Minister takes on the media

| 08/05/2009

(CNS): The Cayman Islands’ response to White House proposals on US tax reform has appeared in key international media houses following interviews with and comments from Minister for International Financial Services Policy Alden McLaughlin. The high profile responses were made following US President Barack Obama’s much publicised speech on Monday in which he announced proposed changes in US tax law that would crack down on wealthy corporations who avoid tax by moving their money into offshore tax havens, specifically mentioning the Cayman Islands.

Elsewhere in the international media, the Cayman Islands were given a less favourable appearance when an unknown man apparently threatened to have a news crew from Al Jazeera arrested while they were filming a report on the Cayman Islands financial sector. (Watch the video here). With his hand over the camera, the man, who had an American accent and was identified only as a property manager with one of the businesses here, said, “All I’m doing is telling you, just be very careful. You’re in a small country.”

McLaughlin answered tough questioning from the BBC Radio World Report and provided comment to The Financial Times in which he warned that the proposed changes could have unintended consequences and defended the islands’ role in creating "efficiencies" that benefited business. "Blocking access to the Cayman Islands may have very real unintended negative consequences for international trade and the economies of large countries," he said. McLaughlin’s statements from the FT were further picked up by other specialist media in the UK and Ireland, including Wealth Bulletin and FinFacts Ireland.

The minister also provided comments to the Caribbean bureau of the Associated Press putting forth Cayman’s perspective on behalf of the government, though at this time the does not appear to have been picked up by the media.

According to the Portfolio of Finance & Economics Public Relations Unit, Minister McLaughlin’s messages focused on three areas: the contribution of offshore financial services centres like the Cayman Islands to global business and international capital flows; the negative consequences to international trade and large globalised economies of blocking access to jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands; and a reminder that the US has effective law enforcement, regulatory and tax information channels with the Cayman Islands – some dating back 25 years – with the result that Cayman offers no protection to American businesses or individuals who want to commit tax or any other crimes.

This week’s media activity coheres with the Cayman Islands Government’s larger communications and public affairs strategy for the financial services sector, which involves targeting international decision makers and opinion formers – and the third-parties that influence them – to help protect Cayman’s reputational and economic interests, the PRU said.

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  1. a realist says:

    "Such jokers out there!!! Alden McLaughlin and PPM are Cayman’s only hope for continued success and proper governance! Sorry jokers…there is no other way!"

    What hogwash.  If this is your idea of "success" which should be "continued", then Cayman is finished as an off-shore jurisdiction. 

    The only joke here Mr Joker, and it’s not particularly funny, is that such incompetence in leadership can actually gather a following here. 

    Wave your flag using a wooden pole – you might need it to stay afloat after the ship sinks.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Listen to Obama and Gordon Brown.  They have no clue what they are talking about either.  Alden’s comments about them hurting us will only hurt them is not that different from what Travers said.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Such jokers out there!!! Alden McLaughlin and PPM are Cayman’s only hope for continued success and proper governance! Sorry jokers…there is no other way!

  4. Anonymous says:

     Why dont  Cayman News Service ask the Minister what is the difference between tax avoidance and  tax evasion . 

    This has been a gift to Obama , an answer like that is exactly what he wanted to hear . Afterall if he cant tell the difference what does that tell the World  about the way Cayman Financial affairs are handled. I can guarantee if Travers had given the interview Cayman would be viewed in a very different light. 

    It would be funny if it  wasnt so serious  , we are on the edge of a cliff from which there will be no coming back if this isnt turned around . 

    • Anonymous says:

      To: Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/10/2009 – 08:32

      You appear to be very naive about this issue. First, the US Administration does not care about distinctions between tax avoidance and tax evasion. As far they are concerned either way those corporations are not paying their fair share of tax.  Their stance is politically driven, and does not reflect  a lack of understanding of the difference. Second, Cayman’s case has been made many times in the past in various international fora by Tony Travers, Tim Ridley and others. It did not and does not change perception of Cayman because there is considerable media bias against us.  Often key parts of our response to these assaults simply do not get reported. Either we get no opportunity to respond to the charges against us or our responses go unreported. For example, on the Cayman under pressure video has near the beginning a blatantly false charge by a "Global Financial regulator (who is clearly purporting to be a authority on these issues) against Cayman ‘s 10,000 collective investment schemes which have no regulation, audit etc. Was this specific charge addressed to any other persons interviewed including Travers and McLaughlin?  You are kidding yourself with the notion ‘if only they had allowed TONY TRAVERS to speak eveything would be different’. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    I tell you what!!! Please don’t vote UDP May 20th….. They may have been able to tackle this issues when they had  different representATION  in 2001…. The representation was more professional likeGilbert, Roy, Linford (who dumped them) and Frank…. The only intelligent person that remains in the party is Rolston…..The UDP slate is a poor choice and will sink Cayman deeper.





