Marlene has an impressive range of experience and expertise both locally and internationally, which informs her Of Counsel role at Etienne Blake, where she is engaged primarily in civil advisory work with a particular focus on regulatory compliance and enforcement. Marlene assists private and institutional clients in their interactions with various government agencies in the Cayman Islands financial services sector and is also available to consult with other jurisdictions on developing capacity to meet the evolving international standards for the exchange of tax and other regulatory information.
Marlene has practiced for many years in the Cayman Islands both at the public and private Bar, during which time she established a reputation as a well-respected advocate. Following her appointment as Deputy Director of the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority, now the Department for International Tax Cooperation, Marlene has specialised in international tax law. In this role, Marlene was part of a multi-agency team responsible for negotiating and advising the Cayman Islands Government and its Ministry for Financial Services on the initial Foreign Accounts Transaction Compliance Act (“FATCA”) negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom, while also working to ensure that the Cayman Islands met its obligations under other international tax exchange agreements.
Marlene has represented the OECD as a country assessor in the assessment of the legal, regulatory, banking and operational frameworks of other jurisdictions, notably Singapore and Lebanon, for compliance with international tax transparency standards. She has also delivered numerous presentations on the Cayman Islands regulatory environment, including lectures for the University of Alabama School of Law and the Texas A&M University School of Law, and is the co-author of the Cayman Islands chapter in the LexisNexis Guide to FATCA and CRS (“Common Reporting Standard Compliance”).
Marlene was first called to the Bar in Trinidad and Tobago in 1994, following which she worked in that jurisdiction in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in-house at Petrotrin (the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago) and as Senior Legal Office in the Ministry of National Security. Marlene also practiced in the Turks and Caicos Islands before joining the Attorney General’s Chambers in the Cayman Islands. As Crown Counsel, Marlene was, amongst other responsibilities, assigned the prosecution of serious indictable matters and white collar crime before all levels of the Courts in the Cayman Islands and played an instrumental role in the establishment of the first International Cooperation Unit of the Cayman Islands Government Legal Department. Marlene also practiced at the private Bar in the Cayman Islands, during which time she was a Senior Associate with another Cayman Islands law firm, before returning to the public sector with the Tax Information Authority.
In 2013 Marlene was appointed as an Acting Puisne Judge in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and sat in the Civil Court in St. Lucia. In 2014, Marlene’s elevation to the Bench of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court was made permanent and she was assigned to the Federation of St. Kitts (“St. Christopher”) and Nevis as the Resident Judge on the St. Christopher Circuit, a position that she held until August 2016. During this assignment, Marlene presided over and determined all matters in the civil, matrimonial and criminal divisions in that jurisdiction and also served as Duty Judge in Anguilla. In April 2017, Marlene was appointed as a Judge of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands to sit as and when required by that Court in its General Division and, since March 2017, she has also served as the Chairperson of the Labour Appeals Tribunal.