‘Why Cayman’ video series released by Dart Real Estate

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The four-part series encourages viewers to select the Cayman Islands as a prime location to live and work.

Dart Real Estate, a Cayman Islands-based developer, is releasing Why Cayman this month, a four-part video series featuring conversations with industry leaders about the many benefits of doing business in and relocating to the Cayman Islands. The three-minute episodes, which can be viewed on Dart Real Estate’s social media channels, offer insight into four areas that fuel the British Overseas Territory’s thriving economy and sophisticated way of life: financial services, reinsurance, family offices and residency by investment.

“We are pleased to share Why Cayman with those interested in relocating to or expanding their business presence in the Cayman Islands,” says Sue Nickason, VP of Real Estate Marketing and Sales at Dart. “These brief videos to share what makes the Cayman Islands a leading financial centre and one of the best places on the planet to live and work.”

Why Cayman?

As a tax-neutral hub, the Cayman Islands offers diversified financial services with a balanced regulatory framework, strict anti-money laundering laws, a politically stable government and a high standard of living. With approximately 71,000 residents from over 135 countries, the islands—located 90 minutes south of Miami by air—provide a safe, family-friendly lifestyle with access to a trusted legal system based on UK law and world-class healthcare, education and entertainment.

Philip Paschalides, a partner at the international law firm Walkers, offers several key reasons for the country’s economic strength, including its “impeccable track record,” in Why Cayman for Family Offices.

“Cayman is in the top 20th percentile on the World Governance Index,” says Paschalides. “It’s a jurisdiction that has a high degree of credibility internationally; it’s among the highest in the developed world.” Paschalides also provides details to support why the country is an excellent choice to establish a family office and explains that “there’s no extra layer of domestic taxation that would apply in transactions or structures.”

Cayman Finance CEO and former EY Partner Jude Scott is featured in Why Cayman for financial services, in which he reaffirms the jurisdiction’s vitality as a premier financial centre that efficiently supports global growth and recovery.

“The Cayman Islands is a leading tax-neutral hub,” says Scott. “It has a strong, diversified financial services offering with experts in investment funds, asset management, banking, insurance, reinsurance, capital markets and trusts.”

Why Cayman for reinsurance explores why reinsurance is becoming one of the fastest growing industries in the Cayman Islands. Adrian Lynch, executive vice president of Artex Risk Solutions – North America, attributes the country’s infrastructure, fiscally conservative government, regulatory framework, access to regulators and immigration practices among the many incentives attracting large global reinsurers.

“We have the ability to attract and retain c-suite teams,” says Lynch, who explains that Cayman’s education, security and housing options are attractive to senior-level management looking to relocate their families.

Navigating relocation and residency are examined in Why Cayman for residency by investment. The episode presents an overview of how individuals and families can qualify for permanent residency and demonstrates the ease with which one can invest in real estate and enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle. It also reminds viewers that anyone can buy or sell real estate without restriction or property taxes.

“We encourage anyone considering any type of investment in the Cayman Islands to watch the Why Cayman series,” says Nickason. “Each episode provides interesting perspectives from thought leaders and reputable individuals from our community.”

To watch the first episode in the series, Why Cayman for financial services, click here or watch below.

For the latest episode updates, subscribe to Dart Real Estate’s YouTube channel or follow Dart Real Estate on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Dart Real Estate

Dart Real Estate is a development company based on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

The company’s flagship development is the 685-acre mixed-use, master-planned town of Camana Bay, the Caribbean’s first and only community founded on the principles of New Urbanism.

Dart Real Estate’s portfolio continues to grow with the addition of world-class Seven Mile Beach developments, including Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Residences at Seafire, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Hotel Indigo and Paradise Villas on Little Cayman.

Dart Real Estate also manages Regatta Office Park, Flagship Building, Island Plaza and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. It developed the residential neighbourhoods of North Creek and Salt Creek. In addition, the 26-acre Dart Nursery propagates and supplies native plants and trees for all of its developments and properties.

Dart Real Estate strives to enhance the quality of life and to create opportunities for all in the Cayman Islands through purposeful placemaking, meaningful connections and lasting experiences that transcend bricks and mortar.

For more information, visit dartrealestate.com and keep up with the latest developments on Linkedin, and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT

Anna Wootton

Digital Marketing & PR Manager, Dart Real Estate

+1.345.640.3801

[email protected]

Dart Real Estate wins Gold at Citywealth’s 2021 Brand Management and Reputation Awards

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Dart Real Estate is proud to announce its team has won the Overall Marketing Campaign category at Citywealth’s 2021 Brand Management and Reputation Awards held on 22 June, 2021 in Mayfair, London.

Dart’s multi-channel marketing campaign was launched with the objective of showcasing the Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction of choice for international family offices. The campaign tactics included independently commissioned research, website design, collateral design, digital display advertising, social content and advertising, PR, in-person and virtual events and a global speaking and sponsorship programme.

