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Offshore finance editor predicts Cayman’s demise

Cayman Islands

A specialist UK-based website editor dealing with the offshore financial world has warned that the introduction of automatic exchange systems and other international pressures pose a serious threat to the future of the Cayman Islands financial service sector. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph in an article that suggests the division between the ex-pats and locals is causing social unrest here, Michael Brinksman from "Which Offshore" said that it was only the beginning of the islands' troubles. In an article that’s sees local publisher Colin Wilson also painting a poor picture of Cayman post Hurricane Ivan, international press reports for the jurisdiction, which have recently been much more positive, appear to have taken a turn for the worse.

Brinksman tells the Telegraph that the threats to the offshore sector will leave Cayman with just tourism, which will bring unpopular development and social upheaval.

“A big threat to the island is the prevalence of the G5 information exchange treaty and the US's FATCA programme, two similar agreements which require Cayman's finance industry to share information with foreign governments for tax purposes. With these agreements in mind, the longevity of Cayman's main business is looking doubtful,” the "Which Offshore" editor stated. "If their financial services industry takes a big hit, all that's left is tourism, with the usual unpopular development and social upheaval that would bring."

The bulk of the article, however, is based on comments by Wilson, the owner of the beleaguered i-News, who claims the 2004 hurricane was the start of the change for the worst in Cayman. He accuses government of introducing the rollover policy after the storm and kicking out all of the good ex-pats, but allowing anyone with a relative in Cayman to take up residence, which brought a surge of criminals into the islands.

Painting a dismal picture of a growing cultural divide, Wilson claims that the politicians triggered tensions between ex-patriates and locals by fuelling a "they took our jobs" mentality.

The freelance writer of the report, Sam Shelley, stated that he contacted three local politicians, all of whom said they did not wish to contrinute indicating that because of the sensitivity of immigration issues, they did not feel it was appropriate for them to publicly comment.

Meanwhile, one ex-pat worker did have a few positive things to say about Cayman, mainly because she felt it was like Florida. However, she saved her best praise for Camana Bay, which Wilson had blamed for the “demise of the traditional Cayman look” that used to prevail.