Doing business with vultures

| 17/05/2012

Hearing news such as that recently revealed about Dart Management collecting over €400million (US$500m) from the Greek government when the people of that country are suffering so much always makes me question the unbridled free market. The fact that any group of investors could make such a killing on the backs of human suffering by being so unscrupulous should be a concern to anyone that has an ounce of compassion. But knowing it is Cayman’s largest investor that’s involved this time also makes it frightening.

The previous Labour government in the UK passed legislation to prevent vulture funds profiteering on old debts of very low income countries in British courts, but this does not apply to new debts of other countries and the practice is not illegal. It surely is, however, immoral.

Dart has often been praised here in the Cayman Islands because of the group’s charitable donations, its investment in infrastructure and the creation of local jobs. At present, many people are looking to the firm to save Cayman from its own economic struggles (and the ever growing Mount Trashmore) with the deal it plans to implement with government.

While there are many who are opposed to the ForCayman Investment Alliance, there is still significant support for the proposed deal, which many people think will boost Cayman’s ailing economy.

However, this recent reminder of how it is that the Dart Group really got rich should give us all pause for thought. Even without the proposed alliance with the Cayman Islands government, the Dart group is estimated to already own somewhere between 20-25% of Grand Cayman’s land mass as well as owning numerous businesses, including a large chunk of our liquor trade.

Given the firm’s propensity to deal in such distasteful financial products that have such a direct and significant negative impact on whole communities of people, I am not as convinced as others that the evidence of some charitable tendencies towards Cayman by the Dart Group could guarantee that this little island would always be treated so kindly.

Vulture investors are groups of people who buy the sovereign debt of countries in trouble cheaply then, by holding out against a write-down, they take the gamble of getting paid out in full. Having paid only a fraction of the value for the debt, when they get full repayment they can make a ginormous profit.

In the past Dart was said to have taken some $600 million from Brazil following its 1993 crisis, and over the last few years various vulture fund investors have targeted some of the world's poorest countries, where the debts were run up, not by the regular people who suffer in the end, but by dictatorial regimes. There is some risk, of course, as some countries simply default on the debt, but the vulture funds will use the courts to seize assets from the countries that owe them money.

This week, rather than risk legal action Greece made a repayment of €436m to the owners of its debt, 90% of which has reportedly gone to Dart, while the country’s social system collapsed and rates of suicide soared. 

While making a profit is not a crime, and it appears to still be what makes the world go round and is the raison d’etre for so many people, it cannot be moral for anyone to make so much money as a result of the direct suffering of their fellow human beings, even if they are thousands of miles away.

Fortunately, despite the claims of the premier, the debt situation in Cayman is nothing like that of Greece or many of the European countries and so far none of our public debt is in the claws of vulture funds. But surely we should be asking ourselves, given the Dart Group’s involvement in this type of profiteering, could Cayman be vulnerable in other ways.

The current administration appears to be placing its hoped for economic recovery in the hands of Dart, and while the group is certainly rich and in a position to help generate jobs, is it really in the interest of the people of the Cayman Islands to become so dependent on one company that has clearly demonstrated how ruthless it can be when it comes to making money.

The world is still a very uncertain place. The crisis in Greece will have a knock-on impact globally, especially if, as is increasingly likely, it leaves the Eurozone. This, together with Portugal’s financial troubles and the news on Thursday of a run on the banks in Spain, makes it appear that the financial troubles around the world are spiralling out of control and likely to continue impacting our own economy negatively.

No one can say with any certainty what the future holds. But given such instability, government’s decision to do business with the vultures in order to insulate Cayman from further economic turmoil looks increasingly unattractive and even a little bit scary.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (118)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The logic and conclusions make no sense. The writer shows a lack of understanding of investment markets. DART contributing to the demise of Greece. pssst. Small talk for small minds.

  2. Anonymous says:

     

    U.S. Sell-Off Sparked by Concerns of Disorderly Greek Exit

    We would have had an orderly exit thanks to the sacrifice of 90% of the debt holders but because of the greed of a few who purchased Greek debt for pennies on the dollar in the secondary market, the world markets are about to tank. 

    "Greed is Good." Gordon Gecko

     

  3. Anonymous says:

     

     

    According to the NY Times "By accumulating the bulk of these bonds at prices that traders estimate to be from 60 to 70 cents on the dollar, Dart stands to make a hefty profit, having received 100 cents on the dollar — an outcome likely to be especially galling to the Greek banks and other local institutions that were forced to take a 75 percent loss on their Greek bond holdings." 

    What are you all missing? Do you think the other banks and institutions that took 75% instead of 100% are not as smart as Dart? No! The others sacrificed to avoid a huge default that would have had devestating effects that would have reverberated throughout the entire world.

    Thanks Wendy, it is very relevant to the people of Cayman to know what type of people are buying up this country.

     

     
  4. considering the choices says:

    At what point do we look past the decisions and choices residents of countries make and relieve them of their responsbility. I feel we are too quick to look at the current moment and forget to look back at the decisions that led to the situation we found ourselves in.

    In Greece: perhaps their decision to join the Euro currency was a bad decision? Or could it be their long history of tax avoidance and living beyond their means as others have said? Of course it could be argued that the the majority of Greek residents don't avoid paying taxes. However if that is true, how many knew of others who avoided taxes and didn't say anything? Is holding a population accountable so wrong when they have actually be active or passive participants in their downfall? And often in the name of greed which is what Dart is often accused of. Is there a double standard to who is allowed to be greedy? Personally I have little sympathy for the Greek situation and if someone can profit from it, than all the power to them. 

    Likewise, when people complain about Darts evolving presence in the Cayman Islands, one must look back and see who sold the land to him. Some he would have bought direct from Caymanians and other from foreigners. Who did the foreigners buy their parcel from? Obviously it was Caymanians at some point in history? They were likley all legal transactions and I even surmise that many sellers made a healthy profit when they sold to Dart. There would have been family members and friends applauding that the sellers for making a healthy profit, and others who would have wished the land was not sold to foreigners. Can it be argued again that greed occured at all levels of these transactiions until the land ended up in Darts ownership?

     

    Don't sell your business to a foreigner. Don't sell your house, property or parcel of land to foreginers. Control your own destiny. Unfortunately greed and circumstance will cause some to sell, and that will destroy my vague utopian theory.

    As it has in virtually every country in the world. Until capitlalism collapses, which it may or may not, this is the system most countries are governed by. Greed is prevalent and only you as an individual can decide how much you want to let it control your life and decisions. 

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Here's the thing: Dart isn't a foreigner. Both Ken and Bob Dart are Caymanians and there is NO WAY on earth you can treat them differently than any other Caymanian and remain a British Overseas Territory. So, your options are this if you want to curtail Dart's ability to buy more real estate, businesses, etc: you can enact laws preventing anyone from owning more than a particular amount of property or businesses, but then it has to be enforced against all Caymanians, including those ultra rich multi-generation Caymanians.  Of course, that's easily skirted by having different family members own properties, but then, the Darts have lots of family members, too. So, preventing people from buying properties can't work. 

      You can say stop selling your properties or businesses, but that will work just like the plan to limited Jamaican domestic helpers – make them all go, just keep mine.  Now that some Caymanians have tasted the ecstasy of gobs of Dart money,  you're not going to stop others from wanting a piece of that pie, too.  

