Cayman imposes new sanctions against Russia


Cayman leaders-with-Ukraine-flag

The Cayman Islands is supporting the international effort to cut off funding for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine after the Russian army invaded the Eastern European country one week ago. In a statement about the situation, Governor Martyn Roper said this included banning aircraft owned or operated by anyone connected with Russia or registered in Russia.

Roper said that Cayman was backing the full range of UK sanctions imposed against the regime, its oligarchs and various entities.

“We are supporting in Cayman in the only way we can through the swift and effective imposition of sanctions against those who wage war against democratic neighbours,” he said.

Premier Wayne Panton has said that these sanctions are automatically implemented in the Cayman Islands and the only action the government needs to take is to ensure that service providers in this jurisdiction who are doing business with the people and entities who have been sanctioned cease that business and freeze the Russian assets that are held here.

Panton said that Russian-owned aircraft, commercial vessels and superyachts are on the registers here and so the jurisdiction will have a part to play in upholding the sanctions. He said it was not something that Cayman is taking lightly, and as a responsible player, “we must support the sanctions”.

While Panton said the sanctions will have a specific impact on the financial services sector, the biggest issue will be in relation to inflation, especially fuel prices. He said that Cayman needs to get away from its dependence on diesel, given that price volatility will increase the cost of living.

Panton said the government was trying to change things, pointing to the National Energy Policy, which calls for Cayman to have reduced its dependence on fossil fuels by 70% by 2037, which is just 15 years away.

But he also claimed there was little that this jurisdiction can do about energy costs in the short term. OfReg has some tools it could deploy, he said without explaining what these are. To date, in its more than four-year history, OfReg has never made any move to address prices at the pump.

Panton warned that Cayman will feel the impact of the global situation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that the government has to think more about what it can do to address the inflation that it will cause.

He said that he wanted to introduce a delay on local bank interest rate increases here, following an increase in the US, which is what usually triggers an immediate change here. He spoke of rolling out a three-month delay to give people here a chance to adjust to an increase in their loans and mortgages.

In his statement about the unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the governor said Russia was an international pariah and the global community was standing against Putin’s regime in solidarity with Ukraine.

While sanctions may prove to be difficult for everyone, Roper said the Russian government’s attempt to conquer an independent state by force of arms is an attack on the security and freedom of Europe, but it goes much further than that.

The Cayman Islands has joined the UK Overseas Territories in hoisting the Ukrainian flag, to fly alongside the Union Jack and the Cayman Islands National Flag at the Government Administration Building (GAB) on Elgin Avenue. The Ukrainian flag will fly daily until Commonwealth Day on 14 March.