Elements of the Cayman Islands Government reacted in different ways to last week’s release of the film Haven in the United States.
The film also premiered here on Saturday night.
The synopsis of the crime drama, which is directed by Caymanian filmmaker Frank E. Flowers, depicts familiar stereotypes of the Cayman Islands, including corrupt foreign businessmen coming here to launder money.
Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin praised the film.
‘It’s an amazing achievement for a 24-year-old from a small country like the Cayman Islands,’ he said.
Mr. McLaughlin said he had no criticisms of the film’s content.
‘I think we in Cayman need to stop sugar-coating every issue and to stop worrying about everything that is said about the harsh aspects of what we are living in,’ he said, adding that the film depicts Cayman with ‘warts, pimples and all – that’s just reality’.
Mr. McLaughlin said everything was not beautiful in the Cayman Islands. ‘It has its dirty underbelly as well,’ he said.
A different reaction to the film came from Director of Public Relations for the Portfolio of Finance and Economics Ted Bravakis.
Last Thursday, Mr. Bravakis issued an advisory to the private sector with guidance on how to respond to questions or requests for reactions from journalists.
‘Without prejudice to the positives associated with Haven, as we have seem from the experience of the film The Firm, there is also the potential for external commentators to elevate an artistic work of fiction to the status of fact,’ the advisory stated.
‘Therefore, we should be prepared to counter any negative rebound from the film relating to the financial services sector.’
The advisory recommended responses along the following lines:
‘Haven is a work of fiction,’ the advisory stated. ‘In relations to the U.S. in particular, Cayman has longstanding and highly effective law enforcement and regulatory cooperation arrangements that would in reality make us a very poor haven for U.S. (or indeed any other) criminals.
‘Our anti-money laundering standards are robust as well as our ability to do our part to combat financial crime, and an entertaining move does not change this.’
The advisory also suggested some other messages.
‘[Cayman has] a strong and transparent business record, developed over the past four decades,’ the advisory stated. ‘No country would claim to be able to completely prevent financial crime from ever occurring, but we are confident that our regime promotes legitimate business and can effectively deal with financial crime when it does occur.’
The advisory called the film ‘a work of art by an impressive young filmmaker’ and told recipients to feel free to refer anyone to the government Public Relations Unit if they had any doubts.