The Cayman Islands: a tropical paradise

ZF2FD Grand Cayman Islands

Frank, KK5XX will be active from Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands, IOTA NA – 016, June 10 – 17, 2020, call sign ZF2FD. He will be operating on 80, 40, 20m, CW, SSB bands. ZF2FD’s latest DX spots are QSL via home call sign, LOTW, eQSL. Address for QSL directive is Frank C Drewes, III, 2901 BROOKHOLLOW DRIVE, DENTON, TX, 76207-1212, USA.

The Cayman Islands: a tropical offshore paradise

There are three main islands that make up the Cayman Islands group – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman:

Grand Cayman is home to only about 55,000 people and most of them are indigenous. This means that you will be immersed in the local culture from the first day of your stay. It is 35 kilometers long and 6.5 kilometers wide, with the North Sound Lagoon (56 km2) taking up a significant portion of the area.

Cayman Brac has the most impressive geography, even more beautiful, we believe, than Grand Cayman. Located 8 kilometers west of Cayman Brac, it is 9 kilometers long and only 2 kilometers wide. The eastern edge of the island rises 46.6 meters above sea level – the highest point of the Caymans.

Less than two hundred people live on Little Cayman. It is only 16 kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide and is one of the least developed islands in the Caribbean. The island is very popular with tourists who appreciate privacy – at their disposal are three tiny resorts or a few private cottages.

Grand Cayman is the most visited island, but at the same time, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman also have a lot to offer.

The Cayman Islands are above the boundary of two tectonic plates (the place where they touch), one moving eastward and the other westward. Small tremors resulting from plate movement are sometimes recorded by seismic laboratories. The last noticeable earthquake occurred in 2004, but even then the population suffered no material loss.

Jamaica, Florida, and Cuba are in close proximity to the islands, making them a central region in the Caribbean. English is the official and main spoken language, with various dialects occurring. Spanish is also frequently used.

The islands are in the UTC -5 time zone and there is no daylight saving time.

Christopher Columbus once named these places “Las Tortugas” because of the high population density of sea turtles swimming in the nearby waters. By the late eighteenth century, uncontrolled fishing had wiped out the native turtles, but the population has now been restored through the efforts of government conservation organizations.

ZF2FD Blue Iguana, Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands

Blue iguana, Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands. Photo by Stephen Mlodinow.

Climate and weather

The pleasant tropical climate is one of the main assets of the territory, so tourism is of paramount importance for the economy. Temperatures are moderate throughout the year, averaging about 27 C. The rainy season lasts from mid-May to October, and the dry season the rest of the year. The Caymans are cool from November through March, with temperatures ranging from 18-24 C. Rainfall in Georgetown averages about 1,500 mm per year, although the eastern parts of Grand Cayman and other islands are drier.

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The unique economy of the tropical resort

The economy depends on banking, tourism, and other services. The Caymans have the highest per capita income in the Caribbean.

The physical beauty and excellent climate of the islands have made them a tourist paradise. Tourism has continued to grow steadily since the early 1990s as the islands have gained a good reputation as a picturesque and convenient diving destination.

The tourism business is supported by a well-developed air and sea transportation system. Airports on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and a private airstrip on Little Cayman facilitate tourist traffic. Cruise ships call at Grand Cayman, bringing in about a million visitors annually.

International finance has become an integral component of the economy. The Cayman Islands are known as an offshore banking center because of the lack of direct taxes and liberal banking laws, which usually ensure confidentiality of transactions. Hundreds of banks and trust companies, including most of the world’s top 50 banks, are registered in the Cayman Islands, making it one of the largest financial centers in the world.

The income paid by registered businesses contributes significantly to the state budget, so the main occupations are clerical and service and construction work. Agriculture occupies only a small amount of the Caymans, and most of the food on the islands must be imported. The main crops are citrus and bananas, as well as mangoes, coconuts, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Livestock, mostly cattle and poultry, and turtles are raised.

