Caymanian Government Encourages Small Business

Caymanian Government Encourages Small Business

Caymanian Government Encourages Small Business

In much of the world today, particularly in those countries that we like to think of as “developed” and “progressive”, governments in recent decades have become anything but progressive. As many governments sink more seriously into debt, to the point of insolvency, we are witnessing a trend of increased taxation on income and capital gains. In fact, the US has recently introduced the world’s highest corporate tax, crippling business expansion.

To make matters worse, each of these jurisdictions has been legislating increasing government controls and red tape to a degree heretofore unseen in the world. Although those industries at the very top (the central banks, the defence industry, Big Oil, Big Pharma, etc.) enjoy ever-increasing protections and largess from the governments, existing smaller businesses are being regulated out of existence, while new small businesses are facing so many obstacles that new business creation is nearly at a standstill.

The only good news in this picture is that, not all countries in the world are following the new corporatist model. Some, in fact, are going in exactly the opposite direction – some governments are actually making it easier for small to medium sized businesses to begin and then thrive.

A case in point is the Cayman Islands, a small country where both the electorate and the politicians still understand that small business is the lifeblood of an economy and new business start-ups are vital in the continuance of prosperity.

Wayne Panton

As Cayman’s Minister for Commerce, Wayne Panton has said, “We know that small businesses by and large create the greatest number of jobs in the economy. And by helping them to be stronger and more successful, we are also enabling them to be the engine of economic activity and employment.”

Of course, politicians the world over are known for making such statements, only to end up acting in the opposite direction, placing increased burdens on small businesses.

Yet, in Cayman, Minister Panton and the government of which he is a part, have a habit of following through on their stated position. The most recent example of this is that, in August of 2014, they passed legislation diminishing the already low cost for trade and business licenses for small businesses, to encourage small businesses to expand and to encourage new business start-ups.

It worked. The number of new trade and business licenses taken out by Caymanian residents doubled since the beginning of the incentive programme. The $1.4 million loss of government fees as a result of this program is regarded as “an investment” in Cayman’s future by Minister Panton, a shot in the arm of the free market.

Such a legislative move would be unusual in a country that is in economic decline, as are so many countries today. But Cayman is already more prosperous than most countries in the world, yet its Minister for Commerce is seeking ways to even further encourage free-market development.

Why the vitality and vision in this small, highly successful country? Well, a part of the success is the caliber of its political leaders. Minister Panton was raised in a successful family-owned business and got his economic education first hand at home, before going off to university to gain a degree in Law. Prior to his subsequent position as a Government Minister, he held the position of Global Chairman and co-head of Capital Markets and Structured Finance at the prestigious Walkers law firm. His overall background, therefore, prepared him well for his present role in his country’s future.

Another part of the success is its voters. As Cayman is the the world’s fifth-largest financial center, an inordinatley large portion of its population is employed in the financial sector. Consequently, most Cayman residents are fully aware that a thriving financial industry will improve their own lot. Rather than vote for those political hopefuls who promise entitlements and a more socialistic system, Caymanian voters tend to opt for those candidates who seek to raise free enterprise to greater heights, in the understanding that, as Cayman as a whole benefits, so,too, will they.

For investors doing business in the Cayman Islands, it’s this positive direction that is the primary attraction – an assurance that, as rewarding as Cayman is presently, its future is even more promising.


Mark Yaxley is the head of Operations & Client Services for Strategic Wealth Preservation (SWP). He first began working with gold and silver at the age of 26, when he joined Kitco Metals. There, he specialized in product development and served as Kitco’s Product Marketing Manager. A decade later, he joined SWP, a Cayman-based precious metals storage company that specializes in the storage of gold and silver bullion, graded and rare coins. He can be reached for comment at

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