Dart Real Estate’s marketing campaign to launch and promote the release of “The Cayman Islands; a jurisdiction of choice for family officessecured top spot in the Overall Marketing Campaign category, ahead of Barclays Private Bank, who took Silver with their “Smarter Succession campaign, and Mischcon Academy who took Bronze. A copy of the report can be requested here: https://familyofficereport.dartrealestate.com.

Sue Nickason, vice president real estate marketing and sales at Dart, said: “We are delighted to be recognised for our marketing and business development team’s performance over the past year. We repositioned our efforts in response to the impact of COVID-19 in mid-2020 to provide valuable thought leadership content to our key target audience of private wealth advisors and influencers digitally. Our aim was to position the Cayman Islands as a premier locale and emerging global leader in the family office sector and to engage, build credibility and position Dart Real Estate as trusted advisors and thought leaders amidst the COVID-19 crisis.”

Dart consultant Emma Parker accepts the Gold award for Overall Marketing Campaign at Citywealth’s 2021 Brand Management and Reputation Awards on 22 June, 2021 in Mayfair, London.

Citywealth’s Brand Management and Reputation Awards are now in their sixth year and highlight the best brands emerging in the international private wealth industry. They also recognise business services functions, such as marketing and business development teams, who support business profit and navigate reputational risk for their organisations in an ever-changing digital world.

The private wealth industry awards attract over a hundred marketing and PR professionals from more than 30 companies within the wealth management industry who attend the annual in-person awards reception in London. The contest received more than 200 submissions this year that were reviewed by an independent judging panel including representatives from JTC Group, Zedra, Rathbones, Schroders Wealth Management, Mischon de Reya LLP, Equiom and Citywealth.

Karen Jones, editor of Citywealth, commented: “Brands came under scrutiny and strain over the last year as the global population moved to their phones, making them able to comment publicly through apps such as Twitter about worker decisions. It was a testing time for companies and individuals as the world found its voice. Our 2021 winners demonstrated strength and leadership over this time of global health crisis. They helped keep teams together and really brought home the meaning of brand values for clients and staff. Congratulations to our 2021 winners who had to be concise in their communication strategies and comprehensive in their internal branding.”

About Dart Real Estate

Dart Real Estate is a development company based on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

The company’s flagship development is the 685-acre mixed-use, master-planned town of Camana Bay, the Caribbean’s first and only community founded on the principles of New Urbanism.

Dart Real Estate’s portfolio continues to grow with the addition of world-class Seven Mile Beach developments, including Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Residences at Seafire, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Hotel Indigo and Paradise Villas on Little Cayman.

Dart Real Estate also manages Regatta Office Park, Flagship Building, Island Plaza and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. It developed the residential neighbourhoods of North Creek and Salt Creek. In addition, the 26-acre Dart Nursery propagates and supplies native plants and trees for all of its developments and properties.

Dart Real Estate strives to enhance the quality of life and to create opportunities for all in the Cayman Islands through purposeful placemaking, meaningful connections and lasting experiences that transcend bricks and mortar.

For more information, visit dartrealestate.com and keep up with the latest developments on LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Media contact:

Anna Wootton
[email protected]
+1.345.326.2340

Cayman Islands reinsurance industry continues its upward trajectory

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This trend is good news for the British Overseas Territory and for Dart Real Estate’s Class A commercial properties.

The reinsurance industry in the Cayman Islands continues to grow after a three-year high in registered insurance companies in the Cayman Islands was recorded in 2020 (source; source), and this growth shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Well-regulated framework

In April 2021, Moody’s Investor Services affirmed the Cayman Islands’ Aa3 rating, reflect the government’s low debt burden, high per-capita income and strong institutional framework. While this demonstrates the British Overseas Territory’s financial stability, it’s only one of many reasons why reinsurance is becoming one of the country’s fastest growing industries.

During the past five decades, the Cayman Islands has established itself as one of the world’s leading financial services jurisdictions thanks in part to a business-friendly environment and a sophisticated regulatory framework, which plays a vital role in long-term commercial success and in protecting the financial health of public and private institutions. As a result, the Cayman Islands has earned a spot as one of the top three captive insurance domiciles in the world (source). In 2019, Captive International reported $21.1 billion in total assets for the largest 20 commercial reinsurers domiciled in the Cayman Islands, approximately one-third of the total assets of international insurers.

Adrian Lynch, executive vice president – North America, Artex Risk Solutions, and Jim Owen, chief financial officer at Aureum Re, both agree that the Cayman Islands’ regulatory framework is particularly attractive for large global reinsurers.

“[Our regulatory framework] is particularly attractive for large global reinsurers looking to transact in the Cayman Islands,” says Lynch.

Owen reiterates that this framework is an overarching factor in Cayman’s ability to align itself with the US from a regulatory and reporting perspective. He also notes that the Cayman Islands insurance law permits reinsurers to adopt their own internal capital model for capital requirements.

“This has been good for us because we’re able to adopt the NAIC [National Association of Insurance Commissioners] risk-based capital guidelines thereby remaining transparent to the US market,” says Owen.