  6. Anonymous says:

    Carlyle who???? I thought the position of head of CIMA was vacant since Mr Ridley was so foolishly ditched.

    On that, who manages to obtain a literally world-class talent, and then benches them so their cousin or whatever can play in the game instead? A game their cousin doesn’t seem to know the rules of, and who therefore just stands around watching the others play?  While our team loses the final game of the season.  Really.  Who does that?

    Time to pack it in.  This is doomed.  40% goes when financial services collapse, and the rest goes when Cuba opens.  Game over.

  7. Anonymous says:

    as the old saying goes, hogs get fat and pigs get slaughtered.

     the greed of the global community found a warm welcome in Cayman many years ago….. 

    Warm weather, nice beaches, no  crime and a robust financial future.    Island leaders welcomed the international community, and  (gov’t leaders) became big fish in a small pond., often feeding on their own………….

    As the global economy changes , or should i say has already changed, Cayman , along with the rest of the world is  in for a paradigm shift . 

    As the captain of the airplane would announce to the passengers when the weather ahead is not so good…., " attention all, we are  going to experience  turbulence ahead, please fasen your seat belts, and everyone stay in your seats………………………"





  8. Anonymous says:

    The Minister did not even have the ability to make the crucial distinction between tax evasion and tax avoidance .If this is the standard of our representation no wonder we are in real difficulty. What makes someone with no history or experience in the area feel they can speak as an expert  when they obviously can’t. 

  9. sounder says:

    Having listened to the podcast of McLaughlin I can only agree with the previous poster that his performance was poor. He sounded very nervous, trotting out the same old cliches about world class services etc. but really had no prepared, well thought out answers. Surely by now he and government should have an agreed upon defence, well rehearsed and based on the facts of what Cayman has to offer in terms of financial services. The time for smoke and mirrors is long gone.

    Like it or not, members of government lack credibility when they deal with the world outside of Cayman. Tony Travers and Tim Ridley, to name but 2, have the credibility, but suffer from the insurmountable handicap of being expats. Has anyone heard anything from Carlyle McLaughlin since he replaced Ridley as the head of CIMA? Yet another decision where tribalism trumped good sense and Caymanians and expats alike will pay.

  10. Anonymous says:

     Why didnt  the Govt  bring in Travers to speak to the BBC he is widely respected as one of the foremost experts globally in this arena .

    Instead as has been pointed out Mclaughlin was caught napping .Then because Travers et al stepped up to do something they THEN decide to get involved. How bad does that look…????? they would have been far better linking in with Travers and mounting a joint offensive at least then they might have at least looked like they knew what they were about . 

    Minister Mclaughlin and his cronies have let the fox into the hen house 



  11. If Only.... says:

    To: Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/08/2009 – 21:03.

    You mentioned "However, if the powers that be cannot put a better case for our financial services industry than the podcast above, Cayman is lost" 

    Your comments about whats being done isn’t helping the situation.  It sounds like you have some insite to the proper workings of our financial industry and  like the rest of us who live here are feeling attacked by what we know is outright exaggeration, wouldn’t it be better use some sort of approach to those in whose job it is to rectify the problem or those who feel it necessary to shed the proper light with your views? Maybe you could have even posted here based on your expertise?

    I’m sadden that instead you and others feel it necessary to post negativity about Minister McLaughlin’s answers being pathetic. This news link is one of the top links presented when googling "CAYMAN and OBAMA" (which has had over 200,000 searches) so the inquiring world that searches beyond what their media gives them comes upon this back and forth of downing people and UDP/PPM blaming, or what wasn’t done. From I can remember CI has always gotten the bad wrap thanks to Hollywood and NYbest sellers. I’ve spent most of my travels defending Cayman as a beautiful place with more to offer and far from the "image" from "the Firm" or many many other movies lable our country. Really, when I get asked where I’m from and I say "Cayman Islands", the response is "oh like the firm?". I dont know the true workings of everything, but from my small experience in the industry there is much due diligence practiced. CNS has this comment area to allow us to speak our minds and educate, even anonymous at that, and it’s wasted far too much on being negative. The current government only has a few weeks left and no one knows the outcome of May 20th, I just feel it would be better for everyone to come together with the best approach of how to deal with this now,  forget whats done, cause who ever will be in rule will need to get straight to work and may need every bit of help from those that truly want Cayman to pull through.

