Cayman has seen the truth – but will it act on it?

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I strongly recommend that you read a recent editorial in Cayman Net News, which appears to be edited by extraordinary people.

This editorial is remarkably prescient. I hope they will forgive me as they have before) in quoting them (in part, and with a slight change in ordering to retain the flow):

We have warned on at least one earlier occasion that, at some point, the billions of dollars lost by investors and creditors in companies like Enron and Parmalat through questionable Cayman subsidiaries, coupled with the politically charged issue of even more billions of dollars of taxes being lost through Cayman companies, will reach critical mass and, like nuclear fission, the resulting explosion and fallout will be devastating indeed. Should this happen, it could take 10 years or more to recover.

For many years, both public and private sectors in the Cayman Islands have been promoting our "seal of approval" in the shape of what is claimed to be financial regulation and supervision that meets internationally accepted standards. But, we have said it before, and we'll say it again, we need to go beyond what is currently "accepted". Registration or licensing without vigorous policing, could backfire if na?Øve investors perceive it as a seal of approval.

When things go wrong - and they will go wrong - those international 'standards' will change in the blink of an eye, according to the economic interests of the most influential jurisdiction involved, amidst all sorts of recriminations over why the Cayman Islands was not doing more to impose higher standards. Fatuous and self-serving talk about "bad eggs", "it wasn't our fault", "negative perceptions" or "educating the foreign media" is never going to be an acceptable excuse or solution to the problem.

In our opinion the clock is ticking and efforts must immediately be started to disarm this unexploded bomb before it blows up in our faces. Press releases, however well intentioned, are not going to cut it. We may as well try to shelter behind a piece of paper when our metaphorical bomb explodes.

We need substantive and efficacious measures to be taken and everyone with a long-term interest in the economic survival of the Cayman Islands needs to get involved. Regrettably, however, the numbers of people with the long-term interests of the Cayman Islands at heart has been substantially reduced as a result of the rollover policy and the foreign elements in the private sector will, when push comes to shove, take their money and run, leaving everyone else wondering what happened.

It is so good to see that some people share the perceptions I, and those I work with have of this issue. It's so good that some people native to the tax haven islands are willing to say these places are being colonised by those who abuse them. It's also a cause of sadness that this is the case.