Poised for growth

Cayman’s well-regulated financial system is characterised by transparency, strict anti-money laundering laws and a community of professionals committed to maintaining high-calibre transactions. Additionally, the jurisdiction’s high standard of living, sophisticated infrastructure, politically stable government, straightforward immigration and residency laws and top-quality commercial and residential real estate options are attractive to reinsurers.

In late 2020, the Cayman International Reinsurance Companies Association (CIRCA) was formed in response to the industry’s emergence and with a mission to promote the reinsurance industry “through peer interaction, advocacy and education on topics impacting the regulatory and business environment.”

“We’ve seen a steady increase in leasing enquiries from both startups and established businesses in the reinsurance industry,” says Jennifer Ebanks, Senior Manager of Leasing at Dart. “The trend began before the pandemic and has continued since the formation of CIRCA. We are also seeing some of the major names in the industry showing interest in relocating here.”

Ebanks notes that Dart Real Estate’s existing Class A and Class B office buildings are nearly fully leased and the developer is adding 200,000 square feet to its existing portfolio to meet the demand the team are receiving from across the financial services and technology industries.

“These are high-quality commercial spaces managed by a best-in-class landlord,” says Ebanks. “But I also believe this continued demand for commercial real estate is the result of people discovering all the wonderful things the Cayman Islands has to offer such as ease of doing business and a truly sophisticated lifestyle.” Ebanks notes that the Cayman Islands is poised to grow an industry that has typically domiciled in other jurisdictions.

For more information, follow Dart Real Estate on LinkedIn and Twitter or visit DartRealEstate.com.

About Dart Real Estate

Dart Real Estate is a development company based on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

The company’s flagship development is the 685-acre mixed-use, master-planned town of Camana Bay, the Caribbean’s first and only community founded on the principles of New Urbanism.

Dart Real Estate’s portfolio continues to grow with the addition of world-class Seven Mile Beach developments, including Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Residences at Seafire, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Hotel Indigo and Paradise Villas on Little Cayman.

Dart Real Estate also manages Regatta Office Park, Flagship Building, Island Plaza and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. It developed the residential neighbourhoods of North Creek and Salt Creek. In addition, the 26-acre Dart Nursery propagates and supplies native plants and trees for all of its developments and properties.

Dart Real Estate strives to enhance the quality of life and to create opportunities for all in the Cayman Islands through purposeful placemaking, meaningful connections and lasting experiences that transcend bricks and mortar.

For more information, visit dartrealestate.com and keep up with the latest developments on LinkedIn, and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT

Anna Wootton

Digital Marketing & PR Manager, Dart Real Estate

+1.345.640.3801

[email protected]

 

Dart Real Estate welcomes Arepa 345 food truck to Regatta Office Park

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Food truck is open 7 a.m. to midnight daily, offering authentic Venezuelan arepas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dart Real Estate announces Regatta Office Park’s newest amenity – Arepa 345, a food truck offering Venezuelan arepas for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Arepa 345 will begin operations in early July.

John Yssele hails from Venezuela and has a background in hospitality and food and beverage. Yssele, who is also the food truck’s head chef, has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry and previously worked at The Westin Grand Cayman Resort & Spa on Seven Mile Beach.

“Arepas are one of the main foods you find in Venezuela,” explains Yssele. “We make them at home for our friends all the time and they always rave about the flavours and request more. It was because of this reaction that the idea of the food truck was born.”

Owner and chef John Yssele is behind the newest amenity in Regatta Office Park, Arepa 345.

Arepas are made with three simple ingredients – cornflour, salt and water. The variety of fillings make arepas a versatile meal. The menu will include an egg-filled arepa with ham and cheese for breakfast; chicken, beef or vegetarian options for lunch and dinner.

Arepas represent home for Venezuelans, so sharing this with Grand Cayman as authentically as possible is important for the chef. “While there will be traditional arepas on the menu, we will incorporate local, fresh ingredients from Cayman’s farmers, too. We hope to offer different themed options each month, inspired by the different cultural influences that marry Cayman’s diverse population with a traditional Venezuelan dish.”

Arepas are naturally gluten-free and there will be vegan-friendly options on offer. “They are a really healthy and filling choice,” Yssele adds.

arepas

Arepas are made with three simple ingredients – cornflour, salt and water – and are stuffed with a variety of fillings.

The love and passion that Yssele has for food is the driving force behind Arepa 345.

Choosing to station the food truck in Regatta Office Park was an easy choice, Yssele says. “It’s accessible to everyone, in the heart of the Seven Mile Beach corridor, and has a lot of traffic coming in and out. We love how many different businesses there are surrounding us here, and I also think those who work at Regatta will appreciate having an on-site food option for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

A catering option will be available soon to those who are based in Regatta Office Park and tenants will also be privy to discounts and a potential loyalty programme. All are invited to bring reusable coffee cups for a discount on their coffee, as part of the desire to encourage sustainable business practices.

For more on Arepa 345, visit www.arepa345.com  or on Facebook (@arepa345) or Instagram (@arepa345).

For more on Regatta Office Park or Dart Real Estate’s other commercial spaces, email [email protected] or visit dartrealestate.com.