      In the end, it won't be Dart's greed that is Cayman's undoing, but the greed of Caymanians who have willingly sold their birthright for material wealth.

      The old Cayman is lost people. That's our reality. There's nothing we can do to stop it and the truth is, most of the younger generation of Caymanians wouldn't stop itif they could.

       If you can't beat it, join it, or get left behind, bitter and full of hate. The only constant for Cayman going forward will be change and that change can be one of continuing prosperty or one of poverty. I opt for the former. I'd rather have Dart, even if he controls more than I'm comfortable with, then poverty. Come to think of it, a finite number of Caymanian families have always controlled Cayman and combined they probably did less to change the plight of the common man that Dart has by himself.

       

  5. Broken Promises says:

    Wendy: So you probably think you have no obligation to pay your mortgage or credit cards either, right? I mean if the Greeks can borrow money on a propmise to repay it, but in your world they don’t actually have to honour that promise or pay back the money they borrowed, then why would you or any of us have to keep our promises and pay back money we borrow? Would you have us all simply stop paying our mortgages and credit cards, or for that matter stop paying our bills entirely? Last I looked at things, keeping your promises was supposed to be a good thing. Can you please explain to my why Greece gets to live by a different standard than the rest of us? Why do they get to undermine the world’s economy by taking on debt they now don’t want to repay? If we all did that, we’d be in the stone ages. So why them and not us? Why not everyone? Why not re-enter the stone age?

    • Anonymous says:

      You are missing the point.

      • Broken Promises says:

        No, not really. I have this completely clear. If you have a different point YOU want to make, go ahead and say it.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. You are the one missing the point. There is no "free ride".

    • Anonymous says:

      The reality is that Dart did something innovative with Greek debt and was unfashionably successful.  The side-effect did nothing to damage Greek individuals – they were already defaulting on their debt, largely because so much of the population was enjoying entitlements in social programs, and not paying taxes.  Go figure. 

      Mr. Dart did not cause the default, and did not stop the default. He purchased bonds on the market, which I would guess may have been purchased mainly from smaller investors (not sure about that, but it is likely) and if so, then maybe he was paying more to those smaller investors than they would have received in a restructuring settlement. No harm to the people Mr. Dart purchased the bonds from. 

      Harm to Greece or its' citizens?  Yes, Greece was forced to pay on a small amount of their debt just before refusing to pay the rest of it – hardly a wrong done to Greece.  Mr. Dart, or Dart Management, bought up bonds from people who thought they were going to be forced to accept a price even lower that what Mr. Dart offered them (obviously).  Dart Management took considerable risk and were able to position aggregated smaller investments to come out better than larger ownership stakes, which is unusual, but certainly not wrong.  In exchange for helping the smaller bondholders recoup more of their money, and for taking on the risk of not being paid face value on the debt, they were able to enjoy some profit.  Are we really upset that Mr. Dart was able to make some money protecting some smaller investors?  Why? Is it because Greece or the largest investors in the world were unhappy the smaller investors didn't have to lose as much as the largest?

      People, this is not about ethics.  Money is largely a negotiated value, it's not real value — you can negotiate – and Mr. Dart negotiated well.  Nobody was victimized, and the assertion of wrongdoing is ridiculous.

      The risk Mr. Dart takes on to pursue this kind of action is considerable.  Having to sue Argentina, Brazil, and who knows what other countries is not a low risk enterprise.  So if there is anything to accuse Mr. Dart of, it is of being willing to assume considerable risk with large sums of money, as he tries to take over the risk of smaller investors, aggregate them, and make a profit negotiating a separate settlement.

      As for purchasing and developing real estate and businesses in Grand Cayman, it escapes me how a citizen could complain about that, unless Mr. Dart was unsuccessful and was ruining the economy. 

      In contrast, Mr. Dart is employing people, improving entire areas of the island, is contributing responsibly as a corporate citizen, as well as being a citizen along with his family.  How about waiting for Mr. Dart to use his considerable ownership and influence for actually doing something wrong before accusing him of doing something wrong.  Owning a lot of assets in one community is not unethical.

      So if the community want to set a strategic law in place restricting the size of investment from any one party and their related parties can make, it can.  In return there would be fewer other investors making investments, much lower employment or community investment from Mr. Dart, and likely a large stall, possibly permanent, on development and domestic cash flow.  Good thinking, whoever came up with that brilliant idea (that's sarcasm).  Be careful what you wish for.  Grand Cayman is not the only island with a lot of potential.

      If Mr. Dart actually interferes with a smaller entrepreneur, usurping his/her plans with his own simply because he has the wealth and influence to make other people's projects his own, maybe then start complaining about specifics – then more people will listen.

      If I was Mr. Dart, I would not take these attacks personally, and I don't think he needs defending.  He knows he has a lot of support and appreciation on the island.  Just contributing to the conversation.

       

       

       

  6. Anonymous says:

     

    In my book it is immoral not to repay the money you borrow, to lie about your ability to repay the debt when you apply for a loan, to tolerate the corruption of your government, to commit or condone tax evasion and then to whine when your government is no longer able to provide any services.

    And most of all it is immoral to blame everyone but yourself for the mess that you put yourself in.

    Greece should be a lesson to Cayman.

  7. noname says:

         As a Caymanian (Bodden Towner) living and working in Singapore for the past six years. Let me share this with you. For the first two years we leased a condo for S$2500 pcm.+ (First months rent + security deposit = 2 x rent + 71/2% stamp duty). 

     Fourteen months into our two years lease we were told that at the end of the lease the rent would increase to S$4,500 no reason given. 

       We moved out and found a 3 bed terraced house for S$3k.pcm. These types of properties  usually comes without fruniture, fridge, dishes, pots, oven, washer, dryer and very little garden. It's mandatory to pay between SS$100-$300 toward any household repairs. You are also responsible for A/C, pest and garden service. It's not unheard of for tenants to install new kitchens.  

       This year we've decided to look at purchasing a property.  If you care to see how difficult it is for expats to pruchase property in Singapore click on the link. http://www.sla.gov.sg

        Non Singaporians are limited to types of properties they can purchase, for example: detached, terrace, duplex, townhouse and land. You can purchase Condos leased or freehold without any problems.

    My advice to all the expats complaining about Cayman….IS enjoy the ride becasue you have never had it so good!  And you know it!!

    Penny

     

    • Raffael says:

      Yes Penny many here know exactly what it is and exactly what they are doing and how they try to drown people out those who try to speak to these things the only problems is our government encourages it and aids and abets this abuse.

    • truth says:

      My free advice to all Caymanians complaining about everything:  Although it makes you feel better it accomplishes nothing else but giving you all a well deserved reputation for whining and lazyness.  Most expats on Cayman are working hard for their own futures and not complaining while watching Caymanians do the opposite.  Why Dart would still want to help Cayman is the real question on expats minds.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have just condemned Caymanians generally as lazy whiners. My free advice to you is to learn to respect your hosts. The truth is that there are free-loading expats as well as Caymanians and many expats complain all the time about everything although they are obviously better off than where they came from or they would not be here.  

