Levin bill could slash Cayman business, says Bush

| 06/03/2009

(CNS): The publication of US Senator Carl Levin’s proposed Stop Tax Haven Abuse bill could spell a severe contraction of the offshore business in the Cayman Islands, Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush has warned. The UDP leader said that it could be reduced by more than 30%, which would be a serious blow to the local economy. “Given the global economic crisis and the fact that our local economic growth has been in decline over the past four 4 years, the potential impact of the bill is catastrophic,” Bush stated.

With the crisis mounting and a government delegation in Washington attempting to plead the case, the opposition leader took to the radio waves yesterday to warn Cayman that this could have a potentially devastating affect. Speaking on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme, the opposition leader said that, while the Cayman Islands does not encourage tax evasion, the bill’s intention is to discourage the legitimate use of the types of offshore company structures that are offered in the Cayman Islands.

While no official studies have been carried out on the potential impact, which he said was one of areas where the government has failed, he said, “We could easily lose as much as 30 percent of our existing business and possibly a lot more.”

Bush said that the PPM government had taken their eye off the ball on this issue and they should have noted the signs back in 2006 when the bill was first drafted. “The government’s failure to adequately monitor international developments pertaining to the financial services industry is part of the reason we are on the back foot on this issue today,” he added. “If the government had a properly functioning secretariat, it could have carried out a considered analysis in conjunction with the local financial services industry.”

He said with more information the government would have been in a position to create a strategy to deal with the issue and assess the potential impacton our local economy. Their failure to monitor and assess international developments means that the government is now ill prepared. Bush also accused government of not listening to the industry even though concerns were being expressed by a number of professionals from the sector over the last eighteen months. “Unfortunately, lack of consultation and involvement of the industry has been a hallmark of this administration,” he added.

With Cayman facing a very real and present danger, the leader of the opposition said there were certain things that could be done to address the situation and he said it was time to consider repealing the Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law. He said Cayman needed to enter into Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the G20 countries, improve its lobbying in Washington, and above all it was time to seek new opportunities and develop new business areas within the industry.

“This is no time to be sleeping at the wheel and gambling with the lives of our citizens,” Bush added. “This country needs a better way forward for the protection and development of our financial services industry.”

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  1. What Are We Good For? says:

    Whoever posted  "As to what the UK has done for Cayman, you can turn that question around" made an important point regardless of the subsequent xenophobic commentary by someone who still uses the word "Dude".

    Cayman needs to prove what benefits its system and the offshore system generally give to the UK, the rest of the EU and the US.  If it can’t displace the perception of harm then these major economies have every right to protect their interests.   If the interests of the UK as a whole clash with the interests of a small territory with a citizenry the equivalent of a small town, thenthe UK should take steps to protect its interests.  

    Cayman, the burden is on us to show what good we do, not the rest of the world to prove any harm.

    Independence might be one answer – it would close down almost all the financial services almost overnight.

    • Only aCaymanian says:

      What Are We Good For? I think your name here raises a very important question. And you have raised some very important points of view. It all seems to show that the "Dude" guy does not seem to be on a very sensible track and perhaps more so seems to be one of the "Dude Guys" influenced by  the "Honorable ?" Ministers, like the leader of opposition who has "Just Now"  found the "Quick Fix" for our Economy and the Unemployeed in the Cayman Islands just before the Elections.

      This will only be used for Political Campaign to win the Dude Guys back into the Blindfold that they the "Honorable Ministers and Representatives ?"  have to Represent and run  their kind of Government in our Beautiful Cayman Islands. There is No One in the present Government capable of running a Government and will never be able to

      Irrespective of what ever the UK, the EU and the US do with respect to our Financial Services, which might just be wrecked again because of our Government doing the "Wrong Things" in our Financial Services.  We (Our Government) caused it all to happen.

      having looked at all the failings of our Government….  I sure the Caymanians  will wake up and see the Wrong doings  by the Government  and REPLACE all that is there  to find a solution for our  problems.


        ONLY A  Caymanian  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why did McKeeva not say something in 2006 if he really cares.

    Why wait  for 3 years  and just 2 months before the General Election before showing how much of a genius he really is and how he can solve all problems. Were you stuffed into a bottle.

