Cayman Premier’s ‘Open Letter’ To Paula Cox

August 6, 2012

[Updated] Cayman Premier McKeeva Bush [pictured] wrote an ‘open letter’ to Premier Paula Cox where he said her behaviour is “downright antagonistic” and said that until now he had not rebutted or answered her back.

“The fact is, as Cayman’s Premier I have never attacked, any other country, including Bermuda…” Premier Bush said.

The verbal exchange started last year when the Cayman Premier said: “They are still talking about their immigration policy and make long statements but I say this boldly – while Bermuda has been the champion, be assured that we can grow.

“We here can do it without the malice, without the inhibitions of race, without the inhibitions of transport,” said Premier Bush.

Premier Bush said Cayman was actually taking action while Bermuda was only still talking about making changes. “In the mid Atlantic they say they ‘may’ reduce some fees; we have reduced fees.”

The Cayman media also reported that he “taunted” Bermuda in a speech last year saying: “My rating is still AA3 rating – what is theirs?”, a reference to the downgrade of Bermuda’s sovereign credit rating last year to AA-.

Premier Cox responded at that time saying: “Bermuda is focused on extending its lead, while Cayman speaks about closing the gap. Our destination is far beyond our borders and we have the infrastructure and the talent to make it happen.”

The verbal exchanges continued when it was revealed last month that the Cayman Islands will be introducing a 10% tax for foreign workers earning over $20,000 per year, which they have now switched to $36,000.

Premier Bush said it was a last resort, but he had no choice because the UK was demanding the Cayman have a sustainable budget.

In response to the news of the tax as well as statements made by Premier Bush, Premier Cox said, “This is not the first time that Cayman has made disparaging remarks about other jurisdictions in order to cover up the problems that he has had to address in his own Country.”

In the ‘open letter’, which was dated August 2nd 2012, Premier Bush said: “I have every right to promote what is good about the Cayman Islands – even if you read into it, that it is something that is competitive to Bermuda. Cayman also has its competitors – but I don’t attack their leaders.”

The full letter from Premier Bush is below [PDF here]:

Dear Mrs. Cox,

I have lost track of how many occasions in recent times you have, in your capacity as Premier of Bermuda made attacks on me, as Cayman’s Premier; but there have been several.

Until now, I have not spoken as Premier of the Cayman Islands to ever rebut or answer you back. I have never, but now I say, please; this must stop. As Cayman’s Premier, I consider your statements, your behavior, as the Bermuda Premier – to be wholly unjustified, and downright antagonistic.

Paula Cox needs to concentrate on what can help Bermudans [sic] survive in these critical days, just as McKeeva Bush is trying to do for Caymanians!!!

The fact is, as Cayman’s Premier I have never attacked, any other country, including Bermuda not even when its Premier consistently attacks me. I consider my relationships with all regional Territories to be highly amicable.

The Cayman Islands is open for business and as Premier I am busy trying to make life better for Caymanians and those who live and move and have their being here. The Cayman Islands do have problems, but my Government is busy working to lessen impacts on our people.

For example – there are:

  • 3 New Hotels and 1 Golf Course currently being planned.
  • A medical tourism project breaks ground in late August.
  • Agreement with the Dart group of Companies will bring $1 ½ bn. of business in 5 years.2
  • An innovative – Enterprise City/Special Economic Zone is moving ahead quickly – which means new business is coming.

I have every right to promote what is good about the Cayman Islands – even if you read into it, that it is something that is competitive to Bermuda. Cayman also has its competitors – but I don’t attack their leaders.

Hon. Paula Cox – the Cayman Premier is busy working. What are you doing for Bermuda?

My advice is you should stop attacking me and use your energy to move the good Islands of Bermuda forward

Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP
Premier, and
Minister of Finance, Tourism & Development

Update 4.00pm: UBP MP Kim Swan said: “It is unfortunate that the Cayman Premier would choose an open (public) to condemn the Premier of Bermuda, which makes any attempt to ‘mend fences’ with Bermuda more difficult.

“For the record, I recall that it was the Cayman Premier who made derogatory comments about Bermuda in February 2012 which didn’t sit well me and others at the time.

“What I find most ironic and disturbing is that two British Overseas Dependent Territories Bermuda and Cayman Islands – both feeling the wrath of the economic dragon and suffering from serious social challenges – are publicly fighting each other when both jurisdictions not only compete against each other but also mother Britain and other major countries for the same business around the world.

