Jack Rose 1917-2009

| 11/11/2009

(CNS): The man who presided over the passing of the law which led to the creation of the Cayman Islands financial services sector has died. Jack Rose, who became the first administrator of the Cayman Islands in 1960, was 92 when he passed away last month. Rose spent four years in Cayman, and in 1961 he commissioned a draft company law, which was approved in London and passed in the islands' legislature. The law provided, among other things, for "exempt companies" and laid the foundation for the development of the offshore sector and Cayman’s economic boom. Born on 18 January 1917 in London, Rose was educated at Shooters Hill School before studying Science at University College London.

He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in October 1938, completing his training as a fighter pilot just before the outbreak of war. Rose flew many sweeps over northern France with Czech and Polish squadrons, and in October 1942 he was awarded the DFC for his courage and devotion to duty. By the end of the war, Rose was one of the very few pilots to survive its first and last days.

He joined the Colonial Service in 1946 and served in Northern Rhodesia several times before arriving in the Cayman Islands in 1960. He served here for four years during a period of immense change for the country. Following the historic 1962 election, which saw the new National Democratic Party under Ormond Panton win seven seats and the first woman elected to the LA, Rose was criticized for appointing three members to the LA without consulting the NDP leadership and rejecting Panton, who had been the people’s choice. This rejection was described by Roy Bodden in his book, The Cayman Islands in transition, as having a lasting detrimental impact on democracy in the country.

Following his time in Cayman Rose was appointed to deputy governor of British Guiana (now Guyana). His tour was cut short at the end of 1964 when his wife became ill. Between 1964 and early 1979, when he finally retired, he immersed himself in voluntary work with the Citizen's Advice Bureau. He was also the honorary treasurer of the Red Cross in Oxfordshire and from 1975 he was secretary of the Salmon and Trout Association. He was appointed MBE in 1954 and CMG in 1963

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  1. Young Caymanian Reader says:

    Ah I love this stuff, it’s so much better than most of the tone of conversation nowadays. Please feel free to further enlighten me… living history 🙂

  2. Lower Vally resident says:

    Well is about time that our Islands history is discussed and mentions.  People nowadays honestly believe Cayman has always been this glamorous high end destination.

    • Oldtimer says:

      You are quite right; history should be told. I came here in 1968 and whilst by then Cayman could not be described as a hardship area the banks and other financial institutions insisted that the ex-pats take quarterly leave so they did not get rock happy. This went on a few years as the island progressed. Little has been put in writing about more recent history and certainly there is much to be gleaned from reading the old newspapers and the Northwester Magazine.

      We still had the mosquito problem is those days which Dr Giglioli handled so well with his spraying volunteer team consisting of Caymanians and expats alike before the plane arrived. There was little in the way of sport, a bit of cricket and a bit of football and there was just the one service club. Notwithstanding this all enjoyed themselves and Cayman was ultimatley friendly with doors left open. Many homes had no locks on the doors and people left keys in cars.People gave each other lifts.Athol Long was the Administrator and his office door always open to welcome newcomers. No appointments were necessary. How times have changed.

      There was anabundance of characters in those day that are fondly remembered by but a few and their stories should be told. It is sad the way the island has developed which in my opinion is not just greed but a lack of planning by various governments.

      Someone needs write a book going back the past 50 years. Any volunteers? I know a few who would contribute.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "Records will show that Bill Walker and Mr Jim McDonald were the driving forces surrounding that".

    Correct. And Vassell Johnson got a knighthood for it. Ah so it go.

    • Oldtimer says:

      Actually Bill had nothing to do with drafting the Companies Law, it was only Jim who delegated the work to Jamaica. Much of our companies law of 1960 is based on the UK laws prior to 1948 which is odd. Now our law needs to be shredded as it is totally out of date and far behind the competition. Get wise you lawyers. No wonder there is no transparency here.

      Let us not defer from the main topic particularly  and a character whether he was liked in Cayman or not. In fact I cannot recall any governor being praised in Cayman. All they get is flak.

      • Burns Conolly says:

        I will share some information from my late Dad’s book that I am in the final stages of transcribing. My father Warren Conolly, was actually in the Government during this time and as many know had an incredible memory.

        Actually my information is that Jim McDonald did not “delegate” it to Jamaica though he did work on bringing it to life. The Cayman islands Government being a dependency of the colony of Jamaica had all of our laws drafted by the Jamaica Legal draughting office in Kingston at the time.

        That office was the first choice for the Cayman Government as the expertise was not based here. As is correctly stated in an earlier blog below, the Jamaica Independence move was in full swing so the office was too busy to draught it and they recommended the law firm of Myers, Fletcher and Gordon to assist. They did the work for 400 Guineas or 420 Jamaica Pounds. Lawyer Pat Roseau, who many know, was sent to sit in the Legislative Assembly and go through the Bill line-by-line to explain it to the government of the day. Jim McDonald also was invited to sit in. With the Government’s required changes it was passed in 1960 however it was not assented to until March 1961. Interesting enough although it is listed as “Law 3 of 1961” it was known as the “the Companies Law of 1960”.

        The law was based on the UK version as Jamaica was a full colony at the time. Many of the base laws that I have researched, like our 1977 Planning Law which was actually based on the 1947 UK Town & Country Planning Law, came from that period. Obviously post WWII saw a lot of laws being written in the UK and Europe. Those then being ported to the Colonies.

        You are correct that Bill Walker, was more a major factor behind the late 1960s Banks & Trust law thanthe Companies Law. Mr. Walker actually wrote a book with a US Lawyer on Incorporating companies in the Cayman islands which was a big push for our juvenile financial industry at the time. It is clear to me that the history on the creation of our Financial Industry will need a rewrite at some point.

        On your final point, I do not think it is accurate to say however that all of our Governors, and before them, the Commissioners or Administrators got/get flak. Only the poor ones or those on a mission seem to get that distinction. Commissioner Cardinal in the 1930s who probably made the greatest of impressions and impact, Gerard in the 50s, Administrators Long, Gore as well as Governors Russell, Owen and Smith seem to have been outstanding administrators and well liked, many returned and were warmly welcome. Many helped to build the Cayman islands and moved us forward and many will live positively in the annals of our history.

        Burns Conolly

  4. Anonymous says:

    A good man. May his soul rest in peace. 

  5. anonymous says:

    Mr. Jack Rose did commission the company’s law but only because of his position. Records will show that Bill Walkers and Mr. Jim McDonald were the driving forces surrounding that.

    The Cayman government and local politicians at the time supported the idea and Jack Rose as President of the House requested that the Jamaican Legal draughting department draft the bill. The Department was so busy at the time changing all of Jamaica’s laws for Independence that they recommended a private law firm in Kingston to prepare it. That firm was paid by Cayman to do so.

    Mr. Rose was also know to be highly controversial Administrator. He used his powers of nomination of 3 persons to the house to effectively negate theNational Democratic Party’s 1962 win at the polls, making the party loose control of government. The effect was a complete loss by the Party of all seats except one and the ultimate demise of the NDP.

    A little from the past…