    • Anonymous says:

      You can't even chew gum in Singapore. Their laws allow 12/100 people to own cars to reduce overcrowding on the roads – a certificate just to drive a "Class A" car, for example, is close to $50k (that doesn't take into account your license plate, license, parking, taxes, fuel surcharges or buying the actual car itself).Their public transport is impeccable.  They are the size of Cayman and yet have the busiest port in the world. That being said, most of my friends living in Singapore were brought in by their respective companies and, while their apartment rates are ghastly, their company pays for every dime while employed.  You're comparing apples with oranges, my friend.

      Natives of every country should embrace those willing to contribute to their society and relocate their lives.  Expats do need to show respect for the local people at the same time.  There's a reason you moved from another country and it isn't because you wanted more of the same.  If we can't learn from each other, no one wins and nothing changes. We all need a little change around this here rock.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don't reckon the average Caymanian quite understands what Dart's presence here will inevitably result in unless action is not soon taken to curtail his ability to buy anything. It goes far beyond throwing money at a few parks and an ever growing number of our businesses. Eventually, most people will be either directly or indirectly employed by one or more of his companies and/or have knowledge of someone who is. Having such a hold over the livelihood of so many will inevitably lead to pressure being exerted on the legislature to amend or pass into law – whatever the case might be – that which suits and furthers Dart's will and best interests, the latter being by this point in time the same as so many Caymanians, and others, ofcourse. These will include those laws relating to immigration and the police, freedom of speech, the laws governing eligibility to stand for election, and even, eventually, independence. Dart will to all intents and purpose control the economy and legislature and therefore the whole country. You think this is all so very far fetched? Don't count on it. Wake up Cayman before it's too late.

    • truth says:

      Take out "Dart" and replace with "CIG" and what have you got?  A nation asleep at the wheel.

    • Natural Mystic says:

      Well said, I am so glad to know that someone else can see the Dart group for who they really are and what their goals are for this country and it's people

      And to just to let the Caymanian people know there are laws that can be adopted to STOP him it is just a matter of THE GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTING THEM against him and any other JohnCrow that comes to these Islands expecting us to give up OUR COUNTRY for the $$$$$.  

  9. R.U. Kidden says:

    Holy mackerel, Milton!  Do you really think the very rich pay much income tax in the U.S.?  They pay very, very little.  Haven't you heard of "loopholes"?  Some pay NONE!

    In regards to your last sentence:  Me too!

    • Milton says:

      Actually the top 5% of high income earners paid over 50% of the totaltax paid in the US, so it appears they pay a lot more than "very little",

      But don't let facts get in the way of your imagination

      • Anonymous says:

        How much of the total income is earned by the top 5%? I think you will find it is a lot higher than 50%.  The disparity in wealth between the top 5% and the lower income brackets make that a relatively small fraction of the total.  

        • Anonymous says:

          When one point goes down in flames throw up another red herring.  So you think the wealthy in the US are too wealthy? Well then,  you know who to vote for in the presidential election. If you're not a US voter, why do you care what taxes are in the US?

          • Anonymous says:

            Whether I vote in the U.S. is itself a red herring which is understandable since you could not actually answer my point.

        • Milton says:

          in repsonse to your unrelated rhetorical questions

          The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per­cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax.

          The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent—those below the median income level—now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes

          So the rich pay aver high fraction of the total taxes to their incomce

          source:

          http://american.com/archive/2007/november-december-magazine-contents/guess-who-really-pays-the-taxes

           

           

           

           

  10. Anonymou says:

    If you believe simply giving money will solve the people's problems in Cayman then you are sorely mistaken. Education, parenting, learning right from wrong, developing a work ethic, and learning to take responsiblity for one's behavior, all these lessons for a successful life will not come from a hand out.

    It was the hard work of Caymanian seamen sending money home and the women who ran the households that developed character that has been lost and will not be found with a handout.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who on earth said anything about solving anything in Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      There we go guys, all of Cayman's problems finally solved. Let's send all our men back to sea and leave all the women home to run the households. Does that mean our next gowerment will be Mrs. UDP?

  11. Just me? says:

    I'm sure if you look a little further you would find other "vultures" who are living right here in Cayman – but they wouldn't make such a sensational story, would they?

  12. A paradise lost says:

    That is why he is called a vulture capitalist.  Also, have to love the fact that he renounced his US citizenship to avoid paying taxes on profits earned in the US but has no problem using the US courts to enforce his will.  Dart is a class act all the way. 

    Welcome to Dart Island.  Probably too late to stop him now.  Enjoy.       

    • Milton says:

      He is still paying taxes on money earned in the US, eberyone does. The only way you able to not pay tax on money earned in the US is to prove you are resident and paying taxes in a country with a dual tax treaty with the US.

      I hate it when people try and throw their opinions on you when they do not understand any of the subject they have an opinion on.

      • A paradise lost says:

        If you believe he is paying his fair share of taxes on US profits then you have proven the fact that one does not need be a tourist to have his head buried in the sand on this island.        

  13. noname says:

    How is it that Cayman got all its past and present money again?  And you call him a vulture?  and he might be your ONLY saving grace is pretty ironic don't you think?

    • noname says:

      Yes, some people seem to conveniently forget that Cayman's evolution from a mosquito-infested backwater occurred backin the old days by helping people evade taxes and hide the proceeds of criminal conduct. But let's put the history of several decades ago aside. There still many, many  people making money here in much more distasteful ways than the Dart's gambling on the purchase of sovereign debt.   

      The people agreeing with this op-ed are the same whiners that believe if all expats left the island, Caymanians would just assume those high paying jobs and everything would be rosy.  These people not only don't know a thing about international finance, they don't know a thing about reality because they've been coddled in this Disney World of theirs so long they actually think they're somehow special.  But, hey, every society has it's whiners.

      What troubles me is that this article not only panders to the whiners in the same way that politicians do, it also politicises the Dart issue. Clearly, Wendy sees Dart as a UDP beast, but just because the PPM ignored the Darts for four years while they were in power so they wouldn't upset their right wing fringe, doesn't make Dart UDP.

      Dart is the most important investor this country has ever had. They landscape they've invested in was painted long ago. Where were the protectionists back in the 70s, 80s and 90s when just about the whole of 7 Mile Beach was being developed by people who didn't care one lick about Cayman? Those developers just cared about one thing – money, but that's all the Caymanians who enabled them cared about, too. Those complaining now have nice air conditioned homes, big SUVs, and cushy lives (at least in comparison to Caymanians 50 and more years ago) and now they will be so hypocritical that they will try to bite the hand that feeds them.  

      People talk about wanting to get Cayman's morals back, but they talk out of both sides of their month.  They want their morals back when it comes to the other political party or to paper Caymanians earning a profit, but as long as it's a local  – at least second generation please – conducting distasteful business that is helping them or their kin, it's perfectly acceptable. 

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        If there is one thing I give the PPM govt. credit for it was not allowing themselves to be controlled by Dart. You are right that Dart is not UDP; instead he controls the UDP. But I don't blame Dart. He is in business to make money. If he can control the govt. that will enhance his ability to make money and give him unparalleled power. I blame our greedy politicians and our foolish voters who believe that he is Santa Claus. Those of us thinking we are having a free lunch will get a shock once the screws begin to tighten and we find that despite our votes we are disenfranchised. Unfortunately the rest of us will suffer as well. 