About Dart Real Estate

Dart Real Estate is a development company based on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

The company’s flagship development is the 685-acre mixed-use, master-planned town of Camana Bay, the Caribbean’s first and only community founded on the principles of New Urbanism.

Dart Real Estate’s portfolio continues to grow with the addition of world-class Seven Mile Beach developments, including the LEED® Silver-certified Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Residences at Seafire, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, an upcoming five-star resort and residences, and Paradise Villas on Little Cayman. Dart Real Estate also manages Regatta Office Park, Flagship Building, Island Plaza and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. It developed the residential neighbourhoods of North Creek and Salt Creek. In addition, the 26-acre Dart Nursery propagates and supplies native plants and trees for all of its developments and properties.

Dart Real Estate strives to enhance the quality of life and to create opportunities for all in the Cayman Islands through purposeful placemaking, meaningful connections and lasting experiences that transcend bricks and mortar.

For more information, visit dartrealestate.com and keep up with the latest developments on Linkedin, and Twitter.

Media contact

Anna Wootton
Digital Marketing & PR Manager
[email protected]
345.640.3801

Cyberthreats on the rise: Updates from the Royal Fidelity CEO 2021 conference

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By Alan Markoff

As recently as 2007, cybersecurity was not included in the annual public threat assessment the United States intelligence community gives to Congress.

“The word ‘cyber’ wasn’t anywhere in that threat assessment,” said cybersecurity expert Amy Zegart during a keynote presentation titled “Emerging Technology, Geopolitics & the Future of Intelligence” on 6 May at the day-long virtual Royal Fidelity Cayman Economic Outlook conference, for which Dart was a sponsor. “It was not on the horizon of threats confronting the nation.”

Amy Zegart

Only five years later however, the sitting U.S. secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, warned of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” of threats to the country’s physical infrastructure, financial networks and transportation networks.

In the nine years since, the cyberthreats have increased significantly, resulting in costly cyberattacks against private companies ranging from the retailer Target and the multinational pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. to hacks against U.S. government entities and Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Ironically, the day after Zegart gave her presentation, the Colonial Pipeline in the United States fell victim to a ransomware cybersecurity attack that forced it to temporarily shut down its pipeline operations, leading to gasoline shortages throughout the U.S. Southeast. Less than a week later, President Joe Biden signed an executive order intended to strengthen the government’s cybersecurity defences.

Zegart, who is a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program, said cyberthreats will continue to increase, partially because of the money involved.

“Cybercrime pays,” she said. “We know it’s estimated now to be worth more than global illicit drug trade. It’s big business — approximately US$600 billion dollars a year.”

Protecting from cybercrime
Zegart recommends three things companies can do to protect themselves from cybercrime.

“The first is, ‘Don’t leave the door wide open,'” she said. “Most cyberbreaches are a result of very basic lapses, like weak passwords and the lack of multifactor authentication. Just fixing those problems can dramatically improve your protection.”

Secondly, Zegart said companies should assume that cyber attackers are going to get into their networks, so they should have a plan for how they will operate while infected.

“You need to have triage plans,” she said. “How are you going to communicate with your customers? How are you going to make sure that the most important information in your organisation is the most protected information?”

Zegart’s third recommendation for companies is to know how cybersecure their third-party contractors are. When Target was hacked in 2013 — a cyber attack that ended up costing the company almost US$300 million — the breach came through the company’s heating and air-conditioning contractor.

“Target did a lot of things right in cybersecurity … but they didn’t think about their vendors and their vendors’ cybersecurity weaknesses,” she said. “So always ask ‘How secure are my vendors?’ … because the weakest link will let the bad guys in.”

Other cyberthreats
In addition to financially motivated cybercrimes, there are several other cyberthreats facing companies and nations, including online espionage.

Other cyberthreats are aimed at destroying, degrading or deceiving its targets, Zegart said.

“The range of cyber bad actors runs the gamut from Cheetos-eating teens to nation states,” she said. “Everyone in cyberspace is a target, whether you’re a Hollywood movie studio like Sony Pictures, a Saudi oil company, a Norwegian aluminum company, a city water plant or the Department of Defense in the United States.”

Zegart, who served as a member of the U.S. National Security Council staff in the past, said cyber deception was the most recent variety of threats in the cyber landscape.

“Russia, we know, is among the foremost of these threat actors, interfering in the U.S. presidential elections in 2016 and again in 2020,” she said. “And that’s just the beginning of the deception revolution in cyberspace.”

That deception revolution has implications for businesses as well as for politics, Zegart said, pointing to digitally manipulated “deep fakes” of photographs, video and audio as something everyone should be aware of.

She cited a “Wall Street Journal” article about how an executive of a U.K.-based energy company was tricked into sending nearly US$250,000 to a Hungarian supplier because he was told to do so by deep fake audio that mimicked the German accent and lilt of the voice of his boss.

Cyber deception also includes disinformation, which is something that both the leaders of countries and the leaders of businesses have to contend with, Zegart said.

