Cayman eyes Gulf wealth

| 23/07/2009

(CNS):The Cayman Islands Investment Bureau will be opening an office in Dubai by the end of the year, the leader of government business revealed on Thursday. Promising to revive the bureau as a source of inward foreign investment, McKeeva Bush said that offices in Hong Kong and in London would soon be re-opened as well. He also revealed that John Papesh, who has more than 15 years international marketing experience, would head up the new Middle East office.

Bush said that during his previous administration, the CIIB had established an office in Hong Kong as part of a long term view to attract investment to Cayman from the Far East, and he had made plans to open the next office in Dubai. He said the previous administration had been negligent in not pursuing the opportunities through investment offices and had failed to place Cayman in a position to benefit from the investment changes that were taking place in the Gulf States.

“As a member of the Gulf CorporationCouncil (GCC) countries, Dubai, also part of the United Arab Emirates, presents tremendous investment potential for our Islands,” Bush stated. He said the countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — had all benefited tremendously from high oil prices and in recent years had experienced a broad-based economic boom.

According to recent studies, even with low oil prices these states were still very wealthy with 39% of the world‘s oil exports. He noted that the countries were politically stable and the economic boom had created surplus for investment. Bush said that in recent years, high net worth individuals from these countries had changed their investment habits from the 1970s and today there was a switch from public sector to private sector being the engine of growth. Increasingly they were investing in things like tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agriculture and real estate and Cayman should have been benefitting from this. he said.

The LoGB said, however, with Papesh heading up the new bureau he was confident Cayman could begin to attract some of the region’s surplus investment tour shores. Aside from his extensive experience in finance and international marketing, he had many contacts in the Arab Emirates.

“Currently managing director of Pharos Financial Group – an American hedge fund and financial advisory group – Mr Papesh has also been a strategic marketing consultant for international real estate developers and investment trusts, including the Ritz Carlton, and Kerzner and Capella Hotels & Resorts,” Bush added. He noted too that Papesh spent ten years with Dart Management Ltd. and Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd., his final position being vice-president of marketing and public affairs as well as running the charitable arm of the Dart Foundation in the Cayman Islands. Bush noted that his government would also be exploring the possibility of offices in China and Japan.

Asked about the cost of the offices, he said the one in Dubai would cost around US$9-11,000 per month and where possible the CI government would aim to share office space. He said salaries would not be a problem as staff would be working on commission so it would be self sustaining. Comparing it to initiatives by the previous administration, he said it should give more of a return than what was brought with the boxing. “It’s about making money,” he said. “While Nero fiddled and Rome burned, other countries became successful,” he said alluding to the previous governments decision to close down the Hong Kong office and not pursue the initiative anywhere else overseas.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Business

Comments (20)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    OK….teachers and other govt. entity employees have been advised of pay cuts to their salaries yet Govt. has up to 11,000USD per month for a dubai office?????   

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does it really matter how or why McKeeva chose John for this post??  There couldn’t be a better person for the position, coupled with the fact that he already resides there.  Let it rest.

  3. anonymous says:

    "Too much harm is already being done to Cayman’s economy and our financial services reputation by reason of second-raters getting jobs because of their passport rather than their talent."  You are so right…..I know of many from the United Kingdom, Canada & America who are getting jobs here because of their passport!! Give me a break Mr/Mrs Expat… know there are many of you living it up in Cayman with little or no talent just because you have the right friends or come from the right places! At least if there are Caymanians getting the same benefit they are in their own Country!!

  4. Soc-rat-ese says:

    "Soc-rat: I think the "content" in the post was implicit – that the moaners on these boards about perceived hurdles and lack of opportnuities have nothing to moan about."

    OK, I think I can see that interpretation.  Thanks. I agree that there are a lot of opportunities here for Caymanians that simply don’t exist for people off-Island.  I do have to say that in my view that is the way that it should be.  Expats (like me) want to come and borrow a bit of the Island for a while to try life in the Caribbean, and as the price of admission we ought to contribute to bringing our hosts into the game.  I do agree that there should not be much to complain about in that relationship, since we all win.

  5. Nonnie Mouse says:

    Soc-rat: I think the "content" in the post was implicit – that the moaners on these boards about perceived hurdles and lack of opportnuities have nothing to moan about.

  6. Soc-rat-ese says:

    "I have rarely, if ever, met a Caymanian in the offshore industry who has acheived less success in Cayman than someone with their abilties would expect had they been working in an onshore market.  I have met quite a few who have done better, some considerably so."

    I am not sure that there is a lot of content to what you are saying.  This is the natural result of job protectionism in a microscopic economic environment.  

    You are saying that a Caymanian will do better here than a comparably-talented person would back in London or New York.  With no disrespect to the many talented Caymanians here, for the sake of discussion let’s say this one had little talent.  They would be crushed in New York, but would get slotted in somewhere here because they hold the right passport while they get trained by the temporary help to be successful.  Your statement becomes true by virtue of the immigration/labour policies of the Islands (and it is not a bad policy to be certain!!!), but not by the a characteristic of the person. It would be a sad day if a Caymanian enjoyed greater success in off-shore finance in London or New York than they could here.  That, I think, would define a failure of government policy.

