Hefty fines for unofficial use of Cayman iconography

| 04/01/2016 | 51 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Flag

(CNS): Officials from the deputy governor’s office have issued a reminder to the public that hefty fines exist for people who are unofficially using the Cayman Islands national symbols for commercial purposes. The Coat of Arms, Flag and National Song Law (2005 Revision) requires users to seek permission from Cabinet for the reproduction of local iconography, with fines starting at $500 for a first offence and $5,000 for a second.

Although it is not clear what triggered the alert from the office as there is no indication that anyone is about to be prosecuted, officials stated that if a person or business is granted permission to reproduce the Coat of Arms or Flag for promotional purposes, the annual fee is $250. If a company or individual is granted permission to reproduce the Coat of Arms or Flag for profit, the annual fee is $500.

Requests should be addressed in writing to the Office of the Deputy Governor, 5th Floor, Government Administration Building, Elgin Avenue, PO Box 103, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, KY1-9000. The request should indicate the purposes of the reproduction and a sample of the product for intended use should be included with the request.


Category: Local News

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone in the relevant CIG “flag police force” explain why the thatch rope in our Coat of Arms is blue and white? I was told that it is in fact not thatch rope but a “lanyard”. That’s not what is taught in schools. Wonder when the icons represented in our Coat of Arms changed to represent something else?

    Per historical knowledge, I recall:

    Pineapple = our past administrative ties to Jamaica
    Turtle sitting on thatch rope = our industries of the past, turtling and thatch products, mainly rope
    Lion on red field = our British allegiance
    Three stars on blue waves = our three islands.
    Our motto “he hath founded it upon the seas”

    I wonder what the blue and white “lanyard” represents?

    BTW, I called this to the attention of a current Cabinet Minister some time last year but he seemed quite satisfied with the “lanyard” explanation. Ho-hum. Perhaps he might have been more attentive if it displayed a piece of driftwood!

    Clearly some artist was ill-advised when the design was refreshed in 1999. Wonder who was in charge of that?.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they could start charge for the Coke symbol or the Mac apple. CIG has as much right to that as charge for the flag.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is this the most important issue of the day? This is very poor.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hahaha… will promptly take the scented flag… bought in Fosters …out of my car. Paid a dollar and can’t afford the fine.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Okay, so let’s get this straight.
    First, the flag of the Cayman Islands is in fact a registered flag of the United Kingdom.
    Secondly, I’d have more sympathy for the ‘iconography’ argument if the government actually used the approved post 1999 flag which is the UK Union flag with the expanded Cayman Islands coat of arms, (without white roundel) on the blue ‘fly’. This is also known as a defaced British Blue Ensign.
    To those who believe that this is a CI design and copyright, you are wrong as it is officially a UK flag and flown under the authority of the U.K. Parliament.
    Also, government vessels under the crown, (the union flag) should fly the government blue ensign and not the red civil ensign as is commonly seen on police, DoE and other government department boats.
    So until the CIG claim independence from the UK, the union flag is the supreme flag of these islands and its design is a matter for the UK parliament.
    For those still in doubt, please refer to the Flag Institute for further details, or the Flags and Heraldry Committee of the Houses of Parliament to which it advises.

  6. J Bodden says:

    So the Union Jack and the Cayman Marine Ensign are designated by the UK and not the Cayman Islands………

    Also the Flag flying over the Gov’s House is up side down!!!!! The Cayman crest was sewn on incorrectly.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mi naa understand…. mi bumper stickers all need come out…. ankle tatoo ??

  8. Union Jack says:

    There is only one national flag. The Union Jack. And if anyone wants to argue about the term “Union Flag” then I will go all vexillological on you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This law would be very narrowly construed. By the draft of the initial sections it would only give rise to criminal action where the user, in Cayman and Cayman alone, implied official governmental endorsement by the use of the flag. Any other use, outside Cayman or any incidental use would not give rise to criminal actions or an obligation to charge a fee. There is no copyright in a flag and the flag is a British flag to be regulated by the UK not by local governments. On top of that, it is the sort of backwards crap one might expect to read about coming from places like Turkmenistan not the real world.