There are few exports. Major imports are machinery and transport equipment, other manufactured goods, fuel, and food. The United States is Cayman’s main import and export trading partner. Other sources of imports and export destinations are Jamaica and Great Britain.

ZF2FD Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands. DX NewsGand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands. DX News

Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands. Photo by Jerry and Pat Donahoe.

What you didn’t know before about the Cayman Islands

1.The Cayman Islands are not islands

The Cayman Islands are not islands at all: they are part of a mountain formation called the Cayman Ridge, which rises more than 7,500 meters (comparable to the size of a very large mountain in the Himalayas) from the ocean floor. All three islands are extremely flat and low-lying. The coasts are limestone strips with numerous marine fossils, interspersed with sandy beaches and surrounded by coral reefs.

  1. It was in the Cayman Islands that scuba diving became the wonderful hobby (and for some, professional activity) that it is today. This wonderful aquatic pastime was first introduced in 1957. Today, the numerous dive sites scattered throughout the Cayman Islands ensure that divers, both local and international, have a great experience here.
  2. Stingray is a stingray contact dive destination.

Stingray, a short boat ride from Grand Cayman, is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with hundreds of friendly South Atlantic stingrays in open water. A fisherman named Captain Marvin Ebanks discovered the spot (which is actually a shallow sandbank as deep as his waist) when he decided to jump in there to collect waste from fishing nets.

  1. Bioluminescence “fairy dust.”

North Sound Lagoon on Grand Cayman is one of the few places in the world where you can see the phenomenon of bioluminescence with the naked eye. Best described as underwater fairy dust, it is caused by the reaction of single-celled organisms, causing them to glow green or blue, and can be observed at night.

  1. Seven Mile Beach is actually less than seven miles.
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Did you know that this world-famous and award-winning beach is not actually seven miles long? It’s about five and a half miles. In the winter, the water surrounding Seven Mile Beach is still a very comfortable temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. Perfect for any kind of swimming or diving. There is a public area two feet from the waterline on the beach, so anyone can walk on the soft white sands.

ZF2FD Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands. Tourist attractions

Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands. Photo by Too Tall Bob.

6. The Cayman Islands are the culinary capital of the Caribbean. In the Cayman Islands, there are more than 200 restaurants where you can eat every day, and the mudslide cocktail was invented here. The Wreck Bar and Grill in Rom Point is believed to have been the place where the delicious mudslide cocktail consisting of vodka, Baileys and Kahlua was invented in the ’70s.

7. The Cayman Islands are actually a British Overseas Territory and its head is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 8. The Cayman Islands are quite open to foreign ownership of land, and the real estate brokers association here ensures that all land transfers are handled according to strict international standards. 9. Pirate Week is celebrated here annually from the twelfth to the twenty-second of November. There are many fun events and activities, including a mock “sea pirate invasion.” 10. If you want to drive, make sure you adhere to the rules of left-hand traffic, because the transport system is organized similar to that in Britain. 11. The total area of the three Cayman Islands is about 264 km2 or about the size of Washington, D.C.

The Cayman Islands: basic facts about offshore and the islands

The Cayman Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea and yet remain British territory, and also one of the most popular offshore destinations for corporations specializing in tax evasion. Here are 10 simple facts about this tropical paradise and life there.

Global inequality is ever-expanding. Sixty-two people now own roughly the same amount of wealth that the poor half of the world’s population collectively possesses. That said, approximately £7.6 trillion of the world’s wealth is stored in offshore accounts.

It has also been calculated that perfectly legal tax evasion (through many channels, not just tax havens) reduces the UK Treasury’s annual revenue by £20bn.

The Cayman Islands are some of the most famous tax havens on earth, but like all offshore, they want to show the world that they have nothing to hide. Here are 10 facts about this tropical paradise and life there.

1. it is a British Overseas Territory, which includes three small islands in the Caribbean Sea.

