The bullies in that faraway socialist blot, aka Brussels, are eyeing the Cayman Islands’ milk money again.

Our perceived offense, this time, is not “behavioral” – i.e. being too secretive or granting special tax deals; no, our “sin” is that Cayman doesn’t have a local corporate income tax. If this were a usurpation of land, rather than finance, Brussels would be censored and condemned for invading a foreign territory.

We’ll briefly highlight the relevant content of the European Commission’s new “pre-assessment scorecard,” which is a preliminary step in what may become yet another financial blacklist. (For more details, read the front page story published in Friday’s Cayman Compass.) Cayman’s so-called scorecard reads as follows:

  • Home to a great amount of financial activity (“Strike One”);
  • Strong economic ties to the EU (“Strike Two”); and,
  • Certain “risk indicators,” such as a lack of corporate income tax (“Strike Three”).

Think about that for a moment. If Cayman does end up on an EU blacklist based on the factors in the scorecard, that means all our efforts over the decades by our officials and industry to comply with international regulations, global standards, endless photo ops signing tax information exchange agreements, beneficial ownership databases, etc., will have amounted to almost naught as far as Europe is concerned.

Increasingly it appears the only way European officials will ever be satisfied with Cayman’s role in the international financial services arena is if Cayman has no role.

Cayman is not the only “third country jurisdiction” to be swept up in Europe’s expansive dragnet. Other financial centers flagged for one or more “risk indicators” on the scorecard include: the Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Singapore … and the United States … and China. (In other words, just about all of them.)

Perhaps it is time for the “empire” to strike back.

Cayman’s posture on these bullying tactics, to our mind, has been far too passive – all compliance, little defiance.

Following the rule for government assessments in general, Europe has exempted its own entities from inspection during the exercise. EU countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – whose governments have come under recent fire for enabling “aggressive” tax structures (which European officials, in Orwellian fashion, have dubbed “anti-competitive”) – are subject to a different set of standards, and consequences, than everybody else.

European officials say the scorecard is “an objective and robust data source,” and “does not represent any judgement of third country jurisdictions, nor is it a preliminary EU list ….”

Does anyone believe that? What we are witnessing is “Big Brother” Brussels blithely and routinely trying to impose its version of economic redistribution and social justice on its member countries. Was anyone, other than the metastasizing legion of Brussels bureaucrats and regulators, surprised when the United Kingdom finally said, “Enough; no more; no thanks; adios?”

For us in Cayman, the key questions about the new tax scorecard are:

  1. What is Europe going to do with it?
  2. What, if anything, are we – our officials and our industry representatives – going to do about it?


  1. Now that the EU has turned its jaundiced eye to the Cayman Islands and other offshore financial industry jurisdictions, it might become more apparent and understandable why the voters of the United Kingdom have decided, ‘enough is enough’ and voted for complete independence of this Brussell-based dictatorship.

    The Cayman Islands is caught between a rock and a hard place….the element of envy within human nature will always bring the pressure that Cayman has and will continue to face from the world’s bigger economic powers,,,,if you are one of the most prosperous, affluent and geographically attractive place on earth because you facilitate the wealth and profits of the top 10 % of the world’s wealthiest people…the ‘have nots’ will always be seeking to find ways to take that away.

    That is the nature of the money beast.

    Now that Britain has left the EU, it could be argued and advised that it is in Cayman’s favour to forge closer political and social ties with the UK, for its own protection from the super-power ‘sharks’ looking to swallow up its smaller but tasty victims….of which Cayman fits the bill perfectly.

    This might mean giving in to some British demands and compromises as well but, as I see it, the Cayman Islands will not survive without help from a major power now against the elements that are set to destroy it.

    Instead of supporting Britain’s divorce from the EU, Cayman’s current Govt. has gone and tried to cut its own seperate deals with the EU for ‘passporting’ certain financial agreements…hopefully they will now begin to see the nature of the beast they are dealing with, as the people in the UK have seen…and rejected it.

    This is just one man’s opinion and meant as food for thought.

  2. Ricardo I agree with your food for thought . I said when the Brexit happened that Cayman Islands should have got a seat at the table. But they rather act like kids who are trying to keep hiding what they are doing from their parents.

    Like you said those money sharks would eat you up . So when you don’t have your parents to protect you , you better have lots of options and money on the table . The one option I would not like to see on that table is INDEPENDENCE .

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