Governor struggles to explain offshore sector

| 25/01/2016 | 36 Comments
CNS Business

Governor Helen Kilpatrick on BBC

(CNS Business): Quizzed over what the Cayman Islands and its offshore sector means to the people of Britain, the governor struggled to answer Jacques Peretti in the documentary aired on the BBC in the UK on Friday evening. “Britain’s Trillion Pound Island”, in which the producer and filmmaker tried to understand how the financial services industry here impacts British taxpayers, underscored the persistent reputation that Cayman is a tax haven. Marcus Cumber, one of several people Peretti spoke to while he was here, said he believed it is a tax haven, despite the premier’s instance it is not.

Premier Alden McLaughlin stood up well to Peretti’s questions, but the UK’s representative was considerably more uncomfortable. Kilpatrick told the filmmaker that because Cayman’s offshore sector makes the island self-sufficient financially, the only advantage the UK territory offers British taxpayers is that it is not dependent on the UK Treasury for subsidies.

Asked about the estimated direct cost to the UK taxpayer when taxes are going through Cayman instead of the British Treasury, she struggled to explain what part Cayman plays on the global financial stage. Governor Kilpatrick said that the UK government could not close down the industry here and said that the tax laws in Britain would have to be changed to address the issues raised by Peretti.

The programme, which was designed for a British audience, also showed, probably for the first time on UK television, that the Cayman Islands is by no means merely a playground for the rich and demonstrated the massive equity gap that has increasingly become a hot topic locally.

Peretti visited the home of a former civil servant who is facing eviction from her damp and mould-ridden home because she can no longer afford the $1,500 a month mortgage, which brought into sharp focus the real challenges that ordinary people face living in a country where, according to local businessman Mario Rankin, who also claims to be among their number, decisions have been made by governments over the last few years in the interests of the rich and not the ordinary Caymanian.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    that couple with their fish fingers get all they deserve… and I was an expat for four years in CI. If you want to live somewhere get involved in the local culture …

    the reporter I thought was addressing most of the questions the average punter on the street of the UK would have about Cayman, so he did come across as dense at the start

    fact is that the answer to it all was what the guv said near the end: Any tax changes have to come from UK. It ain’t illegal.

    as for the rest, Marcus looked like a XXXXX and the report actually did address the haves v have nots on island

    as Alden said, a welfare state costs money… far be it from CI govt to add tiny tiny 0.000001 percentage of transactions as tax to implement something eh

    • Anonymous says:

      The CIG doesn’t keep track of the money it collects now; why would we propose to reduce the competitive appeal of this jurisdiction in an effort to give them more money to fritter away? Why are there no demands to tighten the wing-nuts on the substantial revenue they currently collect? Fix that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kilpatrick should answer “What I see happening is pure, unadulterated, bu bureaucratic harassment”

  3. Just UK Driftwood says:

    As a UK ex pat the programme was a joke.
    The self made millionaire was on daddies money, the builder sold plumbs not what I heard and how does a retired civil servant have such an apparent massive mortgage
    Ps nice car in the shot!!!.
    The governor as a high ranking and civil servant should have know better and the questions to her should have been directed to the UK they make the laws.
    The fish finger couple looked stupid along with Kennedy from Cayman 27 and why interview a traffic cop from RCIPS who has nothing to do with financial crime.
    But lastly the premier that interview was a disgrace he came across as a bumbling fool who did not have a clue about the finance regime of this country it was was pitiful…

  4. Bluff Patrol says:

    Poor performance by the Governor and by Alden. Clearly not briefed and ill-prepared.

    • Garfield says:

      Mind boggling. The Governor needs to be better briefed by her staff on what is going on here.

  5. Anonymous says:

    To those confused about the income of the San Sebastian couple – we should bear in mind that it was a Brit-to-Brit conversation.

    Therefore, it was based on a weekly wages perspective – as opposed to monthly earnings.

    That being said, it is rather unfortunate that their personal business is all out in the street like that. In fact, I hope they were fibbing a bit – simply because no one needs to know that information but the two of them.

    Interestingly, what stood out most to me in the documentary was the governor’s response to his questions, especially when one takes into consideration her professional background. (Been debating the point on Facebook ever since actually.)

    At the end of the day the documentary was not a total train wreck. Pretty much just more of the same that is always expected.

