Tax deals too little too late, says Bush

| 20/03/2009

(CNS): Although government now has some 15 Tax Information Exchange deals in place, the leader of the opposition has questioned why so few have been signed in the last four years. Yesterday, government announced it had completed agreements with another seven European countries, including Germany, to add to the existing deals signed with the Nordic group and the US. This means Cayman has now met the OECD standard, which states that 12 deals would qualify a country as transparent.

McKeeva Bush said Cayman made an advanced commitment to the OECD several years ago on tax matters but that he has seen no evidence that the government had implemented any of the measures it promised.

"The BVI and other competing jurisdictions have signed several Tax Information Exchange Agreements. And yet the PPM has sat idly by for years as our competitors come good on their various international commitments, exposing Cayman to the risk of being blacklisted again. They are only now trying to play catch-up in preparation for the general elections. But the reason that the pressure is so severe on this country in relation to financial services matters is directly because the government has done next to nothing over the past 4 years,” he said in a statement. 

Bush said that he had written to Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson (whose portfolio, rather than Alden McLaughlin’s ministry, as is sometimes perceived, is actually in charge of the Financial Services Sector) expressing his concern over the lack of progress on the Cayman Islands commitments to the OECD.

He has also accused the government of attempts to ‘step into the limelight’ on what he described as a last-minute scramble on the recent initiative taken by the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association to address the looming international challenges to the financial services industry.

“I have written to the government asking for clarification on what has been done and to better understand why we are now in this position,” Bush added.  “The government campaigned on the basis of accountability, and they should now explain to the public why they have waited until the very last minute to address these very important matters. We are talking about an industry that employs thousands of Caymanians and generates at least 30 percent of all government revenues. This neglect is shameful.”

The leader of the opposition praised the private sector move tolead the country’s international promotional and lobbying efforts and said nothing of its delay in making a concerted effort to respond to the crisis. “I am very pleased to see the private sector taking action at a time when the international challenges to a key economic sector are so severe. But clearly the private sector was forced to act in such an urgent manner because the industry has been neglected by the PPM administration for years,” Bush added.

He said that while the PPM has rushed to push through a number of bills recently relating to the financial services industry, the government has been heavily criticised in many quarters of the sector and at times by the local media for its handling of the international challenges to the industry.  Representatives within the financial services sector argued at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon earlier this year that lobbyists for the financial services sector either were not in key places, such as Washington or London, or they were not effective. 

“During my term, we felt that our financial services industry needed official support on the ground in those key locations.  Our role as government was to be a facilitator. If the industry felt that Asia, for example, was a key market opportunity, it became our duty to ask what how we could better facilitate their efforts.  That is how we operated. Over the past four years, we have witnessed a government that has ignored the financial services industry until the eleventh hour.”

Bush says he adopted an aggressive international relations and lobbying strategy during his previous term as leader of government business and he said a business cannot run properly without promotion. “So how can you take that approach with an entire industry that supports the livelihoods of Caymanians?” he asked. “The government must be held accountable for allowing such a poor state of affairs in our financial services industry,” said Bush. 

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  1. Read the Hansards says:

    The is from Big Mac’s contirbution on Monday September 23, 2003

    4. The financial industry was in a state of confusion. That ‘have pen will sign policy’ had resulted in business dissipation. Companies had moved and others were planning to do so to other territories. Thousand of jobs were threatened. International pressure was being asserted on the Islands to accept policies, which were designed to impinge the growth of the financial industry on which policies were not being put in place by those seeking to impose the same upon the country. Yet, you will hear them say: ‘McKeeva, he don’t know what he is doing—you don’t see that he wants to fight the United Kingdom now?’ I will stand against their policy of intrusion on our financial industry until the people kick me out. Because they say one thing out of one corner of their mouth and do another thing! They forced us into what? This ‘know your customer’, where me, you and everybody had to go and do what? Carry every piece of documentation to the bank which we had been dealing with for years to say ‘this is who I am’. Only to be told by the United Kingdom that they are not going to do the same thing because it is just too much trouble for them and it is going to cost them too much. So, you want me to roll over for them? Well you can do that, but not me. If you want to say that I am dealing rough with them you have not seen anything yet, because there is more to come if they are going to continue down that road.
  2. Only For Caymanians says:

    The Big Mac Propaganda should not be fooling the people of Cayman Islands anymore. We need to put stop the the  Honorable.. ? McKeeva Bush Career in his  Unwanted types of Governing the Cayman Islands.

     All the Propaganda he spreads infront of election times is Incredibile and Unbelievable.

    The PPM (Poor People Mistake) nor the UDP (Unwanted Dictating Politians) is desired to run the Government anymore, and Caymanians should now realise that this Election is Very much needed and that this is Our Time to clean up this mess that we are into by "voting in a different more honest, transparent,dependable, accountably, representing and good governing people to run this Country".

     We do not have anyone presently in the Government, that can run a Government much less run the Cayman Islands, and now its Our time to clean slate and turn a new page on this senario and endevour to get people in Government that can "Run a Government". Not McKeeva Bush nor Kurt Tibbetts and their comrades, they are "Incapable".

