Cayman’ PR agent rumbles their client

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CQ Politics in the USA has reported:

With President Obama pledging to crack down on offshore tax havens, it was no surprise that the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association — in one of the most popular havens — would hire a Washington lobbying firm to look after its interests. The firm it picked is Quinn Gillespie & Associates, run by former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn.

But while Quinn Gillespie has a reputation for effective ‚Äî and quiet ‚Äî diplomacy on its clients’ behalf, its Caribbean client seems interested in anything but quiet.

In reality, the association’s chairman, Anthony Travers, says, it’s the reputation of the Caymans that U.S. officials, led by President Obama, have unfairly maligned. “We have been used,” he says. “Everyone here is disillusioned and frustrated that the correct story is being so badly mauled.”

He continued:

A remark by Obama this month ‚Äî that a single Caymans office complex listed as the official home of 12,000 businesses is “either the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world” ‚Äî in Travers’ view “really beggars belief.” In reality, he argues, the islands have long had a cooperative relationship with U.S. authorities, and illegal tax evasion is nearly impossible ‚Äî although, he says, some companies do maintain a Cayman address in order to legally avoid some federal taxes.

“It’s lawful, legal, and it’s the law of your land,” says Travers, whose association’s members include accounting firms such as KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. “How anyone can talk of it in terms of moral opprobrium is to me extraordinary.”

Quinn Gillespie helped Travers publicize a sternly worded letter to the president on the subject, and the firm says his views should be taken in context. “He doesn’t know anything about the United States,” says Patricia McMurray, a communications staffer with the firm, by way of explaining Travers’ tough talk. “He lives on an island with 45,000 people. They are all down there feeling they’ve been attacked. When President Obama calls you out on national TV, that’s a big deal in the Caymans.”

The sort of PR agents you want then!

Perhaps they should also have noted that Mr Travers was until recently the tenant of the notorious Ugland House. He was after all a partner in Maples & Calder, who populate that office. And that, to paraphrase his PR agent might explain just why he does not understand. Self interest is known to get in the way of comprehension, after all.

The PR agent should also do a little more research: most reports say 54,000 people live in Cayman.