Tara to take fight to Hollywood

| 15/11/2019 | 123 Comments
Cayman News Service
Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers makes her contribution to the budget debate

(CNS): The financial services minister and her team will be turning their attention to one of the most persistent sectors peddling what she said was misinformation about Cayman by engaging the US film industry. Taking the fight to Hollywood, Tara Rivers said she planned on meeting movie makers, script writers and others in the business of making films and TV shows that still paint this jurisdiction in a negative light in an effort to enlighten them on the real Cayman, she told the Legislative Assembly Friday.

Making her contribution to the budget debate before legislators adjourned for the weekend, Rivers described the efforts made over the last two years to lobby politicians and other groups about Cayman’s financial sector. But outlining the plans for more investment in promoting the industry’s adherence to international standards on the world stage and engaging organisations, Rivers revealed her intention to include the home of movie making on that agenda.

From the famous movie adaption of John Grisham’s novel, The Firm, to crime TV series where villains often hide their ill-gotten gains in the Cayman Island, the image of this jurisdiction as a tax haven in popular culture is enduring.

But the minister said that she planned to “set the record straight” in Hollywood and address the continuous misinterpretation of this jurisdiction in popular culture. The end goal, she added, was to influence how Cayman is portrayed and referenced in movies and minimise the negative slights about this country.

“To help dispel the misperceptions and indeed misrepresentations… it is important to address the source of the modern-day misinformation,” she said. “It is time we take this fight to Hollywood.”

She explained that her department would use the same direct engagement efforts that they have used before with politicians and other groups, to engage organisations within the American film-making industry.

“A targetted campaign for engagement with leading entertainment company executives is planned for the upcoming year. Our objectives for this effort are to correct the record, to educate content providers and to set the record straight about Cayman’s commitment to meeting international standards and combat financial crime and tax evasion. End goal is to positively influence how the Cayman Islands is referenced in film and television,” the minister said.

At the very least, Rivers added, she wanted to stop the erroneous throwaway references about the Cayman Islands that is still making its way into film and TV. The intention, she said, was to engage those writing the scripts and creating the stories to give them a reason to pause before they choose to refer to the Cayman Islands in a bad light.

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Category: Business, Government Finance, Media, Politics

Comments (123)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps this trip should be rethought now that it is in the news that Hunter Biden’s Burisma payments were routed through the Cayman Islands.

  2. anonymous says:

    This is the biggest waste of money, time and resources. We have way more pressing issues in Cayman. The absurd eastern traffic, unfinished schools, the ridiculous port project, unemployment, the dump.. just to name a few. 2021, I pray to the highest being that these clowns will never be in office again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Don’t screw with the mystique of Cayman…no publicity is bad publicity…well except maybe propogating a culture where we publicly grope young waitresses.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you want to change a deeply rooted perception you are going to have to take some public steps that demonstrate that is not the kind of jurisdiction Cayman is anymore. How about:

    a) abolish the super yacht registry, so we dot have the Cayman flag associated with billionaire wealth on display around the world

    b) stop selling tax residency for rich individuals

    c) actually prosecute and make a public example of people facilitating tax evasion and money laundering.

    None of the above would impact the mainstream financial services industry , engaged in tax neutral structures, and the revenues lost from the yacht registry and selling residence would be minimal. Of course, Alden would have to give up his Monaco trips, and dart wouldn’t be able to fill his 50 story tower(s), but I think that’s a price the country can bear.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      Hey. You all and especially @7:16 am , you ever heard about South Dakota USA. Well it is now the biggest on-shore tax haven for millionaires, billionarkrs, racketeers and you name them, the world over.

      It is quite asinine to go to Hollywood and advocate what? To the same people who put their money in trusts in South Dakota, utter nonsense se Ms. Minister. You want to go to Hollywood to seek an acting role that’s another ting, but please do not embarrass these Islands. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      And stop giving zero tax treatment to businesses operating outside the country. Just sayin’.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Quiet on the set!

    Scene one, take one, action!

    A young intern enters the room. He was the unlucky coffee-fetcher tapped to meet the Cayman Islands government visitors and hear concerns about the offshore tax haven’s image as a place where people have the nerve to hide money.

    “Hi! So nice to meet you! Here are your swag bags. Now, what did you want to chat about?”

    Close up on Tara Rivers, stern expression on her face.

    “Things have changed since the 1980s. Now all the drug cartels and murderous dictators only keep their clean money in Cayman to legally avoid paying taxes. Big difference. Do you validate parking?”

    Quick cut to intern. Confused look on his face.

    “Wait, where are the Caymans?”


  6. An initiaive worth supporting says:

    No sense crying over spilled milk, but whoever approved “The Firm” to be filmed here, only thought about the revenue stream (as usual!) and not the devastating ripple effect of the whole thing. In any case, I support the Minister’s effort; it is worthwhile.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was a great book.

    • Anonymous says:

      I recall that there was some debate at the time. The argument for agreeing was that the producers would film the movie someplace anyway and pretend it was shot in Cayman, as in the book. Many films are shot in “fake” locations. We would lose the revenue (and the opportunity to promote our beautiful island to millions of people) and achieve nothing. I think that it is a valid argument.

  7. Moi says:

    Yup. Go and explain homophobia on this island to Hollywood. Once they delve into how backwards this place is they will have to think again. Laughable to bring attention to our ‘Caymankind’.

  8. Last Zion says:

    In other news, British Ministers will ask Hollywood to stop casting British actors in evil villain roles and German Minsters will ask Hollywood from bring up the second world war.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And we call them Honorable. Why is it that our country is living budget by budget…year by year….at times have to borrow money to function…why is it that there is not a billion dollars in reserves? 104+ square miles…and millions of dollars for the budget. There is just no conservation of the finances…spending like it is growing on trees.