    Only For Caymanians

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dexter… Nomination day is Wednesday…I expect to see you there. Put your money where your mouth is. You seem to have alot of good ideas, so why not run for representative.Float your ideas, if they are good ones, the people will follow you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wake up  Caymanians. The economy is a WORLD WIDE PROBLEM, and naturally Cayman will suffer. For a lot of reasons, try cutting your travel cost down, its always been shameful the cost of your air fare, not to mention hotels etc. What really do you have to offer tourists to see etc, for the cost of their trips there. I hear so many coming back saying to me,  since they know I am A TRUE BORN CAYMANIAN as you so often refer to. That place is so EXPENSIVE, the cost of a burger, coke is outrageious. How do the people affordto live there? I always try to give good reasons, being the true at heart Caymanian I am.

     Now I keep reading the discrimination on the GAYS. I  ask myself Is this the same CAYMAN I grew up in? When I return I see so many religions and churches there I really cannot believe what I read is coming from Cayman. Are GAYS not GODS CHILDREN ALSO?  There was and always will be BORN CAYMAN GAYS, so why act as if they have a plaque or something. Surely you are speaking of your own ISLAND BORN, as  a GAY is a GAY no matter the nationality. Wake up CAYMANIANS its the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY, PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM CONTINUE TO LIVE IN THE CLOSET as they did in the past, and each one be true to yourself and ADMIT CAYMAN HAS HAD,  AND ALWAYS WILL HAVE THEIR OWN GAYS. There is a lot of WORSE  faults , than being GAY. Put your Christianity where your mouth is and work on the DRUG PROBLEMS , and POOR HUNGRY population etc would be REAL.

    Thanks for your space and I do hope and pray as a concerned Caymanian living in Fla, CAYMANIANS will get over their phobia on GAYS. I also hope the ecconomy will not affect  the Island too much, and ELECTION  day the people will  vote for the BEST INTELLIGENT canidate and not those that buy your votes with free items etc and REMEMBER the PAST and what the ISLAND  received in MACS adminstration as far as Cayman being known as a corrupt  place etc,  in most  of the WORLD. And being forced to live by one person ideas is a first step to Communism.


  5. Dexter Rivers says:

    Ms. Elizabeth Nigel you really write a lot of bull.

    And don’t you give me that My child nonsense. I am not a child and I know who my parents are!

    You have no idea of what the PPM did or or failed to do. But you probably know more than Mac! As he only relys on what the discarded JLP rejects from Jamaica tell his sorry self. He don’t listen to the Captain that is for sure. He hasn’t said two words in the last 8 years!

    And if it makes you feel any better, I do have a beach side house. My wife and I built this with our own money and borrwed funds, not illegal money or money from covert activty, or money from selling poor Caymanians down the drain as some other imminent Caymanians have done. And would have continued to if the George Town people were not as smart as they are and changed the UDP Government. Amen for George Towners!

    Oh by the way, I don’t need you to tell me that I will not be able to retire in Cayman. I have said that too many times.

    And read this very carefully as I am writing this slowly just for you.

    We do not need handouts or refirgertors or stoves or blood money to help pay our bills. We know how to do without basic items that people like you would not even think of doing without just for a day.

    The PPM may not be the saviours of our country, but you have not heard of any corruption and out right stealing for the last four years. All we have heard is BIg Mac squealing about how tough things are. It is always tough when he is not in control.
    The PPM very professionally handled a big mess that the FORMER UDP Minister of Tourism and now Lean and Trim Leader of the Opposition, and the former UDP Minister of Housing and Women Affairs left this country in. If the PPM followed that kind of blue print you would not have time to write messages.

    We do not need Mac back as leader of this country. He should retire and watch his weight. To use the words of one of his former colleagues, when he leads we go backwards, but not as far back as the voters go!.

    I say what I mean and I stand by what I say and I can use my correct name.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dexter ,you have just proven that you are a product of our failed education system. I hope PPM hires some consultatnts to help you. I will pray for you tonight.

      • Anonymous says:

        Whoa…..just a minute…..pray for Dexter?  Pray for forgiveness for your ‘poison pen’.  I am SO tired of reading such hateful comments.  

          I attended high school with Dexter & I  certainly do not consider myself a product of a failed education system…I am also a graduate of he University of London (England).  I no longer reside in Cayman because of the lack of educational  opportunities for my deaf child. 

        Caymanians, we need to stop bashing ourselves & vote together for the good of our country.  Do not vote for any one who has failed in the past, regardless of Party.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac, this is why this district is so special…West Bayer can debate the issues, wake up in the morning and go on with their lives…We can debate spiritedly, sometimes rudely, but at election day, everyone can choose who they want…Yeah Democracy with a Big D! GO UDP!!!!!!

    • UDP says:

      We would have no idea if they were stealing or of any corruption because they won’t give us the financial reports! Wonder what they are really hiding!!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:


    Mckeeva demonstrates much stronger economic leadership than Mr Tibbets. that is what we ned now. no leader is perfect (and I personally going to still support Kurt in these upcoming elections)

    but right now we need someone who understands how to get the economy moving again when we face an economic crisis. not someone who will sit around and be afraid to make a decision. its not a personal thing. Its just that mckeeeva has the type of experience, focus and character that works for these times we are in. And that is why he speaks out on issues relating to the economy so often. 