  12. Jedi Dread says:

    "It amazes me that so few of us are self-educated to the true underlying nature of this issue. This entire ordeal has NOTHING to do with the "USA"."

     Well said… The City of London has, and always will, run t’ings.

    Pray that more people should open their eyes and rise from that deep sleep of ignorance.  

    As well as, this whole UDP/PPM – Party System, which has done nothing more than create a divide within the populace.

    What is absolutely most frightening, is the level of ‘Party-Blindness‘ that exists in Cayman…  

    Also, are you really telling me, that the Backbencher’s have no more clout these days to prevent their opponents from running the country into the ground?

    They, were both in House, when they let Cayman fail Her People. 

    Please, please, please… New Blood, New Ideas, New Government.

    – Jedi Dread –

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. McLaughlin gave an interview to the BBC World Service’s "World Business News" programme on 4th May 2009. 

      It was hyped as "What do the tax havens think about it"   i.e. President Obama’s antipathy to offshore jurisdictions like ours.

      The Minister’s response was sad and embarrassing.  I am surprised it has not been better publicised. 

      Link here:

      Pathetic.  How can those of us who work in this industry have any confidence in representation like this?  Especially when, for the most part, we are not allowed to vote for change because we are disenfranchised. 

      No one out there cares if 40% of our GDP goes missing while they look after their own.  However, if the powers that be cannot put a better case for our financial services industry than the podcast above, Cayman is lost. 

  13. Anonymous says:


    The below post is straight from the UDP script.  Mr. Piercy you should have just signed your name to that post….. 

    Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/08/2009 – 15:39.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Who is that "American man" in the video!?

    I strongly suspect that he was planted there by this very news team! That ominous camera angle was a bit too fitting to be a mere coincidence.

    Eyes and ears open folks…we’re playing in a very dirty game!

    His sentiments simply aren’t fitting to the situation…what "property manager" speaks in that way in Cayman?! As if he’s part of the Cayman Mafia Family?! (He said – "this is a small country"…exactly…can anyone name this dude!? If so i will gladly shut up…if not then I’ll know my suspicions are correct.


  15. I"M NOT A CRAB says:

    "Why didn’t Alden do this months ago?"

    Interesting question…

    Alden, here’s a forum to speak to your electorateWhat have you been up to in dealing with this recently, that is, before Mr Travers picked up the ball? 

    Please do enter the forum and let us know.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Come on guys, too little, too late. GO, UDP.

  17. Better late and never says:

    Well right now the last thing to be saying is who didn’t do what on their watch. I’m just glad to see that everyone, Ministers, Mr. Travers, Professionals (Caymanians and Expats) are speaking out against the negative image that is being emphasised more than ever now on Cayman. Better to have something said in our defense now than just sitting in silence. The person I’m more dissappointed with is the Property Manager for what ever business (location looks like Cricket Sqaure) never stayed silent. If he is American, he of all people should know about media sensationalism. Thanks Dude for helping that reporter give Cayman that image he wanted!

  18. noname says:

    It amazes me that so few of us are self-educated to the true underlying nature of this issue. (I say "self-educated" because you will NOT find this information in any school-book or CNN / FOX / MSNBC news report!)

    This entire ordeal has NOTHING to do with the "USA".

    Instead, it is for the benefit of the (non) Federal Reserve Bank – which by the way is NOT a "federal" or even "public" company!! It is in fact privately owned by a tiny elite who are the true "world leaders" in play today.

    The U.S. President is NOT the greatest power in America. MONEY holds that title! And guess what…the (non) Federal Reserve Bank "owns / creates" that MONEY and in turn the(non) Federal Reserve Bank is owned and controlled by another organisation that no-one seems ot be able to concretely identify.

    The American media powerhouses shy far away from such issues – therefore we know that the two sides are in cahoots with each other. Now, the owners and controllers of the US/Global media networks can be more or less readily identified – so it is safe to assume that those fellaz and the money fellaz are "friends" at the very least. (Read a book, do some historical research and connect the dots.)

    It is important to also note that the USA / Fed. Rsrv. does not stand alone in this story – as a matter of fact the story begins long before the "USA" even existed! Britain of course is a player in this story as well – however, to break all of that down requires far more time and bandwith that is available to me at the moment..

    In the last decade the greatest proportions of global finance/capital/money has filtered further and further away from the "tradtional" and intended entities. As it has grown so has the fury of the initiators of the (Anlgo/Euro-American centralised banking) system.