    Get real Big Mac. Caymanians do not want you back in charge of the Government.

  3. Richard Wadd says:

    WHEN are our so-called "LEADERS" going to "GROW SOME BALLS"??

    I have warned the successful Buisnessman of these islands repeatedly over the years of the consequences of thier FAILURE to get directly involved in the POLITICS (Government) of these islands that we call home. Sad to say, my words are comming to pass.

    The ‘Running of a Country’ IS a Business. It should therefore be run by persons who can sucessfully run one. Take any other approach and it WILL fail.

    Unfortunately, our Government is run by people who are either INCAPABLE of running sucessful business, or have proven to be underhanded in their methods.

    The Cayman Islands has 40,000 people, and a provenly effective Financial Regulatory System. There have been several ‘Investigations’ and ‘Analysis’ over the years of our Financial Sector, ALL with the intention of ‘smeering’ our reputation as an Offshore Financial Centre, ALL have failed !!

    Yet the US, with over 300 million people, has in the last few years had several MAJOR financial scandals, including the ‘MADOFF’ scandal, which was operated at the HIGHEST level of the US Financial Sector for almost 40 years !!

    Lets not even start with ENRON, Stanford, and the current World Financial Crisis, ALL of which happened in the US, not some ‘Off-shore’ Tax-haven.

    We NEED to stand-up and tell the mis-led US people WHO realy is to blame for their recession, the Congressional Regulators, who have FAILED to do thier jobs. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN YARD, before you complain about ours.

  4. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva always get out there rediculing the other sides and shooting all the blame on other people. Well yes lets take a good look at the McKeeva Bush times of running the Government and that will give us the right ideas about Mr. Bush.

     Ladies and Gentlemen, we are just about at the bottom of the pit with this totally irresponsible Government and we need a Change in Government.

    Let us Not be carried away with all the retoric that Mr. Bush is putting out here again in the beginning of this Campaign for the Gold that will be  dug in this election for a new Government.

    We will Not acheave no more betterment by having Mr. Big Mac up and selected to ruinthe Cayman Islands anymore than he ever did to carry us deeper in trouble  and cause hardships to be placed on poor Caymanians

     The Money Laundering is a Profession that the Cayman Islands Government has created and now we are to be held  "Responsible" for all and it is because of the Geniouses that we have in the Government   that drives us to this limit.

     In a nut shell here, Kurt Tibbetts, McKeeva Bush, Alden McLaughlin, Charles Clifford, Arden McLean, Anthony Eden, Rolston Anglin, Cline Glidden and all the rest must be replaced and with another group of people that can run a country and be  a better Government.

     Vote all in Government now, OUT and lets turn a new page for the Cayman Islands…. God knows  We need a New Government.

  5. Anonymous says:

    After seeing years of entitlement-lead bullying of foreigners in Cayman, I love the irony of the reactions in sections such as this of some of the louder barrels in the local population to the realisation of the relative impotence and political irrelevance of Cayman on a world stage.   As the phrase seems to be "that is one piece of thought".

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can people stop referring to the UK as England and calling Gordon Brown English.

    Gordon Brown is Scottish, and a proud Scot at that.  He is not from England and is the Prime Minister of the entire United Kingdom.  Not just England.

    As to what the UK has done for Cayman, you can turn that question around.

    • Anonymous says:

      "As to what the UK has done for Cayman, you can turn that question around".

      Hardly a parent should ask of a child. But in answer, we have employed some otherwise unemployables for you.

      • Anonymous says:

        "Hardly a parent should ask of a child. But in answer, we have employed some otherwise unemployables for you."

        And what does that say about Cayman?  If Cayman is the child then she shouldn’t be keeping secrets from the parents.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dude, if you are so upset about the whole thing, take your Kilt and leave. I am sure lots of other Scottish people with the right personality/ attitude would love to come to our shore. (Despite our imperfections). After all…….is that not why you came…..to enjoy life in relative safety and prosperity????……….

          Let’s not forget a few things;

          The UK approves all of our laws prior to them taking effect. So what…….we are the bad guys now???

          Have you tried opening an account in a local bank vs. opening one in the USA? If I am lucky I will have an account within 3 to 5 days here in Cayman, as opposed to 15 to 30 minuets in the US!!