    • Anon says:

      Outstanding idea!  I beleive it is a wise move to hire a sought after executive marketer like Papesh. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nationality is a moot point

    John Papesh was granted irrevocable Caymanian Status in the great status giveaway of 2003

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would think John is highly qualified…don’t forget he was Dart’s right hand man for a long time and Dart takes his hiring very seriously for the front office. Forget the entitlement process – I agree with the poster, 2 below – Cayman can’t afford to hire a second rate person for over there just because they are Caymanian.

  9. Wise Up says:

    I have rarely, if ever, met a Caymanian in the offshore industry who has acheived less success in Cayman than someone with their abilties would expect had they been working in an onshore market.  I have met quite a few who have done better, some considerably so.

  10. Anonymous says:


    I understand the comments re caymanians and whwther this waa advertised but we soemtimes have to take these things case by case. In this case, john papesh is being byu commissions ONLY. Secondly, i understand that he is basically living there now so there is no additional accomodation expense.

    Realistically, do we really beleive that we could have found a Caymanian that could work in that context? (i.e. one that already lives there, has marketing/sales experience, understands development/investments, and does NOT need a base salary as part of the deal)

    We must protect our people and afford them the opportunities where possible, but lets drop this over protection approach that protects even in cases where it harms us, because it will not help the country overall.

  11. Anonymous says:

    He is probably being paid a commission on the size of the investment he attracts to the country which sounds reasonable. right now it looks like Cayman needs some inward investment to help us out of this mess and seeems like a decent idea. Doing it by commission keeps the cost low to the government.

  12. DJones says:

    From all the cars left in the Dubai airport lots-abandoned and the constrution of buildings that have stopped , I dont think Dubai will be all that profitable. 



  13. Anonymous says:

    I am tired of all this "Why not a Caymanian" entitlement tosh.  Presumably they picked the best person they thought was available for the job.  That should be good enough.  Too much harm is already being done to Cayman’s economy and our financial services reputation by reason of second-raters getting jobs because of their passport rather than their talent.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dont forget while you are at it Mack, that Bin Laden also needs a safe place to hide his money and that should place us right back in the doldrums from which we are trying to re-emerge.

  15. Anonymous says:


    Is Cayman now a time-share scheme requiring Cayman’s representative to receive commissions???? 

    Will inward investors be told that the government representatives that they are dealing with will get a percentage of whatever they invest? Will kick-backs be available?

    How was this contract awarded?  What transactions will produce commissions and at what rate? A contract providing for commissions is still a contract providing for an expenditure of public monies no matter how it is disguised. On that basis it should have been tendered and should be completely transparent. 

    I wonder if this commission based agreement will be posted on a government web site any time soon or if it has been placed out of reach of FOI requests. Anyone care to guess?

    Hopefully this agreement is at least consistent with Cayman’s obligations under the UN Convention on Corruption.

  16. Hmmm.... says:

    Now the big question is, given that Julianna is so worried about our children being taught by a Muslim and her obvious abhorence of non-Christians (putting Hindus in the same category as Satanists, etc), is she going to stick to her principles and resign from Cabinet in protest or is she going to hide under a yashmak and let the country do business with the infidels? Bets anyone?

    Do Mac’s new business associates know that one of his government colleagues hates them?

  17. Anonymous says:

    "He also revealed that John Papesh who has more than 15 years international marketing experience would head up the new Middle East office."

    Why is it that some posts don’t require the standard application process and people are just hand-picked and plunked down into them. Not that the application process guarantees the best candidate for the job, either, because, oh, my, goodness…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Just how exactly does Mr Bush envision the representative in UAE’s salary being paid through commissions?

    What are they selling?

    Is the representative not there to usher business towards Cayman and a more diplomatic role?

    This sounds very suspicious.

    Further more, why has this job not been advertised and why is a Caymanian not heading the Cayman office in Dubai?






    • Anonymous says:

      What does all of this mean anyway? 

      Inward Investment Bureaus (like the CI Investment Bureau) were good ideas of their time for countries that had no developed private sector structures to attract and sustain inward investment and had depressed economies and/or crushing poverty and limited foreign exchange.  They were very popular in post-colonial Africa and Caribbean (and for those of you travelling BA) you will have likely have seen adverts for the Welsh Development Board which has survived and continue to promote inward investment into Wales. 

      Is Cayman in the same kind of situation, or is likely to be in that situation soon?  If so, then why "roll-over" and why is the working population dominated by work permit holders already?

      So what really are these new initiatives to re-open London, Honk Kong and Dubai "investment bureau offices/representatives" and what does the CI Investment Board do anyway?  Perhaps it runs "courses" for small businesses (a function easily sustained by the likes of UCCI) run ads in overseas magazines, arrange and attend overseas "conferences" and promote the formation of domestic capital through its "angels network".

      Really though, the CI Investment Bureau are a "dressing" for these overseas offices that are like overseas travel agencies for travelling Ministers who use it for their personal gains (paid travel, real estate plunder, for example) and for their Politicial Party members and hangers-ons to do the same.  But of course they also help the likes of Camana Bay to fill up its empty shops and condos under construction.  Less we forgot, the Ritz has a similar need.  Hmnnn. we wonder how many Party members have real estate contracts and any other linkages here.

      Alas, the fog begins to clear…  we must spend money (which McKeeva says we dont have) to bring in investment to displace more Caymanians, drive up the price of land to displace more Caymanians,and, of course fatten the coffers of the UDP so that it can sustain it ‘hand-out" schemes and win elections.  But then,  I probably got it wrong again!!