The Cayman Islands are 4,500 miles from Britain (and an hour’s flight from Miami and Cuba), but resemble Britain in the 1950s.

Every year, the entire island celebrates the British Queen’s birthday – with a full military parade, followed by a traditional tea party with sandwiches, in 32-degree heat.

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2. Everything is expensive here – because no one pays taxes.

It’s not just big corporations that don’t pay taxes here – no one pays taxes at all.

But how do the islands support themselves?

Everything else is taxed. You can see this clearly in the supermarket. For example, a bag of fish sticks costs £8.50 (i.e. about 2-3 times more expensive than in a normal British supermarket).

That’s a reasonable price if you’re a billionaire, but if you live on a modest income, this form of indirect taxation makes life more expensive than it is in the UK.

3. The Cayman Islands are not a “tax haven,” but an “international financial center.”

In fact, officially it is. The Prime Minister of the islands, Olden McLaughlin, claims that the Cayman Islands are an “international financial center” .

The Cayman Islands are struggling to improve their image. The Caymans are in constant fierce competition with other international financial centers: Switzerland, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, the U.S. state of Delaware, and, of course, London itself.

As of 2016, for most tax havens, the carefree days when investigators of corruption and financial crime could not reach them are a thing of the past, and that is bad for business.

If the Caymans manage to attract clients in the form of legitimate big international corporations like Facebook, it is much more profitable than taking money from a Colombian drug lord or a corrupt soccer official.

4. There are twice as many companies as people in the Caymans.

The main work in these Caribbean islands is not fishing or tourism, but financial services.

Hundreds of accountants and lawyers work tirelessly in large glass and concrete buildings in Georgetown, the capital of the Cayman Islands. And a stone’s throw from Seven Mile Beach, around parked Ferraris, chickens strut and peck.

When Barack Obama criticized tax havens, he singled out one building in the Caymans in that speech, Ugland House, which he claimed was the legal seat of “12,000 corporations. It’s either the largest office building in the world or the largest tax scam” .

But Obama was wrong – there are about 20,000 companies registered in this building, and about 100,000 companies in the Cayman Islands as a whole.

The list of these companies includes well-known names of British business: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, BP, Manchester United, etc.

In total, the Cayman Islands are home to almost twice as many companies as people. Naturally, if you visit Jorodgetown, you won’t see signs or other evidence of their presence. But on paper they are here.

5. Tom Cruise is guilty of a bad image of the Caymans.

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the Caymans’ proximity to Miami and Cuba made it a convenient transshipment point for money laundering. Airplanes arriving on the island would unload bags of money directly onto the beach.

As a result, the Caymans have become synonymous with “shady dealings” in Hollywood movies, one of which was Sidney Pollack’s famous 1993 film The Firm, where Tom Cruise played the role of a young lawyer.

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According to the island’s chief realtor, the affable Michael Joseph, “In any Hollywood movie you can probably predict where the bad guys are going to hide their money – in the Caymans.” (Although he himself named his dog Pablo – after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar).

The Caymans are trying to change their image, and Jude Scott of Cayman Finance, one of the key figures in the islands’ financial industry, believes that attacks on the Caymans’ image are “politically motivated” by competitors.

To some extent, the Caymans are a useful scapegoat to distract attention from the fact that all international corporations withdraw their profits through a complex network of subsidiaries in different jurisdictions.

6. It’s not just the rich who live in the Caymans.

The trappings of a millionaire’s lifestyle are immediately apparent – Ferraris, speedboats and yachts all around.

But many in the Cayman Islands live in poverty. Hell (literally “Hell”) is a small town in the northern part of the island that gets its name from a bizarre formation of limestone rocks.

This town is also mostly inhabited by the poorer part of the population. Tourists can buy a T-shirt in the souvenir shop that reads, “I’ve been to hell! And survived!”