    Therefore, to see (President) Obama standing behind the podium and stroking the emotions of ignorant Americans by telling them lies that countries like ours are responsible for the current state of the world economy, and that he is implementing these new laws in an effort to secure tax revenue for the betterment of all the AMERICAN CITIZENS is a source of great amusement for me!

    Only, it is no laughing matter.

    Cayman, we are in the deadly crosshairs of an organisation – far higher and more powerful than Obama and the US Cabinet – that has proven to be relentless, cruel, and unrepentant when it comes to achieving their goals. They are hell-bent on resructuring "their" banking/money prowess to the balance of where it was yesteryear.

    Good luck to us all…we’re gonna need it!

  19. Whatever! says:

    Very sad that McKeeva could be LOGB again. Please Cayman – don’t make this happen.

    • Anonymous says:




      CNS: Next time you post could you please keep the caps lock off.

  20. Only For Caymanians says:


      McKeeva ???????    What is McKeeva going to do ????????   Sink us deeper?


       Ladies and Gentlemen…. Pause here.

     Our Government with the PPM and the UDP has all caused us this problem, and to give them the oppertunity again will only make matters  worse.

       Let us wake up Caymanians…. Change this whole Government, and let us Clean the slate so that a new Government run these Islands.

    Only For Caymanians

  21. Anonymous says:

     Mclaughin obviously  feels a complete numpty having been shown how it should be done by Travers 


    • Anonymous says:

      Travers hasn’t shown anyything yet. Let’s wait and see. As McLaughlin explained private sector works different channels from govt.  

  22. Anonymous says:

     NOW the Minister engages the media . The horse has bolted and the stable is burning down 

  23. Anonymous says:

    Not to let the facts get in the way of some good PPM electioneering but the fact is that under Bush the UDP kept Cayman off every black list  The current debacle happened on the PPM’s watch. 

    • Anonymous says:

      To: Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/08/2009 – 13:03.

      You wouldn’t know the facts if it kissed you on the mouth. There were no new lists, black, grey or white during the UDP term. If there had been we would have been on it since the UDP govt. didn’t negotiate a single TIEA during its term. It was McLaughlin that helped negotiate us off the blacklist in 2000.  Obviously you are electioneering and not dealing with the facts.  

  24. I"M NOT A CRAB says:

    "Blocking access to the Cayman Islands may have very real unintended negative consequences for international trade and the economies of large countries."

    Come on folks – calling up the BBC and saying the above sentence hardly constitutes the development of a coherent and complete national strategy for the Cayman Island’s financial services industry.  Frankly, it hardly has any meaningful content at all: "Don’t hurt me, you might hurt yourself in the process".  Pointless…

    All it means is that he’s reacting (late) to the negative press that revealed that he’s gone to sleep at his post.

  25. Anonymous says:

    At least the Minister is equipped to answer these questions. We’ve been embarrased far too many times in the past when McKeeva has been given the spotlight and been asked to get us out of these tight situations.

    • Anonymous says:

      I absolutely agree. Of all the candidates Alden McLaughlin is by far the most capable and qualified to address such issues in a clear, articulate and appropriate manner.  In fact the majority of the PPM candidates have the skills and gravitas to pull it off.  With the exception of Rolston, neither McKeeva nor any of the other UDP candidates have any such abilities. 

  26. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. Obama

    Please just hold off until after we here in the Cayman Islands can get some change on May 20th.

    The whole world heard you during your campaign talking about Offshore Financial Centres and Tax Havens, but our current Government (the "PPM") thought that you were just joking around.

    But please understand Mr. Obama you have caught us literally with our pants down because the PPM can’t handle these type of complex things – the PPM are really only good at spending money, making turtle stew and spreading rumors.

    But the UDP (the next Govt after may 20th) they know how to negotiate and sort out complex matters. So please give Cayman a fighting chance to sort this out – please wait until after May 20th.

    So far we have 1000+ caymanians without jobs, and everyday is talk of another lay off.

    Ok, thanks.

    • Anon says:

      There is no reason to believe the very inexperienced UDP candidates would be equipped to handle these complex matters. They have no concept of international negotiations and they certainly have no one of the calibre of Minister McLaughlin. The UDP Govt. failed to negotiate a single TIE Agreement during its term (2001-2005) although the Government had committed to do so in 2000. Why should we believe you now?  

      As for spreading rumours, the UDP are the true masters of disinformation. One day it is 3000 Caymanians unemployed, another day it is 1,200 and yet another is 1,000. Where does the UDP get these figures from?  

  27. Anon says:

    Well done, Minister McLaughlin! 

    A bit unfortunate about the unknown man with the American accent as it plays into a negative stereotype.