Travers advises governor how to avoid embarrassment

| 23/10/2009

(CNS): The chair of Cayman Finance has taken the governor to task in a letter addressing his recent public comments over the need for Cayman to implement direct taxes. As members of the Legislative Assembly were engaged in an unprecedented debate questioning the governor’s judgement, Anthony Travers also told Stuart Jack that while Cayman Finance was sympathetic to his need to redefine his legacy in his remaining days, the issue of direct taxation had been rejected by the local industry and he would avoid embarrassment if he stuck to the convention of not commenting before consulting.

In his correspondence Travers reminded the governor of the convention that statements concerning the revenue base of the Cayman Islands that impact on the financial services industry should only be made after full consultation with that sector.

“We do not anticipate that the independent views of those marginally involved will assist or provide any alternative meaningful advice to that which the Industry has developed. It should be noted that the Leader of Government Business, Mr Bush has fully engaged with Cayman Finance and has received detailed proposals as to revenue collection which have benefited from a proper process of consensus that engaged the leading bankers, lawyers and accountants on the Island.”

The letter comes in the wake of comments that Jack made on his FCO blog, in which he seemed to suggest that he agreed with the position that Tim Ridley, Travers’ former partner at Maples and Calder, had taken that Cayman could benefit from the introduction of a property tax.

Travers, however, wrote that Cayman Finance’s recommendations rejected outright the concept of property, payroll or other direct taxes as not being in the long term best interests of the Cayman Islands. “From whomsoever your views may have emanated, and regardless of the extent to which they may echo current sentiment in Whitehall, they are clearly inconsistent with the conclusions of the Financial Services Industry and having been rejected once are unlikely to be reconsidered,” the chair of the industry body said.

In the last few weeks Travers has spoken out in a variety of forums against the introduction of any form of direct taxation in Cayman and the need to resist the pressure from the UK, which he says is itself suffering from untold economic stresses as a result of its increasing taxes.

Never one to mince his words, Travers told the UK’s representative that the Cayman Islands financial services industry had developed to one of the most successful sectors in the world over a great many years by the process of consensus. “Recognition of the time honoured convention, to which I refer, should avoid any further embarrassment accruing to your office,” he added.

During the process of bringing the 2009/10 budget, the Cayman Islands government had toyed with the idea of introducing some form of income tax to address the problem created by the UK’s Overseas Territories Minister Chris Bryant’s refusal to give permission for it to borrow money to help meet this year’s capital costs. In the end, in consultation with the financial service sector, it came up with a range of fee increases and indirect taxes that would return a balanced budget and bring government back into compliance with the Public Management and Finance Law. However, the projected budget surplus of around $4-5 million is finely balanced on untested predictions which could easily turn the surplus into a deficit. Moreover, the CI government is still under pressure from the UK government as part of the recent permission to borrow some $275 million to undertake a review of the public sector to cut spending and an independent assessment of future sustainable revenue raising measures, in other words direct taxation.

The governor recently said on News 27 that many financial centres around the world, such as Bermuda and the Channel Islands, have forms of direct taxations so there was no reason to assume Cayman would suffer if it too were to adopt similar measures — a position which is not necessarily shared by either the elected government or the financial services sector.

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  1. ALau says:

    Actually Mr Travers was born in Italy and Cayman Do not think for one second Travers is offering an unbiased opinion.  Mr Travers interests are behind the conservative ticket make no mistake.  Lets not forget with his assets he can afford to say what he likes, he is no saviour of Cayman, he simply has his own agenda, and you can be sure its the same one being played in Whitehall by the all the bored retired rich folk who want a voice, Cayman is his raison d’etre if you like.

    McKeeva may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but he has learnt from past mistakes and years of endless lecturing from successive AGs, Governors, Financial bodies, etc.   He will do the best he can for Cayman, because he is committed, its his future, his childrens, etc etc.  This is Mckeeva’s agenda, Just like Travers has his own agenda. So wake up Cayman.  Don’t be naieve and childlike in your desire to believe what at first appears like a good story, do you research and don’t be taken in by rhetoric.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course he has his own agenda he wants to protect the island he calls home -I for one dont have an issue with that , its the same agenda everyone who lives and cares for Cayman has – Does it matter where he was born 

       Yes he is successful but he has worked damn hard for everything he has its not as if he arrived  yesterday –

      His success also means he could live anywhere in the world, he doesnt need the isalnd – we however desparately  need him – he is fighting for Cayman because he loves the islands – he is not getting paid for everything he is doing he is getting a heck of a lot of hassle 

      All these things make him the man he is – You can stand proud and walk tall Mr Travers the good  lord  im sure is smiling on you 



    • Anonymous says:

      You do not offer one shred of intelligent thought as to what that agenda might be. Travers comments clearly put the Cayman Finance agenda and therefore the interests of the Cayman Islands ahead of any conceivable personal interest. Personal envy does not make for intelligent comment. 