    – UnnaDoneKnow


  6. Anonymous says:

    This journalist could have saved himself a plane ticket and a lot of embarrassment if he just googled his questions!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Should have interviewed me so I could tell how CIG has left its retirees to fend for themselves for healthcare!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    If Marcus was made of chocolate he would eat himself – what a self centered arrogant man he came across as.
    The English couple, well if you want Frozen English Fish Fingers that’s what you pay, you could have got nice local ones for a third of the price – so don’t moan.
    Thought the Governor handled herself well under the circumstances, the reporter should have had more respect.
    I wonder how the lady who is getting her house taken away got herself into that position after working for 40 years and getting substantial government and ark handouts to help her after Ivan. Her repairs should be long taken care of. You cannot take the money and spend it on something else then moan on TV – that’s not on.
    Having talked to many persons overseas who watched the show, it was actually mainly positive feedback, as they got to see so much more of the island than on any other Cayman program they have watched

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please the English couple living in the San Sebastien only making 2000 a month. No wonder they are broke.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to beat up on the poor woman but she is a great visible example of what is wrong with employment issues in Cayman. Could someone please explain to me what skills she has that could not be filled by a local? Alden, you are in charge of immigration. Don’t you wonder?

  10. Anonymous says:

    When a guy comes with an agenda, no matter what is said to the contrary he will edit and take out of context material come to his own conclusions.. I know of people that he interviewed and he cut them out of the show.
    Marcus on the other hand.. WOW how arrogant is that guy? Using his grandfathers wealth and influence to drive a brand new Ferrari on a pot hole filled island?? It was if the focus had shifted from Cayman to him that he has to explain how big of a house he is going to build “in the most prestigious neighborhood” in Cayman??
    And it is a good thing he drew that picture in the sand cause I don’t think anyone could have figured it our otherwise.

    If someone came here and asked me why Man U is incorporated here, I’d pick up the phone and call them and ask them.. how are we suppose to know??

    • Precisely..the REAL ANSWERS to all the financial industry ARE IN THE UK..The companies who USE Cayman to lodge billions are ALL First World countries , who can “mandate ” legal changes that we MUST ADHERE TO..BUT they cant seem to “mandate” that their “criminal” (?) Tax Avoidance companies whose shareholders are CITIZENS OF THEIR OWN JURISDICTIONS pay what they say they are SUPPOSED TO PAY..SMH..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Suggest that all those interviewed, Permier included, go online and read Uglandhouse explained.

    That as the BBC fellow appeared to be working here with his crew, trust they were all on valid work permits, contibuting to the indirect tax pool.

    BBC man do come out again and I challenge you to open a personal bank account without being a resident or owning property here, see how far you get!

    Off to buy a remote controlled helicopter with a camera, watch out Vista del Mar!

    • Anonymous says:

      10:34 Visiting journalists don’t need work permits – check the immigration law. As for the rest of the crew? This is the BBC, remembering what happened after Ivan who in their right mind would refuse them access.

      As for the bank account? He only tackled the creation of a personal account, the kind we get our salaries paid into. Both you and I know that opening an offshore account is not only much easier than he showed but you can do it through a third-party. Although he did a good job on the company registration he missed that point. The other thing he missed was that the regulatory laws may be in place but, unlike the secrecy laws, they don’t get applied.

      It was a rather superficial report that concentrated on the tax haven issues and ignored the real problem, which is that corruption and graft are a way of life on these islands. You can’t boast about how well the offshore industry is regulated here until that gets dealt with.

      • Anonymous says:

        But he didn’t open a bank account. He went into the bank, was given a list of requirements and told to come back when he has them. Actually the bank brushed him off.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. 24hr compliance and conflict check before being permitted application forms for a new account, which were never submitted. I opened a new corporate account last year and it took 8 months. Eight. Months.

  12. Anonymous says:


    Was the referenced grandfather of the buffed one who arrived here as a diplomat do so as a wealthy man?
    So interesting is the trend within the British empire of descendants of governors, FCO officials,diplomats and such being rather well-off?

    What was the spark of this impressive wealth? Was it genius on his part, simply good timing, or was he bequeathed some local property by a Caymanian relative? Hmm, no – that last one can’t be it. Ah, maybe he was coincidentally in the right place at the right time when some deals were going down?

    Or could it be that they were overly-rewarded, i.e. native population screwed over, for their service to the UK?