          While the Americans were the original architects of this financial crisis (through the housing scheme), the UK followed suite only because like the rest of the world, they were blinded by greed and the continuing lack of accountability (be it in the private banks and financial centers, the House of Parliment or even Capital Hill).

          Now that they have been exposed, they are employing the old smoke and mirror trick to say we are the bad guys…….I respectfully say BULL CRAP!!!!

          All of that aside, if you evaluate the situation from a macro level, the fact is that as a result of savings earned by individuals and corporations from Tax Havens like Cayman, we have experienced unprecedented GLOBAL growth!! As the saying goes…..it take money to make money!

          In short people, it was the greed of bankers, financial investors (started with the US housing market) that put the world and risk of complete economic collapse. The US is extremely lucky that the rest of the world copied their unethical and in some cases illegal practices or their collective butt’s would have been squashed and Europe would have once again emerged as the global leader and we would be thankful we (that have them) had UK passports.



  7. Anonymous says:

    mess with people’s money ….. hmmm, i seem to remember all i could hear some months back was Obama as the president of the USA would be the best thing to ever happen. That such a historic event would be the representation of the caribbean. Well, when this man talked throughout his campaign about shutting down places like the cayman islands, only a few here seemed to have been listening. When you sit and analysed the intentions and determination behind this man, it was quite clear where the Cayman Islands sat at his priority list; right at the top to destroy. We were just happy to have a black man win the presidency which is fine and truly deserved because he is well educated man and totally outclassed John MCain in the race for president. But the point is, very few of us paid attention to his speeches about the cayman islands. we are just a small dot on the map. you think the world powers give a damn about us. In the world of strategy, if terrorist  highjacks a plane and demands it fly into London and crash in that city, after exhausting all other options to prevent it from getting over land, the authorities have a written policy to shoot it down in mid air over sea prior to reaching land, because IF NOT, an entire city’s infrastructure could be destroyed and the vast inhabitants killed. when making such a drastic and difficult decision you make it based on the fact that there are 150 persons on board compared to the overall catastrophy of losing a city’s infrastructure and its people as justification for doing so. if you apply that sameprinciple to the strategy around saving the livelihood of 55 million people compared to a populace of 25,000 as suggested by the person below (whom i suspect may be a Brit) then you fully understand where i am coming from. 25,000 people in comparison to 55 million! who do you think get overall priority.         

  8. Obamamaniac says:

    We had better get that dock project going or we are going to be eating sandflies for breakfast. I no one thing none of those naysayers, special interest groups and tender operators are going to give up one single cent towards the treasury Lets ask them to donate their income towards our current debts. Since the care soooo much about Cayman

  9. Anonymous says:

    For a time I was actually pulling for Obama to become the United States first African-American President! Now I’m not so sure I’m all that thrilled with him winning anymore! He could potentially ruin my  life as I know it! He could have a very serious affect on my child’s future! I’m not so sure I like him anymore! And as for that other dude from England….why is he so hell bent on destroying us?? He’s like the annoying relative you want to disassociate yourself with because they have NOTHING good to offer you! What does England have against Grand Cayman…I swear it seems that they are never there to help us…..they always seem to be fighting against us with everyone else instead of fighting for us….

  10. Anonymous says:

    So does this mean that Cayman will soon become Independent?

    Cayman is not going to make it, because we do not have anything here to help us, the little farms here, might help some but not all people.


  11. Twyla M Vargas says:


    I have always heard two things, DONT MESS WITH MY MONEY OR MY WIFE, because if you do you may loose your life.

    I think Obama needs to stop playing GOD, like he is the answer to everyones problem.  Picking on the Cayman Islands only makes him a Bully, and as for Brown I would say CHECK HIM OUT, He has something hiding.

    I am quite sure that persons who came to Cayman  with their money to get away from USA or EUROPE  dont want to go back.  They want to enjoy peace and tranquility.  They had a reason, and it was not entirely to be escaping with their money.  United States and England will always be under threat as long as the world last for what they did to those Arabs.  So if Obama think he can save United States, he better think again.  Picking on small Islands like Cayman will not change the plan of GOD.   Guess what I think should happen, Kirk and McKeva needs to get together and give them all Cayman status.  Then they will be Caymanians,  They will not take away our jobs,  neither will they be a strain on the government.  They got money and will use it.  That is one piece of thought.  The  other is take out  your money and put it under your mattress.  Yes England is our mother country, but who says she should tell us who to sleep with.