“Democracies are used to believing that the answer to bad speech is more speech, but research is increasingly finding that when falsehoods are reported frequently and by many sources, people believe them,” she said. “That’s exactly the online ecosystem in which we find ourselves today. More speech isn’t leading to truth; more speech is leading to deception.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Cyberthreats on the rise.”

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for four years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 17 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for the Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. Alan is passionate about food and wine and he loves to write about both those subjects. He is also the leader of Grand Cayman’s Slow Food Chapter.

OLEA welcomes new homeowners in a series of historic firsts for Camana Bay

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Camana Bay—the only New Urbanist community in the Cayman Islands—continues to fulfil its master-planned vision as it welcomes homeowners to the town’s first for-sale residences, OLEA, which completed construction of phase one this month. Developed by Dart Real Estate, the 685-acre town is also achieving several historic milestones, which include the addition of two 10-storey buildings, 60 Nexus Way and Kapok, and the first Cayman Islands building to be built to the prestigious Fitwel certification standards.

OLEA
Winner of the 2019-2020 International Property Award for Best Sustainable Residential Development in the Americas, OLEA’s first residents will begin moving into their new homes in the coming weeks, marking the beginning of a highly anticipated chapter in Camana Bay’s history.

“This is a fulfilling achievement,” said Dart President Real Estate Asset Management Justin Howe. “It’s an important part of Dart’s long-term vision so it’s extremely meaningful to welcome OLEA’s first residents.” Part of Dart’s master plan is to create a place where people want to live, work and play and Camana Bay is a realisation of this vision.

Dart President Real Estate Asset Management, Justin Howe

Located just south of Camana Bay’s Town Centre, OLEA’s amenities include a community herb garden, fully equipped gym, outdoor yoga pavilion and a resort-style swimming pool featuring the first lazy river in the Cayman Islands.

OLEA homeowner, Sophie Dibb is looking forward to the Camana Bay lifestyle, which includes seamless access to the amenity-rich Town Centre and the added convenience of Cayman International School (CIS) within walking distance.

“Not only did we upgrade from a one-bed to a two-bed,” says Dibb. “We decided my parents would get a three-bedroom on the third floor with a view of the school.” This added convenience means easier drop-offs and pick-ups, not only for Dibb’s family, but for all OLEA families with children attending CIS across the street.

When completed, OLEA will comprise of 132 homes designed by Cayman-based TRIO Architects and feature Grand Cayman’s largest solar array to date. OLEA’s developers — Dart Real Estate and NCB Group — are on track to complete all phases by early 2023.

Kapok and 60 Nexus Way

On the north end of Camana Bay’s Town Centre, construction of Kapok is currently under way and will be the first building in the Cayman Islands to be built to Fitwel standards, a certification resulting in “spaces that advance human health and well-being.”

A rendering of Kapok in Camana Bay

“Building to Fitwel standards is significant,” says Howe. “At Dart, we’ve always been very thoughtful about how our designs impact people and this standard underscores our development approach.”

Named after the tropical ceiba tree, Kapok will span more than 140,000 square feet to meet the demand for Class-A retail space and residential apartment rentals in Grand Cayman. With more than 15,000 square feet dedicated to ground-floor retail space, the building is scheduled for completion in late 2022.

60 NW

A rendering of 60 Nexus Way in Camana Bay

Further to the south, 60 Nexus Way is also under construction and, once complete, it will become the tallest commercial office building on Grand Cayman. Spanning approximately 200,000 square feet, the thoughtfully designed structure will include 9,000 square feet of retail space on the street level and is scheduled for completion in mid-2022.

“Dart remains committed to the long-term prosperity of the Cayman Islands. Our vision and multi-decade approach to development includes future-proofing buildings,” says Howe. “This makes it easier to facilitate structural changes in the future.”

Howe also explains that building skyward has a positive environmental impact by reducing sprawl. “Taller buildings and increased density in the Seven Mile Beach corridor, where demand is high and land is scarce, is an efficient and effective use of land.”

Combined, 60 Nexus Way and Kapok are estimated to employ approximately 350 construction personnel and inject an estimated US$130 million into the local Cayman economy. Dart’s leasing team is now pre-leasing retail and office spaces in both buildings. For more information, email [email protected] or call +1.345.640.3600.

About Dart Real Estate

Dart Real Estate is a real estate development company based on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory.

The company’s flagship development is the 685-acre mixed-use, master-planned town of Camana Bay, the Caribbean’s first and only community founded on the principles of New Urbanism.

Dart Real Estate’s portfolio continues to grow with the addition of world-class Seven Mile Beach developments, including Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Residences at Seafire, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Beach Suites, an upcoming five-star resort and residences, and Paradise Villas on Little Cayman.

Dart Real Estate also manages Regatta Office Park, Flagship Building, Island Plaza and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club, and developed the residential neighbourhoods of North Creek and Salt Creek. In addition, the 26-acre Dart Nursery propagates and supplies native plants and trees for all its real estate developments and properties.

Dart Real Estate strives to enhance the quality of life and to create opportunities for all in the Cayman Islands through purposeful placemaking, meaningful connections and lasting experiences that transcend bricks and mortar.

