Mr. Doucet plays by the rules

Daniel
Doucet returned recently to the Cayman Islands — and what he calls his roots
— to a warm welcome, after leaving in the 1970s due to circumstances beyond
his control that could have led to a less friendly reception.

When
he first came to the shores of Cayman in 1965, Mr. Doucet, of Montreal, Canada,
was 10 years old and knew very little English, owing to his French-Canadian
upbringing. Mr. Doucet’s family subsequently became successful in the
community, mainly through the development of the International Bank, which was
first run by his father, Jean Doucet, from the garage of their home.

The
bank grew substantially over the years and eventually became Sterling Bank,
which also had a branch in London.

The
elder Doucet was credited with marketing the Cayman Islands around the world as
a destination for investment and international business, He is said to have
mailed over 20,000 pamphlets about the Islands to potential investors all
around the world and in one year spent some $250,000 on postage costs.

in
addition to being a well-known socialite in Grand Cayman, he was credited with
bringing a lot of business to the Islands and with helping a number of people
get off to a good start in life.

Many
in Cayman remember Jean Doucet for his good deeds in the community and for
helping wherever he could, even putting up funds to help with Barefoot Man’s
first album. Jean Doucet also wrote a book while he was in Cayman titled, “When
All The Banks Fail,” which his son said was a prelude to the global banking
crisis that began to unravel in 2008.

Due
to liquidity issues however, Jean Doucet’s empire eventually collapsed after it
was found that he had sold some clients’ gold to shore up the bank. He spent
nine months in prison, and shortly thereafter, the Doucet family left Grand
Cayman.

Despite
this unsavoury ending to what was otherwise seen as a Cinderella story, Daniel
Doucet, now 55, said he received a big welcome from the Caymanian people when
he returned for his class reunion at Triple C School.

“I
have been back once before, right after Hurricane Ivan, but the place was
ruined then and we couldn’t do much,” Mr. Doucet said. “I am getting to see a
lot of my old friends and it’s all been very emotional, especially our
thirty-year class reunion at Triple C, where I was able to revive a lot of my
old acquaintances and exchange contact information.”

Mr.
Doucet also reflected on the time he spent in Cayman before leaving in 1974. “I
used to play a little drums with the Barefoot Man but mostly with Daren and
Darel Dacres.”

He
also expressed surprise at the way Grand Cayman has developed. “The Seven Mile
Beach has changed so much. We used to walk on the road and you could see the
beach from the roadside, but now all you see are signs that say beach access.”

After
high school, Mr. Doucet attended Biscayne College in Miami, and “that was where
I found out things were changing in Cayman and I had to go live with my
mother,” he recalled.

He
said his father worked at a furniture store and did a lot of projects around
the community after returning to Canada.

Mr.
Doucet, who is a cab driver in Montreal and plays in a band there, also played
a few songs for his peers at the Triple C School reunion while in Cayman.

He
and his wife Cathy Barrett said their one wish for the Cayman Islands and the
people here is more respect. They added that with all the development and
progress, it is important that those who live visit and do business with Cayman
still value the innocence of the Caymanian people.  

Mr.
Doucet added that he would like to one day retire in the Cayman Islands,
regardless of the massive development the Island has undergone since the days
of International Bank.

“I’ll
always be the little boy from Cayman,” he said, adding that he still does not
fully understand to this day what happened to his father’s bank and why things
ended the way they did.

Jean
Doucet never returned to Cayman after taking a final tour of the Island shortly
after his release from prison. Daniel Doucet said his father still has a big
place in his heart for the Cayman Islands, and even though he is now in his
eighties and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the former banker was aware of
his son’s visit and looking forward to the news and pictures from the Cayman of
today.

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