  10. Sharkey says:

    Dear Lord please help these politicians , I don’t think that it would not be long before they will be taking about selling the whole Islands. This right should not be sold , but I think that a friend who is sewing this up for his own personal gains, that’s why you see the word. “IF ” used when you apply for permission to use it for personal gain.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand this. I have never heard of such a thing. Do other countries have laws like this? So, if you are a tourist shop in UK selling royal tat, you have to ask permission to put the union jack on a mug? Really? Maybe they do, but you could knock me down with a feather if they do. Who would want to steal the Cayman Islands icons? Maybe some country that doesn’t already have their own flag or national song. What country would that be then? Oh that’s right the one on planet WTF.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, they do. In fact the USA does as well.

      • Jus da fax says:

        Now you’re just talking rubbish. The U.S. has a Flag Code as a guideline for proper use and display of the flag. The U.S Supreme court, in 1990, ruled that the government cannot enforce any law, order any punishment for improper use or prohibit desecration of the U.S. Flag as doing so is a breach of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and therefore UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think people should re-read the article again.

    It clearly states the reason: “for the Reproduction of local iconography”.

    I believe this is mainly for “Copyright protection” to prevent our national symbols from being reproduced illegally for commercial use.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So Cayman Airways can display two out of place and uneven Coat of Arms on the divider between business and Economy? Looks like they found them somewhere and went hmmmm…wonder where we can put these?

  14. Anonymous says:

    With all the massive problems facing the country, we waste time on this mickey mouse foolishness. Our legislative drafting department is one of those genuinely short of staff and they are asked to come up with this type of crap compared to the myriads of issues facing the country. This is just ‘busy work” to show the Deputy Governor’s Office, useless Cabinet Office, idiotic Protocol Office and Government in general are on the ball and thrusting ahead with vital legislation affecting the well being of the country in the 21st century. So sad, so pathetic.

    • Debbie says:

      6 :57. Mann you need help bad. Do you understand the meaning of Commercial and reproduction? Clearly these words are new to you and the rest of the negative posters. Come on folks this is 2016 please stop posting rubbish responses for the sake of posting. It’s really embarrassing…to the see the negatively all the time. Thank you Deputy Governor for doing your part to protect of treasured national symbols. Obviously the negative posters don’t care about them but I do.

      • PT says:

        Debbie… what on earth are you trying to say here? The initial commenter was 100% bang on and makes valid points. This is complete and utter BS. No one cares. Your ‘treasured national symbol’ is a union jack with a turtle and a pineapple. Ok. Its just a flag. Get over it and move on with tackling the real issues. Eg:

        Grand Cayman’s highest peak is a garbage dump. Your leaders spout old testament hate speech. The civil service is a bloated bureaucracy that sucks money from its own people.

        Voters of cayman: Hold your elected leaders accountable for bringing this country forward. Flags.. gays.. expats.. its all so lame. How about providing some direction? Instead, you get this sort of faff referencing some random law and the promise of fines.

        I put it to the individual leaders of cayman that they should all pay a $2,500 fine for disrepecting the flag due to their negligence in the provision of effective governance.

    • Anonymous says:

      What can be done to please who? Complainers, critics and naysayers.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound like a disgruntled former employee with intimate knowledge of very little.

      I am sure that if the flag appeared on some really crappy products being sold to our tourists or as a bad joke you would be the first begging Government to do something.

      Typical small island mentality

      • Just Commentin' says:

        6/1-2:02: “I am sure that if the flag appeared on some really crappy products being sold to our tourists or as a bad joke you would be the first begging Government to do something.”

        Hey! The symbols are on many many really crappy products being sold to tourists. A lot of such stuff is not even locally made/crafted, it is made in China. Bought for a buck and sold for $20. Pretty sad.

  15. Anonymous says:

    kind of sums up the self inflated sense of importance this non-country has…..

  16. Anonymous says:

    more classic wonderland nanny state nonsense….

  17. Anonymous says:

    The CIG twits have it again. The flag is pasted all over the internet and many online games. Try suing the likes of Aliexpress and eBay. Good luck with that. The Jolly Roger is a much more appropriate flag for these islands anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:49 pm It is clear you are one of those Johnny come Lately spues.
      Pack it, stuff it, leave now.