“The world is watching and I have to ask, what message is this open letter and other disparaging comments made achieving for either jurisdiction?

In conclusion, a quote in February from a business blog Offshore Watch entitled “Cayman and Bermuda get into a very public spat” summed it up as follows:

“Whilst some amused onlookers await the next round of the sparring match there are others who believe that at a time of economic instability and political turmoil, the smaller international financial centres should be working together to protect the offshore proposition as a whole, rather than taking pot-shots at each other.”

Mr Swan continued: “The time has come for diplomacy to prevail and if it has not already started voluntarily, then the last resort is to call on both Government Houses of Cayman Islands and Bermuda to broker talks between the leaders of their subordinate jurisdictions.”

“Ironically, if we were both sovereign countries such disputes could result in more serious consequences. However, the fact that we are not sovereign countries should not prevent us from acting responsibly,” concluded Mr Swan.

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (50)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Articles that link to this one:

  1. OBA’s Cannonier: ‘War Of Words Needs To End’ | | August 7, 2012
  1. Truth (Original) says:

    This is a bazaar letter.

    • Local says:

      Definition from Wikipedia: “A bazaar (from Persian بازار (bāzār), meaning “market”; from Middle Persian بهاچار (bahā-chār), meaning “place of prices”)[1] is a permanent enclosed merchandising area, marketplace, or street of shops where goods and services are exchanged or sold.”

      Well, I suppose we are an open market, just not perhaps in the same sense.


      • citi zen says:

        we all know what “Original” ment.

        • Baltic Fury says:

          “Mean’t” I think you mean’t, not ment. If you can’t spell, a) sort it out and b) don’t be surprised if people pick you up.

      • Truth (Original) says:

        Good catch.

  2. pwndwg says:

    So embarrassingly bush league. Don’t know if it’s election time in Cayman but wouldn’t be surprised if the two embattled heroic politicians agreed to have a war of words in order to stir up nationalist anger and shore up support of the unthinking at the ballot box. Thank god they don’t have any real sabers to rattle or else one of these roaring mice might be tempted to paddle over to the other and invade a cruise ship dock. Next they’ll pick on racial minorities, gays and “guest workers”. A hateful recipe that as easy and effective as a dark and stormy spiked with 151 and Rohypnol.

  3. Enforcer says:

    Premier Cox,
    Do not engage, you have your own issues to deal with right here in Bermuda. Again he is also fighting for his political life. This is only a smoke to Caymanians. I happened to be in Cayman last year late September and attended a Chamber of Commerce meeting which was populated with expatriate businessmen/owners. Bush was the guest speaker and took great pleasure in taking a shot at you and Bermuda. Now he is imposing a tax on the very people who make the country float. His popularity is sinking even further. He is trying to garner votes, wait until he imposes taxes on Caymanians, they are all twitching down there!

  4. swing voter says:

    jeeeez swing voters in Cayman must be patiently waitng for this man to drop a writ asap….same here.

  5. Everett Outerbridge says:

    Wow! Childish behavior on the part of the leader of a country! Grow up Mr. Bush.

  6. Childish. says:

    And lets not forget Cox started it first and he has the right to stick up for the Cayman. Ms cox should be ashamed and indeed an apology. Im appalled as a bermudian that when she did call them out, that this wAs going to bite her in the butt.

    • smh says:

      no, HE started it when he announced he was going to steal Bermuda’s business.


  7. CHEE KUMS BI says:

    Chee Kums BI…the Cayman Premier said: “They are still talking about their immigration policy and make long statements but I say this boldly – while Bermuda has been the champion, be assured that we can grow.” ALSO “My rating is still AA3 rating – what is theirs?”, a reference to the downgrade of Bermuda’s sovereign credit rating last year to AA-.

    Premier Cox responded at that time saying: “Bermuda is focused on extending its lead, while Cayman speaks about closing the gap. Our destination is far beyond our borders and we have the infrastructure and the talent to make it happen.”

    Pala Cox has grace, style, intelligence, and a great deal wisdom in dealing with Bush, The people of Cayman should no doubt be embarassed of the behaviour of their leader. He has yet to show in his letter that Mrs Cox is an antagonistic leader..but he sure did show that he is in fact an antagonistic leader

  8. The road to hell says:

    ‘Hon. Paula Cox – the Cayman Premier is busy working. What are you doing for Bermuda?’

