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Cayman Collapse – Much Ado about nothing?

McKeeva Bush

McKeeva Bush

The Cayman Islands have been singled out by the British press over allegations that this Offshore Financial Centre is on the verge of bankruptcy.  Are rumours regarding the demise of the world’s leading OFC wholly accurate or just dramatic headline copy?  The New European Economy is determined to find the answer.  Chief writer Matt Bysshe grills Cayman Leader of Government Business and Premier designate, McKeeva Bush on the real future of the Cayman Islands.

How has the global downturn reflected upon the Cayman Islands’ economy?  Is it still a good time to invest there?


The economic recession has had an impact in every corner of the globe so the Cayman Islands is no exception. However, I firmly believe that the worst of the downturn is behind us. Besides, an economic upturn usually follows a downturn so the future outlook is very positive. As an example I can say that investment opportunities in our real estate market are already quite lucrative.

The bottom line is that we have a secure business environment that has always been open and ready for business and we take special care to facilitate investment that is a good fit for us. Our recent Moody’s rating is “Aa3 with a stable outlook” and other economic indicators are also positive.  It is definitely a good time to invest in Cayman.

What advantages do the Cayman Islands offer investors compared with other parts of the Caribbean?

We have many competitive advantages that make us an attractive FDI location for savvy and sophisticated investors. The Cayman Islands is comprised of three distinct and unique islands, we have a stable banking environment and a sound regulatory regime, our workforce is highly educated and we’re easily accessible from major European and North American gateways.

On top of that, we have no exchange controls here and most importantly, the country is a zero tax jurisdiction so investors do not have to worry about income, property, corporation taxes or taxes on capital gains. There are also no restrictions on foreign ownership of property.


The Islands thrive on tourism and financial services; what specific sectors are you looking to grow and attract foreign investment?

In addition to continuing to retain our strong position as a tourist destination and as a top financial services centre, we’re now looking to diversify our economy by bolstering our Professional Services and Creative Industries offer; specifically film production in the latter case.

Research shows that FDI markets recorded over 3,000 projects generated in the Professional Services category within the last 5 ½ years and this number is growing.   The Cayman Islands is strategically positioned to capitalize on this trend as we already have a pro business regulatory environment. In fact, many highly respected international law and accounting firms have already set up shop here and we see no reason why we can’t expand our reach to attract HR, Management Consulting firms as well.

Film is another new focus area for us. We launched the Cayman Islands Film Commission in January 2009 to facilitate film, television, video and other media projects that want to take their productions here. We’ve had an excellent reception to our marketing efforts thus far and the Commission is working assiduously to build local capacity through education programs designed to prepare the local community to attract and retain motion picture productions.


Imports outweigh the Islands’ exports by 300 to one, how does this mesh with the Caymans’ policy of sustainable economic development?

The Cayman Islands is a service based economy and the revenues generated from our Tourism and Financial Services industries have been the primary engines for growth for the last two decades.  Additionally, much work is being done to ensure that the benefits of these industries accrue to the local population.  The needs of the economy are also being approached in an environmentally sustainable manner. As I already mentioned, we are now looking to add additional economic pillars which will contribute to the further growth and development of our three islands and the continuation of a good standard of life for our people.


Going forward, what is the country’s aim for the next five years?

My administration is charting a course to revitalize our economy and set a platform that will be sustainable and beneficial for all concerned. To accomplish this we will actively seek to attract new industries that can diversify our revenue base, practice strict fiscal discipline with regards to government spending, place greater emphasis on investor after care and continue to invest in the ongoing education of our workforce.   Finally, I’ve read that the Cayman Islands experience more hurricane strikes than anywhere else in the world.  Is this true and  can you assure investors that their money is safe there?

In the last 57 years, only 17 tropical storms and hurricanes have affected our three islands. Historic data from the Carib Storm Caribbean Hurricane Network indicates that Grand Cayman is ranked 31, Cayman Brac 35 and Little Cayman 36 of 60 countries in the frequency of hurricane impacts so we are by no means in the top 10 or even top 20 listings of countries most affected.

In response to investor assurances that their money is safe, I can quickly point to our quick recovery after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 to show the resilience of our country.  Despite a temporary setback, the Islands’ financial services industry was back in operation within a few days of the storm and our business infrastructure remains strong.

Since then, we have implemented a National Hurricane Response plan within the broader parameters of our Hazard Management risk identification and mitigation programme. Our Building Code Unit has also proven instrumental in monitoring post Ivan construction projects to ensure that buildings are up to standard and our telecommunication and utility companies are in a good position to get us through many adverse weather patterns. My message to investors is that the Cayman Islands is a welcoming business environment. We are in the process of developing and upgrading our systems to improve efficiencies and facilitate new and diverse investment projects.  

I invite all interested parties to contact the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau at 345.945.0943 to let us know how we can help you.



Title: The Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, M.Sc. (Hon.), JP

Job Description:   

 Leader of Government Business (Premier Designate) and  Minister of Financial Services, Tourism and Development


A realtor for some four decades and a career politician by profession, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, M.Sc. (Hon.), JP, has been a member of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly for almost 25 years.

His tenure also includes nine years with the Cayman Islands Executive Council/Cabinet during which he has served as Leader of Government Business, as a Minister, and as Leader of the Opposition.  Founding member and leader of the United Democratic Party. Political interests: National Tourism Management Policy; the National Environmental Policy Framework Plan, and the Cayman Islands Economic Development Plan.

Other achievements: 

Bush has donated considerable time and resources to the people of the Cayman Islands. Notably, his interest in younger citizens resulted in his being instrumental in forming the Islands’ Youth Parliament.  Officer since 1986 and a Justice of the Peace since 1993.  His dedication to the community earned him the Order of the British Empire (OBE) honour from the Queen in 1997. 

Private Life:

Married for the last 33 years with two children and three grandchildren.