    • Anonymous says:

      McKeeva’s adgenda is McKeeva’s future, not Cayman’s best interests. A zebra cannot change its stripes, my friend.

  2. Twyla Vargas says:

    YES,  Una watch Mr. Travers in action.  He is exactly what Cayman needs now to go forward.  He is not a "Yes man"  and he will listen.   Cayman is not ready for direct taxation, the local industry expresses that.   Mr Travers says it all, so Caymanians, take the time and read his comments carefully.  Blessed 

  3. Anonymous says:

     Travers has too much integrity , intelligence and  credability to be Govenor -he also will never be a yes man . It is thelast thing the FCO would ever want having to deal with him would certainly keep them in line and they would think twice about putting one over on Cayman 

    As well as that if he were in a position of authority there would be far more stability to Cayman generally  he’d also ensure that the various lawfirms , finance companies were kept in line 



  4. Anonymous says:

    Watch Travers in action fightiing Caymans corner
    Panel 2 after 18 minutes

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS should highlight the fact that Tony Travers has been one of the experts speaking at CATO

  5. what a mess! says:

    We’ll see.

    Logic seems to suggest that if Govt. has mismanaged so badly, then simply raising a few fees now is only a band-aid approach. Let’s see where we are this time next year.

    Either Govt. has to cut expenditures significantly or keep raising fees…or introduce taxes. It’s fairly simple mathematics. And continuing to raise existing fees will fall much more unfairly on the middle class, small business and the poor. It will also continue to protect large business and the rich.

    I agree, i don’t "want" taxes either…but this is not about what’s wanted. The simple fact is that govt. needs/wants more money…and to continue the traditional fee raises will unfairly impact the poorer segmant of society, while protecting the richer segment.

    That’s precisely why both the Real Estate and Financial communities do not want property or income taxes….because then they would also have to contribute their fair share to this society.

    We can only burden the middle class and poor so much before revolution becomes an option. Is some of the Social Unrest being seen now in the way of increased crime in any way connected to this? Are some people opting out of going along with the status-quo? Are some feeling so alienated, frustrated, stressed?

    The position Cayman finds itself in today seems directly connected to decades of chasing the dollar…at the expense of Social Disharmony.

    The above is "food for thought"…time will tell! or is doing so already?

  6. Anonymous says:

    "We do not anticipate that the independent views of those marginally involved will assist or provide any alternative meaningful advice to that which the Industry has developed".

    A jab at his former law partner, Tim Ridley?

  7. Anonwho says:

    MR. TRAVERS IS THE MAN!! I think he is our blessing from God, for this big mess all of these other idiots has got us into now!! LETS GO MR TRAVERS!!! YOU CAN DO IT!! wooohooo.. TRAVERS for GOVERNOR!!!  I will def be at that celebration if it ever happens..

  8. Anonymous says:

     This letter will indeed cost Travers any official recognition from HM Govt – you know what though I dont think it will bother him –

    It would however  be the right thing  when all of this is over that Mac organises something from Cayman 

    • Anonwho says:

      He does deserve recongnition from cayman!  but i think he knows how much we all appreciate him and his efforts, and to a man of that stature i think knowing that, is better than any plaque or statue!  i do agree with you though..  YOU HEAR THAT MAC?  These expats down here could learn a thing or two from this man.  They want acceptance.. learn to be more like Mr. Travers.. help solve the problems, don’t be a part of the problem..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Very timely and wisely crafted words. Thank You Very Much Sir.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What’s wrong with payroll tax or property tax?  Neither impinge on the offshore monies on island.  Look to BVI for how it can work effectively.  Smells on self-interest to reject both.  Neither will damage business outlook: labour market will adjust to a reasonable tax.  Property owners can afford $1000 per year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Talk for yourself!

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with   tax is as Friedman said .Tax is equal to the amount Government spends .In the present case in the United States it is 50% of what the government spends . The other 50% is borrowed.Cayman cannot borrow so the tax must generate what government spends .Without having cut costs first and shown fiscal discipline over a protracted period there is no reason to supposed that the introductory  tax rate will not escalate dramatically  eg payroll tax is  now 15% in Gibraltar . The FCO know there has been no fiscal discipline exhibited in recent years in Cayman  so that any direct tax system will end up with rates as high as the UK which will signal the departure of the Financial Industry and the termination of Cayman as a competitive threat which is the real intention of the FCO advice . At that point you fish and greet tourists . That is what is wrong with property or payroll taxes.