    There is a word for all this … what is it again?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or maybe he worked hard and set up a business which serviced private aircraft when very few were coming here and has gained significantly by the increase in such traffic. My God, a Caymanian has done well for himself and some of us cannot mask our envy – a particularly British rather than Caymanian trait I thought. Marcus is a decent guy who gives generously – sure he is flamboyant but he is not deserving of ridicule. He has done more and given more for Cayman then the average 100 of us ever would, and that doesn’t include his financial contributions.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Our Governor was thoughtful and considered in her responses, as was Jude. They at least knew what they were talking about and raised the key points the BBC glossed over/failed to grasp. Decades of overly complex foreign tax law have created the global appetite for competitive tax neutral domiciles. To the extent there are any issues with foreign tax codes, they ought be addressed with the governments that authored those mechanisms. How could it be expected that the Cayman Islands should take responsibility for foreign gov’t regulations? The fact that the Cayman Islands revenue model has never required a penny of bailout cash from UK and (for the most part) functions without direct taxation should be (and is) an enviable success story.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mr Marcus, he look so Buff.

  15. Turtle says:

    The lady who brought the fish fingers for 8.5 pounds. Lol, their breakfast my list have cost $100 fully loaded.

    For the poor caymanian lady living in the house, check out their car.

    As for the show its self, the filming of the island looked great, if I was a millionaire and saw the video I would be planning a trip here. Safe, clean Caribbean island. Of course it cost more to come here. Looks way better than other Caribbean islands.

    Over all it was a joke.

    Marcus and a Mike should go naked on his property more often. Lol

    As for Mario. Picking plumbs and selling them at school. He never sold anything like that to me.

  16. Caymanian-ish says:

    One big set up, and I’m sure a few seem pretty foolish this morning!!!!
    Some nice camera shots though.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alden did not “stand up well”. He came across as shifty, clueless and hopeless.

    • Anonymous says:

      I suspect that no one prepared for these interviews. Each person should have sat down with in-house PR professionals and fielded questions and had their answers critiqued. This is especially essential as these so-called journalists are not coming in to do balanced reporting. That outcome is hardly likely anyway as they themselves know and understand very little about the operations and reasons for being of an international financial centre and the people of the Cayman Islands, and arrive with skewed perspectives and biases that they are not open to changing with new information.

      Governments are caught between a rock and a hard place with the external news initiatives — you damn if you do and damn if you don’t. Overall, it is better to give it a go — but prepare, prepare, prepare.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:45 I’d be a bit more blunt – he looked like he was not only talking complete BS but knew it.

      However, at the end of it all I’d say the most damaging part was the footage of cruise shippers in GT. Bet that did wonders for our image as a high-end stayover tourism destination.

  18. Colon-ist says:

    Watching this made me crinch and throw up a little in my mouth. The Governess was out smarted and thrown under the double decker bus for sure.

    She should have simply said, ‘it’s all legal, that they do the same in London for other corporations and countries, that those/any benefits are also lost in those domiciles as well. Cayman Islands is just the little one amongst others that can be bullied, end of story’. And then offered Jacques some tea and crumpets.

    Further input:
    The word douche came to mind a few times.

    And just who is a ‘construction magnate’? – nothing it seems stick, so that label was wrong.

    Paula, you should buy local, fresh fish, not the frozen Birds Eye fish sticks. Yuck. I bet it’s much nicer here than jolly old England, isn’t it? You should have been more positive about the place you made your new home.

    Marcus, Marcus. Anyone that knows him, need I say more? And man, what a chest! 007 you’re not, but those pecks! And remember, N.I.M.B.Y doesn’t mean ‘Nude In My BackYard’, dude.

    I wonder if I can get Pasquale to do my hair next time he’s down for some island fun? *Rolls eyes.

    Michael, stick to selling real estate. You didn’t do yourself any favours, just over promoted yourself, that’s a turn off to some perspective buyers. Modesty, try it next time.

    Overall, it makes a nice promotional piece, as the views and beautiful production made me want to move there and I’m already here!

    • Anonymous says:

      Colon-ist you are too funny!! The problem with Marcus, Michael and the bus lady is that they all got more than they ever expected, and certainly not by being humble and smart. They were in the right place at the right time. Talk about biting the hand that feeds thrm .None of them have a damn clue about how a financial centre works. As for the Reporter, well words cannot describe that buffoon. A+ to the company that did the photography.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The whole thing was a stitch up.

    Asking Marcus Cumber to explain how offshore finance works is like asking Tony Travers how to work out to get ripped guns.

    Alden, Jude and the Gov should have seen it coming a mile off and been much better prepared for the barrage of entirely predictable questions.

    And if you’re buying Iceland fish fingers for the same price as a pound of wild Alaskan salmon you deserve to live out your days in penury and ridicule.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t know that English expats still ate frozen fish fingers. I guess everyone is still trying on to their culture. They like fish fingers, we love turtle stew. Finally we are even.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t think that xpats still ate frozen fish fingers with all the fresh fish around.

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