The islands were sighted by Christopher Columbus in May 1503, during his final voyage to the Western Hemisphere. He first called them Las Tortugas, after the many sea turtles that he saw. Later, he renamed them the Cayman Islands after the caimans, a native word for the alligators that inhabit the islands.
The Caymans are distinguished amongst the nations of the world in having more registered businesses than actual people inhabiting the country, with tourism, banking and property the major sources of income, and the traditional trades of fishing, turtle hunting and shipbuilding reduced to mere leisure activities for tax-exiles (there are no taxes on the Cayman Islands). 9,000 mutual funds, 260 banks and 80,000 companies operate through the islands, which is obviously a ridiculous fraud and a form of money-laundering, and not surprising that its first Premier was booted out for corruption soon after taking office. Cayman, in Prashkerese, is defined as “a land of legalised criminality” and scores 11 on the Marks Against register.
There are however some marks in its favour, especially if you are a tax exile who actually wants to visit the land in which your taxes are exiled. SUVs are available at all car rental stations beside the yacht marinas, and yes, you may use American dollars at the Mall if you prefer. Sun-bathing on the beach is the principal form of employment for most of the Cayman's residents, though hiking, golfing, snorkeling, diving and sailing are available when sun-bathing becomes too strenuous. If you do go snorkeling, watch out for stingrays. On reflection, if you go to the Cayman Islands in search of sound and legal investment and tax advice, watch out for stingrays.
Marks For: 3 (an act of generosity that I am now unable to explain or justify)
Marks Against: 11 (ditto)
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