  12. Concerned Expat says:

    I could not agree more Mr. Bush.

    The Cayman Islands faces some dire threats to its finance industry and we have little choice but to adapt to survive. Change is painful, but more necessary, and more pressing than ever.

    We have to remove ourselves from the crosshairs of the USA. To do so, we must shun all notions we are here to help people avoid tax. I have been a practioner in the offshore industry for 20 years and I do not know a company which would knowingly take on business that was not tax compliant. We must shout this message loud and clear.

    We must back this up with action. Invite the IRS down here. Assist them with investigations, and show the world we are a quality jurisdiction and above this type of business. We must become part of the solution, not part of the problem. We must show them we are willing and able to assist them, when called upon.

    We must also be sure to get recognition for our assistance. Make sure it is widely known.

    What else can we do? Diversify our business offerings. Look for new opportunities, new structures, new ways we can help the financial world achieve what needs to be done.

    Has anyone considered how Cayman could assist US banks with the toxic assets on their balance sheets? There must be some way we can help out.

    We must also diversify geographically away from just doing business with the Americas. There is a world of business in the Middle East, India, China. We are working in a global economy, we must think globally – beyond too much reliance on just business from the USA. 

    We can and will survive.

    This is not the first time Cayman has been challenged, and it won’t be the last.  

  13. Anonymous says:

    Let me correct my last post before someone else does. I of course was referring to Blossom Village Road, not BoggySand Road as I wrote..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hon. Alden At Fault

    As Minister with responsibility for The Financial Sector, Minister Alden clearly has dropped the ball. After firing the Cayman Islands’ lobbyists PPM believed one or two trips overseas at our expense coupled with a PR firm would be enough…clearly The Cayman Islands now faces its worst threat ever…one that is likely to succeed. PPM and Alden are responsible. With not a drop of money available, we cannot even run one puny Ad nor counter in anyway.

    We need serious folks in there that will put Caymanians first, at home and abroad. Vote for people with capability not those with arrogance.

  15. Friend of Cayman says:

    Caymanians need new sources of income, and by that I certainly do not mean new taxes.

    The Cayman Islands are an attractive and warm environment for retirees, who are like overnight tourists except that they live here and spend day after day, and year after year.

    The demand for goods and services by retirees could easily exceed income being lost by the destruction of our financial services.

    Government should become much more proactive in attracting retirees, for example by devoting some of the DOT’s efforts to that effect.

    Government should also do its part, namely by extending meaningful citizenship rights to retirees. To the extent they believe they belong, they will volunteer their time, expertise, and money to make Cayman a better place.

    The world climate change towards global cooling should increase the attractiveness of all warm climates including Cayman.  This cooling trend began a few years ago, and some experts predict that it will continue for years.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Bush, as I believe the longest standing member of the House, needs to shoulder the brunt of the responsibility for the massive overdevelopment and unsustainable growth which has taken place on Grand Cayman in particular over the last 25 years. It’s all well and good him throwing the blame around and repeatedly stating just how great he is, the bottom line however is that he is the one with the most responsibility.

    Tourism will suffer yes, the world economy is suffering. The financial sector will have some setbacks, as it is having all across the world. The underlying problem is that he and others allowed it all to grow too big, too quickly, out of nothing more than greed.

    Our tourism product was a better one 25 years ago and had it been developed at a sustainable rate it would be more marketable now. Our financial sector has been allowed to expand out of control . I use the term "allowed" because the people of Cayman have done just that. They have allowed these companies to set up on their shores, they have allowed their land to be sold and developed, they have allowed what many see as an expat takeover of these island. They have allowed all these things by electing a succession of money grabbing power hungry Governments. 

    So let some of the companies of shut up shop and move on, let them take some of their workers with them. Stop selling off your land to developers to make a quick buck, stop crying foul about the things we have all allowed to take place here and start taking the steps needed to correct the problems. Slow down Cayman,  don’t pave Boggy Sand Road, take a step back in to managble, sensible growth and sustainable development.

    Remember the Islands That Time Forgot?