November 24, 2020

Damaging article about Grand Cayman

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“The Story of the Rise and Fall of
the Cayman Islands”

Full article see

Highbrow Magazine (to quote from them) “is a liberal, general-interest online magazine, focusing on the arts, entertainment, food, travel, news
and politics.”

The magazine is new as it only commenced publication on the Internet in August 2011.  However, veteran American journalist Steven Knipp, renown for travel articles in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the International Herald, wrote the article that appeared in Highbrow Magazine today (29) under the title “The Story of the Rise and Fall of the Cayman Islands.” He also worked here for Cayman Net News in 2008-2009, although that is not mentioned.

The article starts, “Grand Cayman Island, famously described as a sunny place for shady people, owes its extraordinary rise and equally spectacular fall to three people: expat lawyer Bill Walker, best-selling novelist John Grisham and President Barack Obama.”

It is a long and very detailed article of over 3,000 words plus photographs taken by Mr. Knipp. The whole article is negative in tone and quotes. The first two pages gives a potted history of the islands from Christopher Columbus’s discovery and Mr. Bill Walker’s part in “bringing in the necessary vested interests needed to create Cayman’s fledgling financial industry: suitably wealthy clients.”

Mr. Knipp tells how the stars “were perfectly aligned” saying at the same time the Bahamas were about to gain independence and the Bahamas “bankers loved what they saw in the Cayman Islands: it was officially a British Territory, with a British governor and a Royal Cayman Police Service. More importantly, it had a hands-off administration—one that imposed no income tax, no corporate tax, nor any tax on capital gains, inheritance or gifts—and actively promoted its strict confidentiality laws.”

“From the late 1970s until the 1990s, it was common for private jets to touch down at Owen Roberts Airport, with people carrying large suitcases packed with money for deposit in local banks. It was money laundering, and tax evasion, pure and simple. Everyone knew it, but nobody batted an eye in those days,” said a retired attorney, still living in Cayman, who refused to reveal his name.”

Mr. Knipp then adds this piece of nonsense underneath: “Despite working as a journalist in Cayman for more than a year, it proved impossible to quote any expat resident in Cayman by name for this article, because foreign workers who upset the government can have their Work Permits pulled and be told to leave.” Mr. Knipp couldn’t have tried very hard, but it all makes a good story doesn’t it?

And next we hear about how John Grisham’s best selling novel ‘The Firm’ “caused fury with the Cayman bankers for making their tiny island a cheesy catch phrase for artful dodgers and tax cheats.” Plus: “In recent years, no major financial scandal has seemed complete without money being funneled through the Caymans.”

We then have a list of all these ‘financial scandals’ and Barack Obama’s name appears a few times along with Senator Max Baucus berating Ugland House and its list of 12,000 [shell] companies – ‘The kind of tax scam that we need to end.’

William Millard, “one of the world’s most-wanted tax exiles” is revealed as having been found living on Grand Cayman. Our “Anglophile politicians feel betrayed by the British.” Anglophiled?!!!! How would Premier McKeeva Bush et al like to be described as ‘Anglophiled’?

We now move on to the decline in Cayman’s tourism industry, photographs of buildings with ‘For Sale’ notices and the “growing number of [disgruntled] young Caymanians” with the expats. We have another long quote from an un-named expat businessman who “has recently moved from Cayman to the U.S” saying that: “Today’s Caymanians are ill-equipped to live in their own country that is dominated by the off-shore banking industry.” Violent crime is mentioned all in the same breath along with a “shamefully substandard school system, an inept police force and dead-end jobs that none of them want.” The government has long bent over backwards to accommodate the hedge fund industry. I have to ask why this expat businessman is un-named? He’s left the Cayman Islands. Perhaps he has relatives here and is worried about reprisals against them?

We have quotes of doom from a London based fund manager and the ‘Financial Times’ – “the Caymans will wither on the vine” is one such proclamation. The Cayman government ‘quietly’ opened an office in Hong Kong. Deepwater Horizon who caused the oil disaster in the Gulf is mentioned as having been a Cayman client. Nearly a dozen high profile murders comes next including a female rights activist and the death of a 4 year old in a shoot out. Do you see where this is going?

The final ‘nail in the coffin’ is another unknown quote from an ‘irate expat banker’ informing us that “billion dollar funds can be moved very quickly.”

Hmm. Have you got your suitcase packed? I expect you are like me – “No!” In relation to other places in the World at this time – the Caymans are still paradise. I can only wonder who upset Mr. Knipp during his twelve month stint here?


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