And just like in London, some of the local beggars and homeless live directly in the shadow of the glass towers in the heart of Georgetown’s financial district.

7. Great Britain may end up just like the Caymans.

The Cayman Islands do not have the same level of social support as Britain, where the public sector accounts for about 20% of the economy. Here the public sector is closer to 40%.

Emily is a retired civil servant living in a house full of damp and mold. Her monthly mortgage was £1,500 (about twice the UK average) – and she couldn’t cope with those payments. She is on the verge of eviction and can only rely on local Christian charity to secure her housing.

All of this may sound like a return to the Victorian era. But Britain itself is on a path of unprecedented public sector cuts, which in the future means the situation in which the Cayman Islands now find themselves.

8. Britain invented the Caymans by relying on the principle of trickle-down wealth.

In the 1960s, the British empire finally disintegrated, and the former British colonies faced a choice. Many of them, such as Jamaica, took the path of independence. But the Cayman Islands chose to remain dependent. And Whitehall (the street where the British government is located) had a plan for them.

Government official John Coomber was invited to a meeting at the Foreign Office, jabbed his finger at a dot on the globe and said, “That’s where you’re going.”

During the ’60s, legislation was drawn up for the Caymans to help Britain gain a foothold in the financial services sector, by which countries like Switzerland had secured super-richness for decades.

The cunning plan was that the profits from these services would flow across the ocean back to Britain. But it didn’t turn out quite as planned.

9. “Offshore” means more than is usually implied.

The corporate term “offshore” means a place where companies do business. Because of offshore, international (global) capitalism works effectively.

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Suppose a Japanese company and an American company want to make a deal. They have to pay taxes in Japan or America, but if they do this transaction in the Caymans, through a holding company, there is no tax for them!

But the offshore carries another important function: when it comes to who should be held liable for questionable transactions. The Caymans say London, and London says the Caymans.

This is quite handy when someone comes into the office and starts asking uncomfortable questions about who is to blame. It turns out that there are no culprits.

10. Not only public policy should be blamed, but also consumers.

The consequences of complete independence of tax shelters can be dire, according to American tax analyst Matt Gardner: “Our social contract is based on tax revenue. Breaking that principle over a long period of time makes it impossible for the government to perform its social functions.”

We, as consumers, are also complicit in this problem.

“We pay attention solely to the benefit we get from buying cheap goods online, thanks to international corporations and offshoring,” Gardner explains, “but we can’t assess the long-term impact of this scheme on the services we receive, on us, and on our own tax burden, and I think this situation benefits corporations.”

The zero-tax scheme allows us as consumers to get low prices for many goods and services, but forgo funding for schools and hospitals in the future. Ultimately, something has to be sacrificed.

The Cayman Islands are on offshore lists and rankings in 2020.

Less than 2 weeks after Britain left the European bloc, the EU raised the issue of putting the Cayman Islands (which are British overseas territories) back on the blacklist of tax havens.

The EU blacklist is an attempt to compensate for the annual budget losses from aggressive tax evasion, estimated at about £506 billion.

Territories associated with EU member states have also avoided the blacklist and Britain has lobbied hard to protect its overseas territories from similar EU scrutiny in the past.

In 2020, the Cayman Islands joined the EU’s “uncooperative” list. joining Fiji, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Last year the UK and its “corporate tax haven network” was recognized by TJN (Tax Justice Network) as the world’s grandest corporate tax evasion system.

The British territories and UK dependent territories were ranked 4 in the top 10 tax havens by the TJN index.

The Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands’ status in this ranking has increased since they appeared on the “gray list” in 2018.

The EU has expressed concern that the tax regimes of these territories have facilitated the development of offshore entities that attract profits without real economic activity.

The EU now believes that the Cayman Islands have failed to introduce the necessary legislation to address the problems identified in Brussels.

EU blacklisted countries face additional difficulties in gaining access to EU financial institutions and European companies must take additional compliance measures if they do business in these territories.

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