        Sounding a note of caution does make one a whiner or right wing, just sober and sensible.        

      • Anonymous says:

        Many expats came here with/without a university degree and no experience so don't try taking all the credit.  If you stay or go it's for your benefit.  If you all leave, we will survive.

  14. Naya Boy says:

    This Island is now on a steady road to destruction to wit by consolidation of power first and then corruption, its necessary consequence. To all those of you handing over your $@#& to DART and his cronies to keep your little materialistic desires afloat. Enjoy it while it last and don't worry about the suffering of others because just like you and your offspring its not going matter or ever get any better for you nor us the only difference is we won't carry the personal shame or blame for your actions. To all you admiring financial experts who are mesmerized by Darts business prowess like you only thing we leaving this earth with is or dignity and respect the rest stays here and Cayman reputation continues to be degraded no matter how we try to hold it up to the light. Sad part many like you did not help startit and like him are just merely add ons living good and enjoying the benefits off it now.

  15. Verticalpig says:

    Putting aside moral and economic niceties: whoever controls the nation's debt controls the nation. Greece was fattened for slaughter with easy money. Now it's choices are few, either become a province under Germany or 'enjoy', if that's the word, the independence of an indigent.

     

    Are you listening yet Cayman?

     

    West Bay votes run Cayman.  Who runs West Bay?  Who bankrolls them? Who wants to keep the old electoral certainties in place?

     

    Are you listening yet Cayman?

     

    Beware non-Greeks bearing gifts – it gets expensive in the long run.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,  thanks for doing the research and providing us with the opportunity to air this important issue.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am concerned that Wendy does not think it necessary to repay money that has been borrowed. This is a view being put forward by too many people nowadays. It does not matter whether the money is borrowed by an individual or by a country – the time eventually comes when that money has to be repaid.

    If you substitute "debt collector" for vulture fund does that make it easier to understand what happened here?

  18. Anonymous says:

     

     

    When Dart Management, or any single entity is holding a significant amount of CI Government issued bonds, then your post would begin to sound more objective. At this juncture, it sounds more like a rally speech to motivate the town’s folks to throw torches at the home of the “village witch”.

    • Anonymous says:

      ,,,throw torches at the "village witch" is your culture not ours

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure what culture you speak of. However, my experience began at GT Hospital in 1968. 

         

  19. Anonymous says:

    The very glaring point that so many people seem to be missing completely here is that it is simply impossible for Mr. Dart to go to Burger King, (or Grand old House for that matter) enough times for the rest of his life to eat out $500 million dollars. In the meantime hundreds of millions of his fellowmen are living in abject poverty and misery and starvation. Give a little of what you cannot possibly USE for the rest of your life back to the world and the people that gave it to you, Mr Dart. What on God's green earth could there possibly be WRONG with that? What on earth is humanity coming to in the name of the almighty dollar? God Almighty is yet going to sort out the mess this entire world is in because of greed, (the love of money, the root of all evil) and when he does it is not going to pe pretty for a lot of the people that we insist on worshipping today because of their money. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The company earned the money not him alone. Persoanlly I owuld like the oil and medical companies to give up all thier profits first, ExxonMobile earned $52 billion in pretax profits in 2010, puts Darts profits in perspective no?

      I know people hate it when Hard work and risks earn people money, I w ould want to sit around smoking weed all day and want productive people to give me money for free too, but we don't live in a communist country

      Have you thought of moving to Cuba?

       

      • Bling man says:

        Mon you sayin communist country givin you weed and money?  Da be so, I goin.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry to hear you love smoking weed so much. Careful, it'll make you write drivel on CNS.

      • Anonymous says:

        "The company earned the money not him alone" Now THERE's as good an excuse as any I've ever heard. It's called love and caring and compassion for your fellowman, my friend. The very same attributes that got Jesus Christ hung on a cross in our heartless world. God help us. 

    • Anonymous1 says:

      Dart does alot of charity on thier own will,  Parks too, family fun days in every district where you get food and plants for free.  What else do you want him to do? Cloth, shelter and pay you a nice salary too?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok. Where do I need to que.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please re-read my post and decide for yourself whether I am asking Dart to "cloth", shelter and pay me a nice salary. We will all know in time exactly what we are getting "for free" from Dart.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Is Dart doing anything illegal?  If so, we must abhor him and cease doing business with him.  Do we subscribe to UK Prime Minister of the seventies (one of the UK's most useless in recent memory) Edward Heath's view of certain practices as the "unacceptable face of capitalism"? If we agree with Heath we need to decide whether we want to hit the moral high road and abandon Dart. If we believe we need Dart's money, then we should maybe park our UK lefty principles and suck up the fact that capitalism is  pretty awful in many respects but better than the alternatives. Hint: How many people over the last 50 years have been desperately trying to escape capitalistic countries to flee to hard line socialist countries?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for bringing down Mac, but attacking Dart is not the way to go about it.
    This opinion piece conveniently ignores the fact that the FCIA agreement in fact increases the percentage of land owned by the people and decreases the amount owned by Dart.
    Ps. Brazil is doing just fine.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Please can someone write about the nasty bank that expects me to back the loans it gave me. I offered them 20cents on the dollar, but they want all of it back

    I mean just because I spent it all shouldn't mean I should have to pay to back!

    Those banks are all so mean just likebig nasty  Dart!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only do they want all of it back, they want it back plus interest.

  23. HMS says:

    Dear innocent Wendy….your list leaves off JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, UBS, Goldman Sachs and a hundred others. In fact, Goldman Sachs helped Greece hide its real debt through a scam currency swap so that Greece would appear less debt burdened for EU consideration. Making money off of human suffering? Do banks foreclose on homes? Are cars repossed? Will the IRS garnish wages? Are cancer medications still obscenly expensive and pharmaceutical companies fighting generic alternatives? All investment comes with risk…period. In the olddays countries simply declared war on debtor nations. That a man is rich enough to play the international game of high finance is no reason to question his morality. In fact, when the USA hits the debt wall in the future do you think the Chinese will play nice?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Other funds that buy distressed debt are also registered in the Cayman Islands – why do you not name them all, and target your criticism evenly, instead of attacking the only one which is actually reinvesting some of its money back into the country that makes this business model possible?

     

  25. Anonymous says:

    I have no problem with Dart collecting (and profiting!) on the Greek debt. The problem I have is with people who think that it is purely a benevolent act when Dart gives $5 million for people who were (supposedly?) about to lose their homes. Make no mistake, he will also collect and profit from that.

    • Ahem says:

      Please stop….  you clearly don't know what you're talking about, starting with the statement that Dart gave the people $5 million.  That was part of the overall deal he's doing with government. 