For more information, visit dartrealestate.com and keep up with their latest developments on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Camana Bay

Developed by Dart Real Estate, Camana Bay offers more than 650,000 square feet of commercial office and retail space as well as 63 luxury apartments available for long-term lease, public spaces for all to enjoy, world-class shopping and dining, as well as family-friendly entertainment, events and attractions.

For more information, visit camanabay.com and keep up with the latest developments on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

MEDIA CONTACT

Anna Wootton
Digital Marketing & PR Manager, Dart Real Estate
+1.345.640.3801
[email protected]

The rooftop oasis on 60 Nexus Way

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By Alan Markoff

Imagine being on a rooftop terrace more than 140 feet above sea level in Camana Bay. A panoramic view of the Seven Mile Beach corridor provides the backdrop for a landscaped oasis infused with the vibrant colours of tropical flora. As a refreshing breeze blows over your skin, you peer out in different directions and see the North Sound on one side and Seven Mile Beach on another side, and you understand what “sea-to-sound views” really means.

Those who are lucky enough to become tenants of 60 Nexus Way, the 10-storey Class A office building currently under construction in Camana Bay, won’t have to imagine that scene; they’ll be able to experience it themselves.

The elements of architectural and landscape design of 60 Nexus Way’s rooftop terrace were decided upon with the user’s experience in mind. For example, considerations about the height of the parapet along the edge of the roof looked at several factors, said Dart BIM Senior Technician Daniel Nguyen.

“We had to carefully balance that calculation,” he said. “We didn’t want to make it so high that it took away from the view, but we wanted it high enough that it blocked some of the wind at that elevation.”

Part of the parapet will be constructed with the Poma Infinity Rail system that uses high-strength, impact-resistant safety glass that will allow unobstructed views even if a person is sitting down.

When completed, the rooftop terrace will have a maximum capacity of 200 people, allowing tenants of the building to host a variety of events, as well as activities like sunrise yoga sessions.

Landscape
Another key feature of the rooftop terrace will be the plantings framing and accenting in the space.

Just as with the height of the parapets, a balance had to be struck in planning which plants could be used on the roof, said Dart Senior Design Manager ‑ Landscape Architecture Nicholas Forari Denney.

“A delicate balance between colourful and tropical plantings for maximised user enjoyment had to be weighed against the rooftop conditions, growing media and Cayman climate,” he said.

Forari Denney said when selecting the plants for the area, consideration has to be made for the fact that Cayman has a dry season from November through May when it doesn’t rain as much.

“We also have to consider the desiccation caused by the winds at that elevation, so we have to use plants that are robust and fairly drought resistant,” he said, adding that plants capable of growing in full-sun conditions were a major consideration during the selection process.

The plant beds themselves will use a proprietary hybrid soil that emulates Cayman’s sandy soil and encourages root growth to help keep the plants anchored.

Forari Denney said that species of grasses found near the ocean will be used, as will colourful flowering vines like bougainvillea.

The design concept is for the landscaping to help frame the views from the rooftop of 60 Nexus Way, Forari Denney said.

“The views are going to be incredible,” he said. “It’s one of the most beautiful aspects of this project.”

Solar energy
The landscaping won’t be the only green feature on the rooftop terrace.

As is the case with most every other building in Camana Bay, an array of solar panels will be installed toward the southern end of 60 Nexus Way.

“It will be able to generate up to 250 kilowatts of power, which is the maximum allowed,” said Dart Senior Design Manager James Lunn. “We’re also investigating the possibility of having four small wind turbines on the roof.”

In addition, Lunn said the floor of the roof will be gently sloped to allow rainwater to flow into the landscaping beds, reducing the need to supply water through the irrigation system.

This article originally appeared in the June 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for four years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 17 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for the Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. Alan is passionate about food and wine and he loves to write about both those subjects. He is also the leader of Grand Cayman’s Slow Food Chapter.

A conversation on the Cayman Islands financial services industry with Butterfield Managing Director Mike McWatt

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By Emma Parker

Butterfield recently celebrated its 54th year of doing business in the Cayman Islands and has delivered consistently strong growth in recent years, even during the pandemic. Following Butterfield’s recent banking centre expansion into Dart Real Estate’s flagship development, Camana Bay, we sat down with Mike McWatt, managing director of Butterfield Group in Cayman, to find out what is behind the organisation’s success.

Managing Director of Butterfield Group in the Cayman Islands, Mike McWatt

EP: Recent financial results have looked good at Butterfield, especially in Cayman. Why do you think that is? What trends are driving growth in the jurisdiction?

MM: The strong Cayman economy has underpinned the growth of Butterfield and the jurisdiction as a whole, and the growth of financial services in Cayman has been particularly important to Butterfield; this drives deposits (particularly corporate deposits), transaction volumes, and foreign exchange transactions for us.  In addition, despite the pandemic, we have a strong pipeline of new developments in Cayman and this has created opportunities for Butterfield in the commercial lending space.  Finally, a strong residential property market means we are having a record year for mortgages underwritten here in Cayman.

