The weird and wonderful world of Cayman – where all is not what it seems

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The Cayman Islands are passing a new law on national statistics, which happens to have fallen into my inbox. Section 7 of this law says:

7. With the approval of the Governor, the Director of the Economics and Statistics Office shall collect,whether in conjunction with the census or not, statistics relating to all or any of the following matters-

(a) population and housing thereof;
(b) immigration and emigration;
(c) vital occurrences and morbidity;
(d) social and educational matters;
(e) imports and exports;
(f) trade and commerce;
(g) industry and merchandising;
(h) land tenure, occupation and condition of land, and the produce thereof;
(i) primary and secondary production;
(j) wages, hours and conditions of labour and cost-of-living index;
(k) employment, unemployment and pay rolls;
(l) industrial disturbances and disputes;
(m) injuries, accidents and compensation;
(n) wholesale and retail prices;
(o) stocks of manufactured and unmanufactured goods;
(p) transport and communication by land, water and air;
(q) transfers, mortgages and leases of land;
(r) fire, marine, life, accident and other insurance and assurance;
(s) incomes and earnings;
(sa) the system of national accounts and balance of payments; and
(t) such other matters as may be prescribed:

Provided that no information shall be required to be given under this section  by or on behalf of any company exempted under section 164 of the Companies Law (2011 Revision), or any trust exempted under section 70(1) of the Trusts Law (2011 Revision).

I added the highlight. Why? Because what it says is that Cayman will collect data on everything that happens there except the most important data of all - which is what happens in its offshore sector.

The result is, of course, that the data produced will be meaningless! It's like producing statistics on the economy of the UK whilst banning the inclusion of any data on the services sector.

But it's more important than that though. This law makes clear tat the pretence of the offshore world is very definitely continuing. I explained this in a paper, here. In that paper I explained how the offshore world pretends that activity in their offshore sector takes place 'elsewhere'. They never ask where 'elsewhere' is - because if they did they would find it either does not exist, because the offshore entity is not registered where it actually trades or they'd find that it did not comply with regulation in that other place. And of course they wish to deny both those things could happen, just as much as they want to deny that the only place where many of these offshore entities record anything is in Cayman, if they bother at all.

As a result it is clear Cayman are refusing to ask questions about what happens in this sector as they know they would not want the answers to the questions. But in the process they expose the deceit at the heart of the offshore world, writ large here in Cayman Island legislation.