    While the rest of the letter is oddly bizarre for the leader of a country, his challenge is a good one……

    Would like to see Paula’s reply – what ARE you doing for Bermuda?

    • navin Johnson says:

      she is in London watching the Olympics with Minister Blakeney cheering on our team…joke

      • The road to hell says:

        Excellent – inspirational and relevant leadership as always from the crazy lady

      • her fishy fishy says:

        errh no, she is watching Mr Bolt and the 100 M final, not and Bermudians compete. She will host a reception for the Bermudians.

  9. Um Um Like says:

    Perhaps it’s time the UK demand that Bermuda has a sustainable budget!

  10. Rockfish says:

    He has got a lot of nerve. He took at hit at Bermudian’s in more than one way and I totally support Paula’s politically correct statments she made on Bermuda’s behalf which were not personally directed towards him.

    He is trying a move and he’s going to get burned. Come on Governor – sort his azz out.

  11. Triangle Drifter says:

    Childish political behavior on the part of both of them. People living in glass homes should noy be hurling rocks at each other. It is entertaining however.

  12. duane p santucci says:

    I dont think our Premier needs to respond to this letter or even step down to this mans low level but keep her integrity in making decisions to help lead Bermuda forward. I dont like people who try and twist things to make themselves out to be some hero or trying to get brownie points.

    Madam Premier you are at the helm of our shores at this present time and have more pressing issues to address then this documented letter,but if you wish I can write to Mr. Bush on your behalf and just simply ask him to crawl back into the bush he came out of.

  13. Joonya says:

    Sounds like dis bie needs a Dark-N-Stormy (made by BermudIANS)..

  14. lmaooo says:

    One word… BURN!!!! Lmaoooo

  15. LX says:

    cox isnt leading NO ONE forward. this island has gone to sh$t since the plp, if you havent seen this then you’re the one whos been living under a rock. what Bush said is the truth. if cox cared, we wouldnt be in the sh#t from jump.

    the plp needs to stop with the antics and do whats right for us. if not….GTFO.

    • CHEE KUMS BI says:

      spoken like a person who does not understand and only follows hearsay

      • Come Correct says:

        Spoken like someone on the premiers payroll, just shoot the messenger and no one else will question because you have a gun lol please help us understand then. The way I see it, politics all over the world is like these subway or quiznos commercials, the ones that have adults with childrens voices arguing over a sub, and no its not just the plp, I won’t call any names but it starts with a B and ends with ob Richards. Childish games all around.

        • Baltic Fury says:

          Bush is right on one thing, they wipe the floor with us on hotels – the Ritz Carlton in Cayman is the hotel the PLP have been promising us for lord knows how long. Also, you feel like you are on vacation there too – the beach bars are fantastic. Lastly the ex-pats are welcomed, not scorned. Other that that, it’s trash talking, Cayman is a bit of a dump.

  16. lets get serious! says:

    the cog just got punched in the face!

  17. Real Talk (original) says:

    Wow. How very childish of him. I’d be ashamed to be Caymanian right now with that clown speaking for me.

    Hopefully Premier Cox does not even dignify his remarks with an options. It is well documented that Bush’s jabs at Bermuda began some time back even before his latest comments.

    Better to keep one’s mouth closed and be thought a fool…

    • Truth (Original) says:

      I feel the same way when Dr. E Brown speaks.

  18. Baileys bay says:

    A company I’m involved with here has been waiting for 17 weeks (and still counting) for a work permit decision from our Dept of Immigration.

    Cayman is now, of necessity, very much part of our plan B, even with a 10% income tax. That tax is becoming a not unreasonable price to pay vs an interminable delay to launching in Bermuda.

    Simple time value and opportunity cost calculation, anyone can do them and I’m sure they do. Verbal duels between politicians will not change the math.

  19. navin Johnson says:

    so Bailey Bay would you say that the Government pronouncement of more red carpet and less red tape is only a pronouncement? from the Queen of Cliches…..

  20. amen says:

    Isn’t this a#@hole being investigated for CORRUPTION among other things? Doesn’t he have better things to do than hate on Bermuda? He must not being doing too much for Cayman if he’s always up Bermudas a#s worrying about what’s going on over here. Then he calls us “Bermudans” LMAO! Pull your skirt down Mr. Bush.