    • Libertarian says:

      And he should profit from it. Nobody put a gun to people's head and force them to accept his offers. Dart is just in the business of making more money like everybody else is trying to do. It is for us to learn from him and make more money ourselves. You have to earn wealth and do what you can to increase it in order to survive and to gain those values in life that will make you happy. And Dart can never hoard wealth and keep it to himself – not in a free market. Someone will always benefit from Dart’s fortune. We all can learn and increase our fortunes, but we have laws and regulations here that stifle the market, and prevent fair and free competition. In order for Capitalism to work for the interest of everyone, two conditions are to be met: 

      (1) a Constitution that has excellent direct-democracy provisions, such like, better people initiated referendum provisions therein, the power of the people to recall and remove elected official before general elections, and the limitations of the power of the Governor from interfering with our democracy; and, 

      (2) Less regulations upon businesses and removal of fees that are preventing economic growth and the creation of jobs. For Capitalism to work it must be laissez-faire in the context of a true democracy with no interference whatsoever from outsiders.

      Until then, Dart's advantage is everybody else’s disadvantage in that whilst some will benefit from his fortune, themajority of Caymanians will not have a real chance to excel in the market. The fault is not with Dart but with our local and UK governments, and the anti-business regulations and fiscal policies they uphold. Capitalism is not the real evil here. It is these two Governments we find ourselves locked in between!  And a fresh breed of politicians in the CI and UK governments would not make any difference whatsoever if there is no real radical systematic change. If we continue with no change, the vibrant private sector that we love and benefit so much from will be no more, and eventually the government will only increase in its size, power, and control over the people. When that happens to Cayman, you will only have two options:  fight for your right or take a flight somewhere else to start over again. It will be harder for those who are tied down with loans and mortgages.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    I am no fan of Dart, but you must remember that dart can’t buy debt unless there is a seller of debt.
    So although you think it is morally corrupt for Dart to tack the financial risk in buying the debt and potentially making a profit, none of this would be possible unless Greece agreed to the deal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Congratulations, you missed the point completely. Very well done.

    • Don Quixote says:

      To Sat, 05/19/2012 – 07:38.

      What Dart is doing is as bad as what any Loan Shark or Organized Crime Boss does. They too will help someone financially or otherwise, but none if anything  of what they do should be confused with their compassion, their generosity or other acts of altruism. They do it because of their obsession to control and their love of money. Their generosity is not always what it seems and it comes with an outrageous price.

      Those who in desperation seek help from such persons or groups are in such dire need, that they truly believe they are dealing with people of compassion, especially when they seem to do so much for the community like the building of parks etc. [Which by the way] bear "THEIR NAMES" of course. Doing such things is their way of  impressing upon the community how benevolent they are. Don't believe it!

      I have always thought that anyone who is truly benevolent prefers not to have their names mentioned when performing any act of kindness. Yet we see that so many of our corporate citizens insist upon having their picture in the local paper handing out a check for some measly sum to someone, a group or charitable foundation. This to me is all about a plug for their company and nothing else!  Hand over the check to the charity and if they so choose to! Let them thank you publicly. That's considered altruism! 

      So let us not think that anything Mr. Dart does is done without a hefty price  to be payed! In todays world "we know" nothing comes without a price, but it would be  wonderful if Mr. Dart with his billions would have after hurricane Ivan had rebuilt all the damaged homes that belonged to the 'truly poor" people in the island. That would have  made a greater impression than a measly $5,000,000.00 loan to help bail out those who found themselves behind on their bank payments, and with an attached  caveat /condition  that iMr. Dart will get  something in return that was worth a lot more than the five million. 

      It is not for me to say that what Dart or any other group who take advantage of suffering people is wrong but I can say this! Neither J. Paul Getty nor Howard Hughes took one penny of the billions they had with them when they left this world and I'd venture to say neither will MR. Dart [even if his brain survives] or any of our politicians who, thru their greed and avarice enable him to take advantage of the people of this Island.

       

       

       

       

  27. Anonymous says:

    Wendy Ledger is a hero.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Dart's company did exactly what all the banks do around the world. They give loans plus interest plus other fees and hope that they make a profit , simple.  If Cayman ever wants to get ahead of this game we need to try making new laws to make it better for its residents. Everybody must get the benefit. 

    Lets first believe that any person that lives on this island cannot survive on $5 per hour and live by themselves and pay rent , water,  elect., phone TV and internet. Now what about food and clothes? How stupid does one think one has to be. Yes foreigners come here looking for a better place to create enough money to send back home and survive. But thats not their fault . Its our laws that need changing. How about price control? When I was making $5 per hour in 1980 , rent for a one bedroom apt. was $240 per month and elect. was $40 per month. Why did not the wages go up with the cost of living? Food went up, clothes everything everything besides fresh air and sea water. Now if things were the same as it was back in 1980 then there would be a lot less Caymanians without jobs. The trickle down affect would be so obvious . 

    These are the things we need to change through laws. Stop worrying about Dart. Worry about banks that you do business with everyday. 

  29. TomCayman says:

    Wendy,

    I agree with the poster that recommends we take emotion out of the equation.

    Without getting into a detailed discussion around the why and what of such investments, if we are to agree on any level that free and efficient markets are a positive thing for the global economy, then we must recognise that investors like Dart Management are free to make such investments. Further, the fact that they choose to do so reinforces the efficiency of markets to the benefit of us all (if we subscribe to efficient markets theory and the "unseen hand" as per Adam Smith, founder of the concept of Economics).

    Your Viewpoint injected much personal opinion and emotion to the subject, making judgements as to whether such investments are "right" or "wrong". Beyond that, you then linked that to the investments made by Kenneth Dart in Cayman, linking that judgement of the morality (your word) of their investment in Greece and other distressed sovereign debt to their investments in Cayman. The word that comes to my mind is "tenuous".

    Those are my thoughts. They don't have to be "right" or "wrong", just what comes to mind.

  30. SKEPTICAL says:

    I think that Tim Ridley’s commentary provides a very objective perspective to a situation which has been, for a long time, an accident waiting to happen. Substitute for Dart as an investor/lender, a bank which has loaned you money to buy a house. You fail to maintain your mortgage repayments and the bank determines that your loan is now a risk – they will foreclose and seize your property however sympathetic they may be to your personal circumstances. The Greek economy, based largely on tourism, in a modern industrial World, has always been fragile, and the popularity of the government has been sustained by ludicrously large Public Sector employment, ludiscrously high salaries in that sector, and unsustainable pension benefits – anybody recognize this model Cayman.

  31. Whodatis says:

    Excellent article Wendy.

    Obviously many are opposed to your views but that was to be expected considering the nature of one of our pillars of the economy.

    To each his own I suppose, however, when one considers the reality of other countries in that region it is blatantly obvious that the only thing standing in between them going the way of Greece today is the fact that they still "control" their money – namely the UK.

    (If a country does not control their monetary / banking system then they are simply not a country!)

    Many may consider this a positive point however, when one gains a better understanding of how the monetary system of such countries actually operate they would be well advised to be very worried of what is coming their way.

    Frankly the world we live in is being driven down a treacherous path of ruthlessness, callous disregard and destruction – some refer to it as "unbridled markets" or "free capitalism".

    I only hope those in strongest opposition to your sentiments have absolutely nothing to say  when they are knocked over the head as they exit their luxury vehicles in their paved driveways by the unemployed and hungry thugs that have breached the security of their gated communities in the days to come.

    I have always felt much discomfort in the way in which our society is being bundled in recent years.

    The sentiments that are on display here could not be more juxtaposed to what is the general nature of the culture of our local people.

    Foreign elements – in more ways than one – have truly invaded these shores and are busy working their way into the positions of most influence.

    The end result will inevitably be Cayman turning into the same old metropolitan cesspool that is essentially every major western city / country today. (We all see it happening right before our eyes.)

    Unless of course we all come to our senses and refuse to walk down the path that is so clearly and blatantly littered with bright, flashing signs of "warning".

    Honestly, I sometimes believe that within the community of "highly educated" people are some of the most stupid individuals of all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whodatis can you lend me 10 Grand? obviously I can tell from your views you will never expect me to pay it back and you'll be ok with it

      so show me the money

      • Whodatis says:

        I do notsupport the notion of an entity defaulting on their debts.

        Furthermore, I couldn't care less how Dart or anyone else makes their money … my concern is having such an entity so tightly intertwined in my local economy.

        I hope you see my point and perspective now – granted, you do not haveto agree with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whilst I agree that Cayman is very likely on a path that leads to further downturns in the economy and standards of living for the majority, and we may indeed see greater crime etc down the road,  I disagree that the position of making a profit from distressed debt is "Juxtaposed to …the culture of the local people". In my opinion Caymanians have always been more than ready to turn a profit whenever and wherever they can, whether morally right or wrong.

      Finally, your points might be better received if you avoided the temptation to try and knock the UK at every opportunity. The UK still has AAA status attached to its sovereign debt (so to state it is heading the same way as Greece is silly), and indeed has enacted legislation to prevent excessive profiteering from the debts of distressed companies through its (highly respected) Courts system, so to try and spin them in a bad light within the context of this article is quite wrong.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Agree with your comment about "…the  culture of the local people."  Whodatis, you make it sound as though we would all be living in Uno's Garden without Dart here to spoil our landscape.   The truth is that Caymanians are not a people averse to making a profit, even when it means blighting a view or too and/or bending a few rules.  The "culture of the local people" is hugely dependent on all sorts of products and services that many people around the world consider unethical.  I would be much more impressed if, instead of constantly pointing out what others are doing wrong, you took some time to reveal what you are doing in your own life to stem the materialistic tide of western society.  Unless your life looks significantly different from mine, I don't think you have a leg to stand on.

  32. Libertarian says:

    Looking at the Greece situation, it is really them and their system of laws that are responsible for their economic downturn – not the investors like Dart.

  33. Anonymous until the Election says:

    Bravo Wendy Ledger!!!!! You have had the courage to unveil the unpleasant side to this avoracious Vulture who is nesting here while carrying out its overseas raids.

    This Cayman Vulture appears to have typical vulture traits such as an unsatiable appetite while roosting on top of an ever growing nest, which in this case seems to be comprised of a large chuink of Cayman's best land and businesses.

    Those Caymanians who have no concern for controlling the monopolistic tendancies of this Vulture and instead have taken to feeding and encouraging it to gobble up even more of Cayman's scant resources, should take heed, because, one day it will surely be big enough to bite off all the hands that have fed it.

  34. Anonymous says:

    We should take the emotion out of the debate. If we stop people buying distressed debt and asking to be paid the face amount and the interest due, we risk stopping any lending in the first place (bad outcome). And we risk striking at the very heart of the law of contract (another bad outcome). And we risk impairing liquidity in global capital markets (yet another bad outcome).

    Greece borrowed money from international and domestic investors at much the same low  rates as Germany, thanks to the Euro. The Greek Government was grossly profligate with the monies raised (and encouraged the Greek population to join the party). It then decided it was not going to pay back the money it had borrowed and wasted. Those holding Greek debt had some choices. They could sweat it out and hope that things got better (or risk things getting much worse). Or they could sell the debt to someone else, such a so called "vulture" fund, for cash. The buyer then took the real risk that things would get worse and that Greece might default entirely. As it turns out, Greece decided to pay the debt (to avoid Argentina pariah status and to enable it to get more money out of the EU). Well done Dart Management!

    Some countries such as the UK have enacted legislation that effectively stops distressed funds enforcing their sovereign debt claims in UK courts. There is talk about doing the same elswehere. This is a huge mistake. It interfers with legitmate capital markets and enforcement of legal obligations.

    We can all feel empathy for countries and societies that run into debt difficulties. But the solution is not to take an ill-advised band aid to the symptom; the solution is to deal with the root causes of the problems. Stopping the likes of Dart Management from enforcing its contractual rights is not what this should be all about. It is all about building responsible civil societies that do not live beyond their means, that repay what they borrow and that respect the rule of law.

    Tim Ridley

     

    • TEST THE WATERS! says:

      I love you, Tim Ridley!  Can you just run in 2013 and put us back on the right track?  We need a few good candidates like you with your background, skill and dedication! 

      • john Anonymous says:

        Why would anyone who has worked hard for decades, secured economic independence and healthy enough to enjoy it subject themselves topolitics?  Unfortunately, globally, the pyramid  has been turned upside-down and far too many of the ignorant are driving political decisions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank God for Tim Ridley for restoring sense to to this topic. Reading all the other ignorant- of- Greece's -profligacy bleeding heart anti Dart stuff was truly depressing.

        • Anonymous says:

          So who suffers.  To be sure the leaders of Greece have been profligate and the voters kept them in power. It is the global view however that those leaders did not disclose the issues nad voters had no reasons to suspect them.

          The debt 'forgiveness' schemes allow a COUNTRY – ie all its people – releif from the poverty that  results from making good on the commitments made by their (at best) incompetent and (at worst) criminally fraudulent leaders and which they patently cannot afford.

          Sovereign Vulture Funds act to profit from those situations and the extra money paid to them si a direct impost ion the (largely innocent) poor of the country concerned.

          Tim is right – this left greece with the option of default and 'pariah' status … and that is the wrong here. Forgiveness schemes are economically equivalent to default. If a country is forced into default becasue of the greenmail of a vulture fund then it is the vulture fund that deseerves the pariah label.

          That is why the UK on this occasion mya just have got it right and become one of the first developed nations to prevent the heaping of more misery on the poor of less well off nations for the benefit of their own richest. Ironic really given the UK's colonial history of exploitation but there it is.

          Vulture funds have a role to play in the efficiency of capital markets but we need to make a distinction between them acting in the Corporate world and the Sovereign Debt world – you just can't equate losses borne by a shareholder in ACme Inc to the losses  tot he pouplation of a whole country.

    • Lawsten Found says:

      Thanks for the explanation, Mr. Ridley.  I didn't know what profligate meant so I looked it up in my pocket dictionary.  It said, "Like Big Mac".  What does a hamburger have to do with Greece?

  35. Anonymous says:

    When our turn comes. Same scenario, same ending. Argentina first now Greece. Who’s next ?

  36. Anonymous says:

    The signs are written on the Big white wall, but our Elected Government is blind to the fact.  This is the MO of the Dart Group. Cayman is so entrapped by him already, its like they think this is the ONLY way out.  They have lost their FAITH in GOD and gain their belief in Dart.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have put your faith in your blind leadership.  Much like Greece Cayman has squandered and continues to throw away its capital to the point where a man like Dart or some Bank has let you borrow money just to stay afloat.  Its easy to see Cayman follow blindly in Greeces footsteps and Dart bailing them out for the price.  And impossible to see Cayman saving itself from itself by itself.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Wendy – The big difference in our case is that Dart has INVESTED his wealth HERE.

    • Anonymous also says:

      He invested his wealth in Greece debt also.  The question is how and when will he exact "payment in full" from us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please explain what portion of wealth he has really invested. I suspect that Cayman represents a cheap bolt-hole.

      • Anonymous says:

        if you cannot understand the difference between dart investments in Cayman, where he has built caymana bay (jobs, poured concrete etc)  and buying greek debt, then it makes no sense in continuingthis converstation with you.

      • The Spin Cycle says:

        Correction. Invested his money in Cayman to achieve (buy) citizenship. The same way he tried the process in Belize by investing and then requested being made the Belizean Ambassador (with diplomatic immunity) to the U.S. Where the IRS was hot on his trail. And perhaps still is. Cayman is a cover and money can buy almost anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a good point, why be a vulture where you live, doesn't make sense. The future for Cayman however is definately to be under the banner of Dart. It (these islands) will be a privately owned and run corporation and whatever soul it had left will be done and done. may take a while but do you see this company stopping? A nice letter to the people of Cayman, I will no longer buy land, businesses and resources.

      Not going to happen

  38. Anon says:

    Wendy, as someone who knew Greece fairly well before the Euro came along all I can observe is that the Greeks screwed themselves. If DART can cash in on their stupidity so what?

    The Greek people are suffering because the country took on a committment to a unified monetary system then, like at least two other financially-troubled members of this unholy alliance, happily carried on as normal. At first they were able to merrily cash in on the new-found benefits but, like when you max out your credit cards without any idea how you can pay it back, eventually the gravy train ground to a shuddering halt and the creditors came calling.  

    The current crisis in Greece has been caused by a simple unwillingness of people to live within their means coupled with a willingness to spend money that wasn't their's. Behind this is a culture of tax avoidance and a government system unable (or simply unwilling) to tackle it.

    They even messed up their tourist industry by using the Euro as an excuse (in the same way as Spain did) to jack up prices. Greece and Spain ceased to be a cheap tourist destinations about the same time restaurants started charging 3Euros for a cup of coffee that used to cost a fraction of that amount.

    Ironically, this is all exactly what Euro-sceptics like myself expected and what at least one US financial commentator (who observed the Euro made as much sense as linking the US dollar with the Mexican peso) predicted.      

  39. Anonymous says:

    Does Cayman need to be careful relying on one particular group or person…yes absolutely – doesn't matter if that is Dart, Darth Vader or the Easter Bunny. Unfortunately other than this point the rest is dreadfully short sighted.

    This painting of debt collection as some huge injustice is pathetic. If countries wriggle out of paying their debts (debts they incurred to provide an unrealistically high standard of life for their citizens) then what's to stop them issuing more debt in full expectation of not paying and keeping the difference? At what level do you think a defaulting country, that manages to avoid final payment on its debt, will refinance? 20%, 30%, 40% per annum? The capital markets work on predictability, if you start changing the rules of the game once its started you hurt the market's ability to work efficiently and the next country that wants to make a debt issue, hasn't squandered its money and fully intends to repay its debt  will suffer higher pricing due to other participants avoiding their creditors. That would be really fair, perhaps the next article can rail against banks being able to foreclose on properties due to unpaid mortgages so the next time I look to finance a property I have to put down 90% deposit and pay 15% a year interest.

    The Greeks along with a number of other nationalities have become used to a government subsidised lifestyle this is the rude awakening….nobody want to plant the corn everybody want to raid the barn….

    If there is charity, support or forgiveness to be given at this level let the Governments of the world work out who is deserving and deserving of what. 

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Does Cayman really need the charity of money earned in such unscrupulous ways?   This is how we have been living so good for so long we help move the monies and get a payout.If there is suffering in the world Cayman is making money from it. This is the new Cayman there is no going back. 345 says know where your standard of living comes from and when you finally do smile and enjoy our standard because we have a good one. Our hands mite be dirty but our hearts are clean. 

  40. Anonymous says:

    "The current administration appears to be placing its hoped for economic recovery in the hands of Dart, and while the group is certainly rich and in a position to help generate jobs, is it really in the interest of the people of the Cayman Islands to become so dependent on one company that has clearly demonstrated how ruthless it can be when it comes to making money".

    Thank you, CNS! You have summed up my thoughts – and I believe the thoughts of most thinking Caymanians – in this one paragraph. 

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Wendy for such an honest, brave, and intelligent analysis of the huge elephant in the room. 

     

    Does Cayman really need the charity of money earned in such unscrupulous ways? We benefit directly at the expense of the most vulnerable Greeks and before them Argentines via Dart's vulture funds.  

     

    I admit that Cayman is slightly different from these other countries since Dart has chosen this as one of the places his family shall live and where he wants to leave a legacy (which is rapidly going from two thumbs up TO a  very dark day in the pages of Cayman history/ future embarasement for Dart e.g. closing WB road and putting the dump in the Central Mangrove Wetlands) – however we should still be very weary of someone who conducts business with such low ethical standards – having so much power in our islands. As more and more of his money is tied up here, and as he expects to make returns on it, the generosity I believe will start to give way to his bottom line. 

  42. Youclid says:

    Since when were bonds issued by a western capitalist democracy considered “distasteful financial products”? This is nothing but knee jerk populist drivel written by someone who obviously knows next to nothing about international finance. Since our banks and pension funds may have offloaded risk that DART was willing to take on by selling on these bonds, we might not know how much any of us have benefitted from the presence of such market participants.

  43. Anonymous G says:

    Already own somewhere between 20-25% of Grand Cayman’s land mass???  Which lands are that?  I would really like to know

  44. john Anonymous says:

    Wendy I want to thank you for this article and the opportunity to comment. I have a different view of these types of investments. Elected members of parliament in all countries must stop placing their countries in these positions. Politicians seem to think that they can spend without regard for the consequences; vulture funds are the consequence of egotistical elected members who choose to spend without regard for the future and drive their countries into bankruptcy. Just as I must pay my loans so too must governments or face the consequences.

    Why should people of means bailout governments to the tune of billions for free? Vulture funds must be seen as the deterrent to egos elected to parliament.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you.  Empathy aside, this is my angle too.  Rather than pointing the finger at Dart the real responsibility lies with the politicians who got them into this financial mess.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Dart shouldn't be admonished for making a strategic bet that Greece would live up to its outstanding debt. Greece is not a poor nation with no alternatives, they are simply a nation that has overextended itself because of its social policies and now must pay the Piper. Sure it causes some pain, but what's the alternative, allow them to shirk the debt and go back to living beyond their means until the next time this happens? Someone has to hold governments accountable. Being the bad guy is never fun, but sometimes it's necessary.

  46. Anonymous says:

    This was a financial investment and nothing more.  It is no more or less moral than buying a loaf of bread.  The profit Dart made did not come from the Greek people, it came from the seller of the debt who sold it for less than it was worth.  Dart took an enormous risk which paid off.  Would it have been equally immoral if Greece had defaulted and Dart lost their shirt? 