  11. Anonymous says:

    A veritable sixer


  12. Anonymous says:

     If any one deserved a knighthood Anthony Travers definately does , he has always acted with the utmost integrity and whilst he is around I know Cayman will be okay .


  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Travers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks you Mr. Travers. Your merit to this country and it people is very much appreciated. However for kicking him where it really hurts will cost you the Knighthood, so much deserved

      • Anonymous says:

        Thats right "Sir Tony"…..and the Knighthood goes to "Sir McKeeva" for not suing CrackerJack…….and just maybe Jacko you’ll get your Caymanian Status from Sir Mac for the Enquiry into Chuckie exposing Sir Mac. 

        The irony of this situation is that Chuckie is the National Hero here but he had no support from his PPM infantry !

  14. Anonymous says:

    jack was right. The budget was a sham and just a stop-gap measure to get over the impasse with the uk. With the gov failing to taclkle the civil service some sort of diect taxation will become inevitable… you can only raise indierct taxes and fees so much…….

  15. Anonymous says:

    Well done Travers – can you also share your advice with Mac, to avoid him constantly engaging his mouth before his brain as well, please.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Maybe a little too late for the embarrasment!

  17. Anonymous says:


    At last someone  in the private sector who is prepared to stand up and state perfectly what everyone in the Cayman islands is feeling.Can we not appoint Travers as Governor?



    • Anon says:

      I’ve been sayin that for Months now, was he not born in England? Mr. Travers has always stood up for not only Cayman but for Caymanians!  The day they decide to try and screw him over like they do all the great men!! WE WILL be there for you Mr. Travers, just as you have been there for all of us and cayman.. Mr. Travers for GOVERNOR!!  Thank you, once again!!

  18. Joe Average says:

    Mr. Travers will not be invited to any leaving parties.  But he may wish to attend ours.  When you hear the jet engines and the collective SIGH…..the party has started.

  19. hopefull says:

    Only time will tell who the smart ones were.  If you are one of the many who think the current system will bring in what is needed I hope your right but I for one (In my humble opinion) see only continued failure.  I actually hope that I am wrong for Caymans future sake.  Just a thought but if it appears that what the current goverment wants to do is failing what then?  Will they try something else or just let it go till the moneys all gone again? Is there a plan B? I think it would be worth the time to think of one.  There wasn’t any plan B at the start of this problem.  Just a thought.  Hope this helps.

    • watching says:

      The plan B is more of the same.  The beatings (robberies in the street and by the Goverment) will continue until moral improves.  Or more to the point until only robbers are left on Cayman.Even Jesus could not save Cayman islands now.  Although I bet he and God are watching and saying you reap what you sow.( or something to that effect).

      On the other hand the only way Cayman could be saved is if just one smart,honest, respectable, and careing man is listened to.

      It would take a miracle.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well said Travers. Now take off your Finance cap and give us your Cambridge Lawyer view of the Legal Aid shennanigans if you don’t want to look like just another McDinejad sellout.

    • Anonymous says:

      Travers is Chairman of CIFSA and his expertise lies in  Offshore Financial Law which is why he is speaking out whereas legal aid is a very different point  and probably comes under Criminal Law / Human Rights so I wouldnt be surprised if he didnt comment on the specific points of law on this one . 

      • Anonymous says:

        Travers is a lawyer. He didn’t study Offshore Financial Law at Cambridge, as more than likely he was involved in its development after years of working here in the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. The point is that he went to law school and what McDinejad has done only begs a basic understanding of what is right and what is wrong. If Travers will offer "no comment" on the legal aid issue because McDinejad has stood firm on the "no direct tax" issue, then he is no better than the others who turn a blind eye to the other injustices as long as they get what they want.

        • Anonymous says:

           We probably didnt have the Human Rights directive when Travers studied Law   lol !!  

          I am sure he will make his feelings clear with regards this matter if directly asked 

          • Anonymous says:

            I realize you are being facetious but he (or anyone else) would be a poor lawyer if he only knew the law taught at law school! 

  21. Anonymous says:

    Go on Travers you Cayman’s superman right now, and its a pity certain people don’t realise how valuable you are to Cayman’s future.

    Anthony Travers also told Stuart Jack that while Cayman Finance was sympathetic to his need to redefine his legacy in his remaining days, the issue of direct taxation had been reject by the local industry and he would avoid embarrassment if he stuck to the convention of not commenting before consulting.

    I just love this bit, it echoes my sentiments precisely.