In addition, we attribute Butterfield’s success to the strength of our experienced team and the relationship that we have with our clients, advisors and introducers across both our banking and wealth management businesses.

The resiliency of our economy has surprised even the most optimistic among us over the past year. Local spending has expanded throughout the pandemic, development has continued thanks to a thriving real estate market, and we are seeing traction from programmes the government introduced to support the economy – like the Global Citizen Concierge Programme. At Butterfield we supported a similar programme to work remotely in Bermuda, so we were able to roll out the learnings from that in Cayman, including a streamlined onboarding process for short-term residents.

EP: How have Cayman and the financial services industry fared during the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 12 months?

MM: Cayman’s financial services industry has performed very well. Businesses, including Butterfield, had the technology and infrastructure available to enable remote working when required and the implementation was seamless.

Importantly for both our international and local clients, the banking industry stayed open in Cayman. Banking was identified as an ‘essential service’ for our economy and Butterfield’s systems proved robust and functioned effectively throughout our 2020 lockdown period.

Throughout the last 12 months there has been a notable shift among our clients to alternative channels.  Many migrated to online and mobile services, and we had a significant uplift in e-transactions. Going forward, many of our clients are now better able to transact and interact online and the shift to digital banking for many of them will be permanent.

EP: Why do you think Cayman has performed so well?

MM: Cayman was in a good place economically and fiscally prior to the pandemic and this helped us enormously. Butterfield was one of the co-arrangers of a line of credit to the Cayman government by a consortium of local banks. The government therefore had cash available to support the sectors that needed it—like tourism—and to put programmes in place to help those that needed it.

On the financial services side of the economy, Cayman has long been held in high regard as a jurisdiction of choice. During COVID, thanks to Cayman’s stellar performance in controlling the spread of the disease and ensuring business continuity, Cayman has become even more attractive. Cayman has garnered international attention for the way it has handled the pandemic and its reputation as a safe, secure and stable place to be has only increased.

EP: What have financial services firms learned from the COVID-19 pandemic? How can they be prepared to ensure they meet clients’ needs in a changed post-COVID world?

MM: The financial services industry has navigated the pandemic well. At Butterfield, we have learned to be even more laser focused on service delivery to ensure we continue to serve our clients’ needs in a very dynamic environment.

As mentioned earlier, the pandemic has also accelerated the pace of digital adoption and fast-tracked the use of alternative channels for both transactional banking and relationship management.

Post-pandemic, the bar is set high for Cayman’s banks. The jurisdiction is attracting a new profile of clientele with the next generation of clients in the technology and innovation sectors or those relocating to Cayman via the government’s residency programme. These clients are used to a wide range of product choice and first-class service, both in person and across seamless digital experiences. This is the level at which Cayman’s banks have to perform.

EP: What is Butterfield doing to ensure it is set up to work with its clients effectively across digital platforms as well as in person?

MM: We continue to invest in online and mobile banking, and in particular in the safety and security of these platforms. During the pandemic there was a global uplift in fraud – and we will be working to continually educate our clients about security, phishing and other fraud concerns.

We also continue to invest in face to face banking, and most recently we launched an important new location in Dart’s Camana Bay development. This was a strategic expansion for us as many of our clients—especially the law firms, accountancy firms and financial services providers—are there.  As a bank, it is very important for us to have good relationships with introducers, who provide valuable access to our corporate and high-net-worth individual client base.

EP: With the trend for increased HNW relocation to Cayman, what are these new resident clients looking for from Cayman banking and wealth management providers?

MM: We are seeing a younger generation of clients arriving in Cayman, and these “next-gen” clients are more tech-savvy and interested in ESG (environmental, social and governance) strategies. They also expect a wider range of investment options to be available similar to those they would routinely have access to elsewhere.

In line with this growing interest, Butterfield is actively developing its own ESG strategy as a business that will run through everything we do.

EP: What type of products and services do relocating HNW clients require and how has Butterfield been able to meet these needs?

MM: More than anything we see the next generation of clients looking to their bank to be a partner. They demand more than the basic banking experience and expect something more akin to a private banking experience. They are looking for a broader relationship and solutions, not simply transactional banking.

In the Cayman Islands, Butterfield employs over 245 employees across its head office and four banking centre locations at Butterfield Place, Midtown Plaza, Governors Square and now in Camana Bay.  Butterfield offers retail banking—including a strong premium product suite for professionals—corporate banking, trust and fiduciary services, private banking and asset management services.   For more information, please visit www.butterfieldgroup.com.

About the author

Emma Parker has worked with Dart since 2019 and has been writing professionally since 1999. Emma graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA (Hons) in 1997, has a post-graduate Diploma in Communications, Advertising and Marketing and a STEP Certificate in International Trust Management. She has worked in PR, marketing and business development roles, primarily in the legal and financial services sector, since 2001. Emma is the founder of Sidekick, a financial services marketing and business development consultancy. She was raised in the UK and has lived and worked in the Caribbean in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands for over 13 years. Emma has a passion for exotic travel, her family and Newcastle United Football Club.