  10. Bertie : B says:

    She does have a point here , even soap operas use Cayman for their secret accts and money laundering , many shows do , I heard Cayman being refenced on the show called the Blacklist , law & order / and numerous others , including blockbuster movies .

  11. Anonymous says:

    The next Hollywood blockbuster will be telling the story of our cancer seeping dump.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I hope she is prepared to explain Jeffrey Webb to Hollywood. Is there anyone this country is proud of? Aside from Derek Haines of course. By the way, Did RCPIS solve his house burglary in 2014? Such a national disgrace! I thought it would be given a priority, since Derek Haines is a national hero. Code of ethics exists even among mafia. Not in Cayman of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      She could say, “We are not only a tax heaven, but also excel in producing the corrupt people of exceptional caliber, such as Jeffrey Webb for example”. We also think nothing is wrong with gaypril “jokes” and it is culturally accepted to grab the buttocks of a female casino employee by a high-ranking elected official.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Of all the things needed or wrong in this country today, this is what we deem important. These people are educated jokers that think the entire country is stupid. Spend you trip money on education and teachers salaries so that our children can do more than sweep the grounds of the stupid port you want to build.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure “Hollywood” is eager to hear what you have to say and correct their wrongful ways.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Use that time and money to finance a Cayman Film Commission instead and incentivize Hollywood filmmakers to shoot on the island

    • Anonymous says:

      This is actually a good idea. Movie production is good business to have. If they film some scenes here, let them say what they want.

  16. Anonymous says:

    She actually said this in the open!?
    Where are her updates on her ministry? What does she even do again?
    They’re going to all regret taking us as jokers this time around. Cannot wait until they see how we are preparing to remove them ALL from representing us!!

  17. JTB says:

    “Tara to take agreeable expenses-paid junket to Hollywood”

    There you go CNS, I fixed that headline for you….

  18. Anonymous says:

    But wait Tara…
    Hollywood can also make a good movie about how our own government was willing to sell out their people by building a ridiculous port!! Then the people rise up and say Helllll NOOO and prevailed! The ending would be more like a Disney movie, when the good guys win and the bad guys lose!


  19. Anonymous says:

    I must say, the Hollywood name-shaming has been much improved in recent year or two. Even fictionalized wire transfers are now clearing normally within 24/48 hours via Fedwire, and not instantaneously via magical Science-fiction Haliburton Zero briefcase machines. Many of us have winced in silent expectation of “the Caymans” being identified as the foregone concluded sinister nexus in Tv/movie thrillers, but the smear seems to be moving elsewhere, finally. This effort ought to have been a short contract job for a US-based professional Public Relations firm 15 or 20 years ago, when there was still “privacy” to sell. Previous Financial Services Ministers were advised to do this. Anyone in that industry might have advised that the bulk of the “secret” private client “banking“ was and still remains in Bahamas, where time was made to hire PR firms back then. By contrast to Bahamas and Switzerland, the Cayman Islands have barely ever had more than a sliver of their private client business pie, and have never threatened to sue studios and writers. Bahamas seems to have escaped almost all the shear headlines it should have proportionately deserved. Be that as it may, we should all welcome the fact that much of the globally-despised activity can no longer lawfully exist anywhere, and we should quietly leave it at that, rather than sending amateurs to kick a dormant hive. We shouldn’t want to appear like the only jurisdiction fighting to revive bad business lines, or fighting to defend what may be other jurisdictions ongoing business lines, and if anyone should be attuned to the industry’s history and our limited role in that, you would hope it would be our Financial Services Minister!

  20. Anonymous says:

    And what about our perception of PPM? basically laundering and our money for your holidays.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Who does she think she is? She need a professional makeover. Please concentrate on the issues at home and stop wasting our money travelling.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Just like in Big Mac days when he unilaterally cancelled the port deal with Italians and then tried to impose income taxes, the politicians are telling us they can do what they want and don’t give a s..t about Caymanians…they’re just gouging now. Wish there was a way to get them out before the take it all.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Relax, don’t do it.

  24. Its about time. says:

    Where has this been for the past 30 years? Our government should have been engaged in a public relations strategy for Cayman’s financial industry since the days of John Grisham’s “The Firm”. Each time the Cayman Islands is negatively portrayed in books, film and television, it tarnishes the reputation of our financial industry. Cayman’s Financial industry is a vegetable soup of legislation and oversight; CIMA, OECD, FATF, CFATF, CRS, BOR, FATCA, and now Economic Substance. Cayman has to adhere to so many regulations, to the point where it puts us at an unfair disadvantage compared to our competitors, the US and EU (which is exactly the intended effect!). Cayman’s regulatory regime is far more stringent than that of the US and EU, therefore the negative perception of Cayman as a money laundering tax haven does our country a tremendous disservice. Over the past 30 years, our political leaders seemed to revel in Cayman’s “bad boy” image, otherwise they would have engaged in a campaign of bettering our image on the global stage long before now!

    With the amount of misinformation about Cayman out there already, plus a global lack of understanding of the part that Cayman plays in the legitimate global financial industry, it is going to be difficult to change the global perception of Cayman. But it is necessary to make the effort to change that perception.

  25. Anonymous says:

    What a complete waste of time!! Another jolly at public expense

  26. Anonymous says:

    Reserves to run the country for 118 days…..16 weeks….4 months….Cayman should have billions in reserves….better wake the #@#&^% up..

  27. Cheese Face says:

    Is it April already?

  28. Anonymous says:

    This one baffles. Are these guys running out of ideas?. Is this a joke?

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