Activist group CODEPINK organised the demonstration, which included people travelling in the Caribbean with the US weekly magazine The Nation and other cruise passengers.
Dressed in pink, the co-director of the organisation, Jodie Evans, standing in front of Ugland House, said: “In the United States right now, there’s a made-up thing called the ‘fiscal cliff’ to force austerity. We happened to be on a cruise with Nation magazine, the oldest progressive magazine in the United States, and we saw we were going to land in the Cayman Islands and we could not come here and not point out that right there, there is 150 billion US tax dollars avoided that could solve a lot of austerity problems they’re forcing on us in the United States.”
Ms Evans added that the group was trying to put pressure on the US government to change laws to prevent companies keeping their money offshore and said the protest was aimed at the US Government rather than the Cayman Islands and was being done to highlight of how many American companies were registered in Cayman.
“We know the power is not here [in the Cayman Islands] to make it happen,” she said.
Ms Evans said the protest was a way of raising awareness that there are “80,000 companies in the Cayman Islands and 50,000 people”.
Pointing to Ugland House, she said: “We’re here to point out the hiding of money, the avoidance. This building behind us has 18,000 companies in it. That’s the lie that we want to expose.”
After “fat cats” – men dressed as rich corporation bosses – waved handfuls of American dollars around and the group chanted slogans, they sang a song called “Tax evaders, time to bring our money home” to the tune of the Banana Boat song.
Police were at the scene directing traffic past the protest, but did not try to break up the peaceful demonstration. The organisers had not sought permission for the protest nor received a permit from police to hold the rally.
CODEPINK alerted media on Thursday morning that they planned to show up at lunchtime in front of the building.