen.