Caymanians welcome Obama

| 06/11/2008

(CNS): Despite an element of uncertainty about how President-elect Barack Obama’s policies will impact offshore financial service centres such as the Cayman Islands, many people here were still openly delighted at his historic win. CNS asked a few well-known locals for their reaction and most agreed that it certainly was a significant moment in the history of American politics and a tribute to real democracy.

Rolston Anglin, opposition MLA for West Bay, said that we have all lived to see a monumental event. “The election of Barack Obama is a real marker for our lifetime and a truly significant event for our generation and I am not going to taint that with issues relating to our local politics,” he said. “This was the essence of democracy and an incredible transformationin the last forty years of American history. I sincerely doubt we would have seen this happen anytime soon in any of the other G8 countries.”

Aware of the issues that have been raised about how an Obama administration could undermine Cayman’s position, Anglin said that discussion was for another time, but in any eventuality it is the duty of the Cayman government to properly engage whoever is in the White House to make Cayman’s case.

Osborne Bodden, MLA for Bodden Town, speaking from a personal perspective and not for the PPM described Obama as a class act who preaches a great message of hope and is very inspirational.

“Obama has the US people believing they can achieve whatever they want as long as they work hard and together,” he said. “It’s also a great day for minorities and a historical moment for the world. It has blurred the difference between black and white forever. When you’re good, you’re just good, regardless of race or origin. He will surround himself with good smart people and he will be a great president!”

Bodden added that he hoped he would get the message that Cayman can be an asset to the US rather than a hindrance, and that we adhere to our international obligations and treaties.

Local political activist Sandra Catron said she was absolutely delighted with the news and told CNS that even though she is not American she still felt privileged to be living at this time and seeing a black man elected to the presidency. “I think it is fantastic, and while it is the first time that someone from a minority group in the US has made it to the White House, it goes way beyond minority issues, it goes to the heart of democracy. While the US has been trying to push democracy all over the world, here we are seeing it actually happening in America itself.”

Former chair of the Cayman Island Monetary Authority (CIMA) and offshore finance expert Tim Ridley said it was still early days to identify the implications for Cayman of Obama’s victory, but with Cayman entering another round of troubled waters with threats from the UK, the EU and the USA, it was a fact that Obama has supported legislation that will, if enacted, seriously and adversely impact the legitimate use of offshore centres such as Cayman by US corporations, citizens and residents.

Ridley however, said that Cayman’s troubles were not necessarily related in particular to Obama and he raised concerns that our own government needed to enter into the right agreements with the OECD countries and enact the necessary legislation locally as well as engage lobbyists in Washington, London and Brussels to help them get the message out. “The government also needs as a matter of urgency to work with the private sector to agree changes to our domestic legislation to significantly expand the transparency with respect to Cayman vehicles. And the two need to start thinking about the implications of the expanded EUSD for Cayman,” Ridley noted.

He also suggested that Obama may well be sympathetic to arguments that US policy should not be to bully small Caribbean countries such as Cayman and to deprive them of the right to a livelihood. “Consigning Cayman and other small countries to poverty once again is not something he should support. But the argument needs to be made to him forcibly,” Ridley added.

CNS also made attempts to solicit an opinion from the Cayman Island government on the election result however, so far no one has responded to the requests.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did a PPM MLA just say "When you’re good, you’re just good, regardless of race or origin" after several years of his party actively pursuing a xenophobic, racist and homophobic agenda? Nice hypocrisy.

  2. Sarah W. says:

    Caymanians should feel elated for his win.  In regards to his policies on overseas financial territories such as the Cayman Islands, I would have to say as a president looking out for the interest of his country that is the best thing he can do. Why should these big shot tycoons make their money off the American people and not invest back into their country. They should pay taxes and help their economy thrive. I hope Obama puts it to them and everyone who is hiding their money in offshore banks. I have only one question to all the Caymanians who may disagree……Do you see the benefit of the trillions of dollars that supposedly comes through here? We are still suffrering and being privately taxed in undercover ways by our own government! YES I SAID IT!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians are about to learn just how welcoming a socialist is going to be for you and just how elated everyone will be.

      Taxes have never helped any economy thrive, but have always thwarted it in the
      long run. This notion of taxes being some kind of “investment” into a country is simply flawed thinking. Its not an investment, it a necessary *evil* therefore should be
      kept at a strict minimum or it will and always will be abused as we can see in these
      plethora of idiotic bailouts and stimulous packages that do nothing more than hand crumbs out to people.