    • Anonymous says:

      "Mckeeva demonstrates much stronger economic leadership than Mr Tibbets"

      Oh really?! How does he do that? By grandstanding and reading some cue cards come election time?

  7. Anonymous says:

    the ppm can take credit al they want. but they have to explain why this is being done just 2 months before a major g20 meeting in which cayman’s fututre will decided on partially becasue they have not done anything for so many years.

    how much business have we lost as a result of not putting in place legisatlion until in the last few days for example?

    doing it in preparation for an election is not the same as doing it to protect our economy for the long term.

  8. Elizabeth Nigel says:

    He DIDN’T wait 4 years to advise THIS government about this matter. He had already made agreements with the OECD and left an outlined plan for PPM to follow and act upon. However PPM disregarded this because of their own egos and as a point to show Mac who was boss. Well……guess what???? It backfired and now it is the country that is paying the price for the PPM’s vindictive, petty attitude!

    And as far as Mac needing to "stop making a crisis out of nothing", my child…YOU need to WAKE UP because this is a very serious CRISIS! This is not just locally but globally and you need to understand that immediately! I believe it is YOUR attitude in this detrimental situation that makes you "uneducated and ignorant." Too bad you don’t have a "beach side condo" you can retire to and you know what… probably won’t ever have one if the PPM stays in power!

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the most SERIOUS THREAT to Cayman to-date. If Cayman is blacklisted it will be Cayman’s end. WAKE UP!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva I don’t think you mean the people of Cayman or these Islands any good.  The reason I say this is because if you did as being the opposition you would give ideas that would better the these Islands not just sit down and critisize.  Since last election that is all you have done…….

    • Elizabeth Nigel says:

      You need to check your facts………..ideas, solutions, plans have been given in many situations but PPM disregarded and cast them aside!

  10. Dexter Rivers says:

    McKeeva needs to stop makinga crisis out of nothing and then putting himself in charge to give the impression that he who knows so much about what needs to be done.

    If he genuinely wated to help,why is he just 61 days before the General Election, advising the Government to sign Tax Treaties. If he was such a smart cookie and cared about this country’s financial welfare (as much as he cares about his), why did he wait four years to tell the PPM they needed to sign these treaties.

    He only know what his handlers and the Doom and Gloom Society are telling him. And he does what Cracko Maco does best: Creates A National Crisis out of nothing so that he can be in charge of the Crisis. Mangement by Crsisis is not what Cayman needs. This kind of Management does not work. Making Yourself look good by Making others look Bad is not Proactive Management. It only impress the uneducated and ignorant but it is NOT PROACTIVE. If he had the foresight he claims, why would he wait for 4 years before he jumps on a matter as important as the integrity of our financial system?

    The answer is that he knows how to create a crisis and manage by crisis. This is not going to work any more. It worked for 16 years but we want proactive manangement. This is something above you skill level. It is time for you to retire to a beach side condo.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dexter is a joke!

      How can you say that Mac is making a crisis out of nothing? – if the Cayman Islands is black listed we will all suffer in Cayman. If you woke up you would recall that Mac has been calling the PPM out of bar rooms for years trying to get them to pay attention to the economy, both locally and internationally (in so much as they are mutually exclusive).

      UDP all the way!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dexter is absolutely right. If Mac was knowledegable about the issue and concerned about our future and foresaw all of this as he claims why did he wait until two months before an election to be making these statements?! He is only grandstanding. Only the lemmings will be impressed. 

        "He has also accused the government of attempts to ‘step into the limelight’".

        This is classic Mac. Whatever he is guilty of he accuses his opponent of. Would the govt. of the country who by all accounts has been extremely active on various fronts need to ‘step into the limelight’, or would an opposition leader looking for campaign issues feel the need to on the eve of an election?    

        • Anonymous says:

          Dexter is Absolutely right!

          Talk about ignorance; how can the current global and domestic financial crisis be "nothing" as Dexter suggested? Tell that to the 1200 Caymanians currently without a job!

          You all must live in a cave or on a reef or something, but here in the real world (or everwhere except where you all live) people are hurting and the PPM has done jack all to help. Mac has been telling PPM for ages to straighten up, and you all need to stop being crabs and stand behind someone that can solve the problems and stop looking turtle meat.


          vote UDP!

      • Anonymous says:

        he wasn’t in the bar rooms too drinking and playing dominoes with them?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac Attack! Cayman better realise if it wants to stay in the Global Financial Markets it is in desperate need of a leader willing to make the difficult and often unpopular decisions to maintain Cayman’s position as a legitimate offshore financial center rather than an illegitimate tax haven. Big Mac’s the man to get this done…so long as its not already too late…

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry Dex, we luv anyways, regadless a of yur igganance. your voice is just as good  and big as anybody daalin. Soory PPM got to ya tho. But its OK you a BAYA, and we luv ya still.