  21. lol says:

    This cat is about to be kicked out his own Country.

  22. Bda vs Cayman says:

    Maybe his buddy Ewart should reply..

    • Victor says:

      I thought Ewart’s Cayman buddy was this joker’s predecessor? Regardless, none of it really matters as both places are well on their way to hell in a handbag. In some small way it is reassuring to know their Premier is as deluded as our’s…

  23. muse says:

    well he is right on race…ppl of other shores and race dont feel ‘irie’ here in these bermudian islands..espec..the ppl who they put to organise the tourism events here..if u’dont look like them…they ignore your sorry a##…

  24. samB says:

    Just look at our infra-structure on our beachs.. namely horseshoe..’worst than a third world slum!!!…,Stink of sewer as u sit there,bathing an embarassment..where ppl are washing themselves as you’re entering the beach..When this woman has given our money freely,unaccountably to her mate ewart to spend at his whims…and they didnt have the integrity nor the descency to upgrade our signature beach..Not to mention the rotten and falling -apart shed on Front street..where they showcase our entertainers,visiting dignataries…this is beyond shameless…This says this govt got NOT RESPECT nor concern for the(14 yrs of ruin and over a BILLION in the RED) country they are getting HIGHLY paid to run…now who out here wants to challenge or contradict this comment!!!

  25. richard says:

    Why to go Mr Premier McKeeva Bush what do people expect before Mr Bush said any thing! many a days I listen to people on the radio bash the Caymans for copying Bermuda and how they are trying to steal Bermuda business. Listen up people it Bermudian Hatred for Foreigners is what killing this island people keep bragging about how nice Bermudians are please when Bermudian go anywhere they get treated like kings and queen people come here they get treated like dirty. Who fly more then US nobody till now anyway we live all around the world but don’t want anybody to live here. And most of the people that have a problem with Foreigners are people that don’t have anything for them self they are the same ones that are on the radios crying about greedy landlords and Bosses since they never had the stones to try anything them self they try everything they can to stand in the way of people who do. And a lot of these people work in Government sit in there office bitter. Now its bitting us in the butt Let Don’t back down Mr Bush.

  26. Bda vs Cayman says:

    The Premier can’t reply she’s off on another trip. Trying to rack up frequent flyer miles. You know she can’t turn down a trip.

    • Victor says:

      For the record, the Cog also flew to London on Saturday, July 14, 2012, approx three weeks ago (I was on board). Bernews and RG did in fact report the reason for this “mission” and it struck me as a typically spurious PLP jaunt, much like this one…

      • Bda vs Cayman says:

        @Victor What ever floats your boat. Or however you wanna spin it.

  27. afroberm says:

    tell dat guy to relax his lips, Wat he thinks? We want our gorgeous country to end up like ya boy’s mugg americanized,commercialized island? Where de ratio is 10% native caymanian and 90% expat. I’ve been to grand cayman and it’s all mickey D’s n outback steakhouses. stop ya noise Boosh and step ya collective african consciousness game up.

  28. codfishcake says:

    All this ‘fuelishness’ is getting us nowhere…we need friends,foreign workers,strong and competent run this island..The blame is this ppl who running the show..only self interest and fulling up their pockets as fast as u can say’jacksprat’ get rid of them..and let us move us..The caribbean islands got same pretty beaches,dynamic cultures,music,good food for the tourists to go..And you rude ppl of bermuda..get with it..or you woulnd have a dime to show off if you keep up with your discourteous..Remember the world is full of beggars and chosers…go figure which one u’r and then do the math!

  29. tenisha.. says:

    WE NEED GOOD GOVERNANCE HERE IN BERMUDA..and must try and attain this thru democratic process…pls let us not hold on to inept govt based on flippant reason but how they can handle and run the country effectively..and without taking us to the cleaner.

  30. wontbfool says:

    cayman is doing better than us by tenfold..more hotels,more offshore business,more tourists,more flights,more entertainment,better service,no race issue there for sure,friendlier by a milestone comparing the ppl who they pick here..fauxpas!!madame cox should keep her mouth shot and concentrate on the mess she and brown has created in our paradise island…..WHERE OUR MONEY WENT? ON WHAT?WHOM?WHY?WHERE?WHOSE?WHICH?..