      • Anonymous says:

        why?…because you don’t like what he says or is it a little too close to the truth….

      • Anonymous says:

        i fly my cayman flag upside down….
        perfect for this place where nothing makes sense….

        • Kenny says:

          so 9:13 when are you leaving this stupid place- answer- when I get rolled over…. . Too bad you all hate this land of milk and honey which has afforded you life that you could only dream of!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Why, are you in distress?
          I suspect you are having to deal with the numb headed idiots that seem to be sending this island down the pan. I say leave it to them, it won’t take long for them to screw the place into the ground and beg us to come back and save them from themselves.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nah, will leave when I ready

  18. Anonymous says:

    It can be really frustrating when people just jump on the negative nancy band wagon and don’t even take the time to know what they are talking about. It says for PROFIT OR PROMO USE. So…..if you are selling a product and want to say its from Cayman then you have to apply for a license., The government is doing what any decent Intellectual Property adviser would say – protecting the use of the image/icon.

    This will not prevent flags at national events, flags from your home or car or tattoos. DUH you think they would make CAL an infringer for using sir turtle on the planes? I swear you all make something so simple into a bag of drama.

    For example, the company that was in the news recently saying they are using soft coral to make a product that grows eyelashes – what if they want to market the product as coming from Cayman and use the icon/flag on their product packaging – shouldn’t they have to submit an application to do so and pay for usage? Its only commercial activity 101 – protect your IP.

    I don’t think I could explain it any easier, stop being so negative, this one is actually to make it an infraction to improperly use the icon which IS a form of national pride. They are not stopping you from waiving your flag in batabano.

    My goodness, you all can be simple.

    • Diogenes says:

      So explain to me how Cayman Airways using it is not promo or profit, but the coral company is? What about charities or non profits that are proud to be Caymanian? How is that not promotion?

      • Galfstaff says:

        Well, it’s referred to as the “National Flag Carrier” – isn’t it?

        The promotional aspects far outweigh the cost to charge Cayman Airways for any (and I don’t think it is) ‘infringement’.

      • Anonymous says:

        Using the flag etc is not forbidden absolutely, it just requires getting permission, which I’m sure they did. It’s not like the politicians flying for free don’t have opportunities to see the emblems and correct any misuse.

    • Gabriel says:

      Ironic for a place who doesn’t respect nor enforce your typical copyright and IP Laws…

  19. Anonymous says:

    They should fine propel flying flags from other countries as if this is some other island.

    By the way CNS I heard about this before this administration so would be interesting to discover if was under former PPM’s administration or UDP and ALS who was the Attorney General at the time it was considered and legislated.

    Then we might get more info on the real Push behind this, all status holders and caymanians who wish to remain as cayman need to wake up or else the cultural tide of aggressive corrupt culture will be taking over and if they had to flee where will we go? They already claiming UK. Using cayman status

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I’m so scared! I better remove the Coat of Arms image from my guitar quick, before the flag police come !!

    This is just another shameless money-grab tactic from CIG. Disgusting!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    What if I proudly fly a tattoo of the Cayman flag, will I be skinned?

    • SSM345 says:

      No, but the Tattoo artist will need a license to do so…..I wonder if that also applies when I get my sleeve finished with a COA in Northward and I pay Joe Bloe in Benson’s? Will he also need a license?

    • Anonymous says:

      Only if you’re using it commercially…

  22. Wavy Davy says:


    Regressive, negative policy which weakens both respect and support for the Cayman Islands, perversely from those seeking to support it most with a patriotic display.

    Do you want us to wave flags for our athletes at Rio in August? I guess not.


  23. Anonymous says:

    Out of contempt for this stupid law I just sent an emoticon text of the Cayman flag between a peach and an aubergine (eggplant for our American cousins).

  24. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone say Third World?

  25. Diogenes says:

    Have you just broken the rule by showing the photo of the flag, CNS 😉

    Strange that you get fined for proudly showing the Cayman flag, yet absolutely nothing happens when you hide your licence plate. Perhaps if government woke up to the revenue raising potential of enforcing some of the traffic laws we may get some action on them?

    • Anonymous says:

      As the CNS server is no doubt in the US then I suspect one of the glaring loopholes in one of the more stupid laws is engaged.

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