According to the Cayman News, Cayman Island’s premier Alden McLaughlin spoke with UK prime minister Theresa May earlier this week to change parts of the constitution relating to the territory’s relationship with Britain.
The discussion follows the UK Government, on 1 May, backing an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
This amendment will force British Overseas Territories to introduce public registers that disclose who owns the assets in companies registered in each jurisdiction.
McLaughlin travelled to London last week to put the Island’s case forward for opposing the register, saying it was constitutional overreaching and “reminiscent of the worst injustices of a bygone era of colonial despotism”.
Having now returned to the Cayman Islands, he said the government needs to enter into a fresh set of constitutional discussions with the UK to “avoid this type of constitutional overreach in future”.
According to Cayman News, McLaughlin said he had raised the issue with May and she agreed officials from both jurisdictions should now enter talks.
“We are striving to have elements of the Constitution clarified and the ability of the UK to legislate for us restricted,” he said.
One major change McLaughlin is proposing is the removal of a section in the constitution that give the UK powers to legislate for overseas territories.
He said this should be replaced with a much-narrower clause that would only allow the UK to make domestic legislation for the UK in very serious circumstances.
“We want to remove that ability for the UK to be able to randomly legislate for us,” he said.
“This matter extends well beyond the issue of beneficial ownership registers or the broader financial services sector.
“If the UK feels emboldened by what it has just done and believes it can do it any time it doesn’t like something here or it wants to impose something on us, it is not just the financial services industry at risk but our very existence,” McLaughlin said.