Fighting the fallout from the Panama Papers scandal and potential damage to our financial services industry. Despite Cayman’s adherence to international tax transparency standards, one financial services expert says rhetoric from politicians and mudslinging in the foreign press could leave a stain on our image, if we don’t wage a positive PR campaign.
“We have the wrong people leading the public relations initiatives here, and they are significantly under resourced,” said Travers Thorp Alberga Senior Partner Anthony Travers. The financial services expert told Cayman 27 the country’s public relations machine needs to go to war against misinformation about the jurisdiction in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.
Mr. Travers said the Cayman Islands is far from being just another sunny place for shady people to hide from the tax man. He said the jurisdiction’s adherence to international tax reporting standards laid out by the common reporting standards is in clear contrast with other offshore centres like Panama.
“Cayman is a signatory [to the common reporting standards], Panama is not. So we see this very clear divide between the sort of covered transactions which are being structured through jurisdictions like Panama on the one hand, and the legitimate transactions that are being structured in jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and most of the overseas territories which have similar legislative regime,” said Mr. Travers.
Mr. Travers told Cayman 27 the negative media reports and political rhetoric are nearing a crescendo.
“We now find that the opprobrium being directed at Panama is catching the Cayman Islands and so that the mud that is bring thrown is sticking here too, at least insofar as the political comments that are being made in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions is concerned,” said Mr. Travers.
He said Cayman’s public relations campaign needs more muscle to fight the misconceptions that he says could damage the fabric of our economy.
“Technically we have the state of the art global standard with regard to tax transparency, it’s a failure of our public relations campaigns, who no impact whatsoever had been made on these points in the eyes of the global press,” said Mr. Travers.
He says without action against the rhetoric, Cayman stands to lose.