  47. Anonymous says:

    We all already know your views are left-wing, but this piece certainly confirms it. Since when are the governments of Brazil and Greece the good guys? Should people not buy the debt of poor countries? Is that somehow good for the poor countries? On the other hand Dart certainly has spent a lot of money in Cayman. Would you propose that they unload their investment? Is that good for Cayman? No sensible person claims that Dart is in Cayman for philanthropic purposes, but have they not created permanent value on the island? All of their deals appear to open and aboveboard. They do not succeed in all of their proposals (ie the dock.) So far as it is reported, they follow all the government rules and procedures (the government may not, but Dart does.) What would you rather have? Imparato? Ryan? The Chinese? What?

  48. DanDan says:

    Amen to that! It's like we're sitting on Satan's verandah and refusing to engage him in any way, lol. We are so screwed on so many levels it really is scary.

    1. Our highest elected official is pretty much useless and refuses to man up about anything he's done wrong;

    2. Our police service is not only useless but wastes most of the countrys' money on foolishness that reaps no benefits to the general public;

    3. The other elected officials have no morals or backbone to speak of;

    4. Hundreds of people are jobless and have resorted to desperate measures to feed thier families;

    5. The powers that be are selling our heritage and island to the highest bidding vulture;

    6. The hope I once had that my beautiful Cayman Islands would succeed even with the odds so stacked against us has been diminished to a paltry snippet.

    I still have faith though that maybe, just maybe, someone with enough tenacity, courage and goodwill will come forth and do what so many of us are afraid to do and that is to stand up and speak out against all of the injustices we are being subjected to as humans, caymanians and residents of Earth.

    Who will it be, who will stand up and fight the good fight?

    Love and Peace to all,

    DanDan

    • Power of the People says:

      I agree with your statements but wonder if you have not been paying attention…people ARE standing up and speaking out. That is how we have arrived at this turning point in the country. A handful got sick and tired of the status quo and began a revolution. It is building steam.

      They are challenging EVERYTHING that was and should be no more. The UDP, and particularly McKeeva, are not used to this brazen generation of voters and citizens – hence their inability to manage the own public image. He has never had to answer to anyone and it is a situation that has heretofore been unheard of.

      Caymanians are finally realizing that we have the POWER. It was a long time coming, but better late than never.

      Question EVERYTHING. Demand answers, expect results. And if you cannot get it to the temperature of your liking, change it!

      The VOTERS have the power. Many voices move big mountains. The big bad politicians will cower at the thundering of the people's wishes. Now is the time to stand. Now is the time to change. Now is the time to be heard!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for your challenge to stand up and fight!

      That is exactly what is occurring in my Islands, “The Islands Time Forgot” as the travel writers used to call us back in the 1950’s. 

      Well we are now trying to standing up, and when we do begin to whisper, to actually utter a few words what do the XXXX minions call us:

       

      1. At the Caymanian Compass they call us “CAVEs” – “Caymanians Against Virtually Everything”. 

       

      1. XXXX calls us “Destructive” when we try to protect and preserve our roads, national parks, communities, economy, corruption and way of life from destruction by Mega Developer Dart. 

       

      Those of us involved in the various groups fighting to protect and preserve our Islands invest our time, energy, effort and much of our own money, we fight against formidable foes who have power, money, politrix and the twisted laws to protect their evil ways and will stop at no low down tactics to get what they greedily want. 

      We on the other hand have the might of conviction and love for our Cayman Islands knowing that we are fightingfor what is right for the future of our grandchildren.

      XXXXX we know that you would never understand the strength that comes from knowing that when a person fights for what is right you are also up against formidable foes.

      XXXX you may win a battle or two but the WAR FOR RIGHT AGAINST EVIL goes on.  

      We have a dream for the day when…..

  49. Truth says:

    "Cayman Islands to become so dependent on one company that has clearly demonstrated how ruthless it can be when it comes to making money."  Pretty ironic coming from a country That has made its mark on the world by helping tax cheats and money launderings.  Good thing Caymans hands are clean and its heart is pure Bushit.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right it is ironic.

      But tell me these large countries that we are supposed to be cheating. Do you ever think that they could repay the Caribbean people back what has been taken from us?

      Not a chance and yet poor you.

      The amusing thing is that there is a document posted further down for discussion that says that the Cayman islands is the most open country or the most honest of the "tax cheats empire".

      PS it is you guys that are writing the rules. You write them then we comply then you write more and we comply. You cant satisfy.

    • TennisAce says:

      I was hoping that someone would call BS on this opinion piece.  Companies are in the business of making money.  The Cayman Islands was set up specifically for that purpose.  Aid and abet like minded people to make money. Greece and many other countries are suffering as a result of poor economic management.  When you turn your country  into a welfare state, what exactly do you expect to happen. 

      In Jamaica in the 1970s, the PNP regime experiemented with socialism and communism.  That was a failure and they took a country that was in credit and turned it into the debt ridden nation that it has become.  Do you think the PNP government learned from that experience. Oh no, do you know what they are now doing?  Not having learned from the debacle that was the mortgage crisis in the United States which caused banks like JP Morgan, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to fail, they are now plannign on offering mortgages to those who not only cannot afford it, but who have poor credit to begin with.  That is a recipe for disaster. 

      The US is still trying to recover from the mortage crisis under the Bush Administration.  Greece and many European countries have finally figured out that at the end of the day, people have to live within their means.  Dart is doing, and will continue to do the business for which it was set up. and that is to make money for its shareholders.  

      I do agree with the opinion writer in relation to the moral issue, but the last time I looked corporations are not human beings and the people who run them are next to heartless in some cases.  For me what needs to happen is that Caymanians need to decide just how much of their country they are willing to sell, because at the end of the day it is Caymanians who hold the future of this country in their hands. 

      • Anonymous says:

        "Dart..will continue to do the business for which it was set up…make money for its shareholders".  Clearly this is not the case in all of the areas in which the company is involved.  Camana Bay is not intended to be a money maker for many years, if ever, as senior executives have stated in a number of interviews.  Bernard Passman?  I doubt it.  Big Daddys/ Blackbeards?  Selling alcohol when you almost have a monopoly?  Maybe.  Island Companies?  Questionable.  Caribbean Canvas Company?  Hardly.  But does their ownership of these businesses and their involvement in others prevent the proper functioning of the market in Cayman when they are also involved in the supply chain and the real estate these businesses operate out of?  These businesses will not be allowed to publicly fail, despite the obvious poor management of some of them, because Dart needs to project an image locally as a successful investor and benevolent developer.  For the large number of (largely expat) employees involved in this side of their business this is not a bad thing, but for young Caymanian entrepreneurs wanting to get into these areas of business, the problems of competing against bottomless pockets mean that these markets have been closed.  IF Dart were making money for its shareholders across all its businesses and these businesses were living within their own means then this would be a fully valid point, but they are being supported by a company which is generating its profits through benefitting from the misfortune of others and at the same time restricting the ability of capable young Caymanian entrepreneurs to go into business in their own country.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's the rules of your own country that allows the tax cheats.  Don't blame us for your loop holes.

      • noname says:

        Then don't blame Dart.  Or is this another intitlement thing?  Wait! I just answered my own question.