Friday 25 September, 2020

Misleading: Have the Paradise Papers overhyped Cayman?

The Paradise Papers have catapulted the Cayman Islands - a mere 22 miles long - into the global spotlight as island of the rich and glamorous.

However, a Senior City Correspondent for the London Evening Standard, Simon English, in article published last week said that papers have painted an image of the British Overseas territory which is “shy of the reality”.

Are the Cayman Islands overhyped?

According to English, who boasts that he once ditched his tedious job to find adventure and intrigue in the Cayman Islands, Cayman is a quiet place with nothing much going on.

“Perhaps the words Grand Cayman conjure an image of glamour and excess. Of scheming bankers, cutting fiendish deals on yachts, surrounded by the most fantastically good looking people on earth. Of James Bond-alike liaisons, with guns, fast cars and passports spread over hotel beds,” read English’s article.

English argues that the image of Grand Cayman as place of excess is false.  

He notes that with the exception of a few perks, which he defined as great diving, good golfing and a nice beach, the island is very tiny with not much going on.

In emphasizing his point, English noted that “If you rocked up to the right cocktail bar on Friday evening, you could see the prime minister enjoying a game of dominoes. Buy him a drink, you could join in. And that’s about it.”  (Note the Cayman Islands does not have a Prime Minister but a Premier)

English further noted that the social climate of the place is also very quiet and insular.

“The locals are certainly shy of criticism, and the authorities perhaps don’t engage as well as they might to explain their position. It’s an insular place that doesn’t encourage sarcasm; just writing this piece makes me feel disloyal,” wrote English.

According to English, there is far more “skulduggery” on Wall Street and as for money laundering, English said the Isle of Man and Guernsey have greater cases to answer.

English writes that the 350 million the island makes per year in charging companies fees to register and get work permits isn’t very much.

“Grand Cayman is a tax haven — it prefers the term tax neutral — but you can hardly blame it for that. It’s far from obvious what else it would do to make a living, aside from tourism, “read English’s article.

 Do you agree have the Paradise Papers overhyped the Island?

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