Cayman is not a tax haven: Cayman Finance breaks down the characteristics of tax havens

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By Jude Scott, CEO, Cayman Finance

The Cayman Islands is a transparent, tax-neutral jurisdiction – not a tax haven.

The jurisdiction’s model of tax neutrality for financial services business has long been misunderstood, and when something is misunderstood, suspicion is not far behind.

These misperceptions around the jurisdiction have been perpetuated by the entertainment industry for decades, from box office hit legal thrillers in the early 1990s right up to commercials from a certain telecommunications company as recently as 2019. They have further been advanced by NGOs on a mission to eliminate international financial centres.

The Cayman Islands is an international financial centre that prides itself on global recognition of its commitment to principles of openness and transparency and we intend to use the facts about our jurisdiction to combat this misinformation, so onward we must go with our educational campaign.

What is a tax haven?

The OECD (which is committed, amongst other things, to fighting international tax evasion) has defined a tax haven as follows:

“Tax haven in the ‘classical’ sense refers to a country which imposes low or no tax and is used by corporations to avoid tax which otherwise would be payable in a high-tax country. According to an OECD report, tax havens have the following key characteristics; No or only nominal taxes; Lack of effective exchange of information; Lack of transparency in the operation of the legislative, legal or administrative provisions.”

Let’s break this down.

Tax haven characteristic 1: No or only nominal taxes

Conclusion: Cayman does not pose a risk

The OECD has itself stated that “no or nominal tax is not sufficient in itself to classify a country as a tax haven”. In addition, here are a few reasons and examples as to why Cayman is not a tax haven according to this characteristic:

  • Cayman has an effective tax system whereby total government tax revenues as a percentage of GDP are similar to tax rates in G20 countries and sufficient to fund government operations. Therefore, additional taxes such as corporate income taxes have never been necessary.
  • Cayman has transparent effective tax rates.
  • Cayman does not have different tax rates for foreign entities.
  • Cayman does not have legal mechanisms or treaties (such as double taxation agreements) in place with other countries to legally transfer tax bases from one country to another in order to aggressively reduce taxes.
  • Cayman does not promote itself as a jurisdiction for aggressive tax planning.

Tax haven characteristic 2: Lack of effective exchange of information

Conclusion: Cayman does not pose a risk

The Cayman Islands has a long history of proactive cooperation and engagement with internationally accepted regulatory and information exchange standards, having signed its first Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US back in the 1980s.

Additionally, Cayman exchanges tax information with more than 120 jurisdictions through tax information exchange agreement and multilateral agreements through Cayman’s adoption of US FATCA, the OECD Common Reporting Standard and Country-by-Country (CBC) reporting (source, source).

Tax haven characteristic 3: Lack of transparency

Conclusion: Cayman does not pose a risk

The Cayman Islands is a transparent jurisdiction.

Cayman adheres to the same high global standards for transparency and cross-border cooperation as G20 countries and other top international financial centres (IFCs). Cayman has been rated “Largely Compliant” (the second highest of a six-tier rating) by the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, the same rating given to the UK, Germany, Italy and the US.

Cayman has operated a verified beneficial ownership regime for over 20 years that provides for due diligence and know-your-customer checks by licensed regulated corporate service providers. This system is critical to aiding proper law enforcement authorities as they conduct legitimate investigations and is superior to self-reporting systems adopted by other countries.

In 2019, the OECD completed a review of the Cayman Islands’ domestic legal framework (source) that includes economic substance and found that the Cayman Islands Tax Neutral regime is not harmful and meets all economic substance requirements.

Finally, the Cayman Islands does not permit shell companies, bearer shares or anonymous numbered bank accounts.

The Cayman Islands’ tax model

So, if the Cayman Islands isn’t a tax haven, why is it such an attractive place for global financial services business?

The key is that our globally responsible tax model is simple and transparent. Cayman is an optimum optimal tax-neutral jurisdiction supporting efficient, free flow of trade, capital, investments, financing, and services around the world without posing harm to other countries’ tax bases.

By using the Cayman Islands as a tax-neutral financial hub, parties from different countries, which have different laws, regulations, tax rules and customs, are able to do business with each other in a trusted, efficient and neutral jurisdiction, without disadvantaging either party. Investors are still subject to their home jurisdiction’s tax requirements, but Cayman does not add an additional layer of taxation on the proceeds from their investments – in other words, there is no risk of double taxation and no tax conflict.

The Cayman Islands is recognised by international policymakers as a strong partner in combatting corruption, money-laundering and terrorist financing, and has a long and demonstrated history of commitment to transparency, compliance with international standards and cross border cooperation with law enforcement. In short, these commitments make Cayman an unattractive destination for those looking to evade or avoid taxes in their home jurisdictions.

There are valid legal, regulatory and legislative reasons that clearly demonstrate Cayman is a transparent, tax-neutral jurisdiction and not a tax haven.

Cayman Finance continually explores this and related topics on its LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, so check them out for more factual information about why the Cayman Islands is not a tax haven but a tax-neutral jurisdiction supporting global economic growth and recovery.

About the author

Jude Scott is well respected locally and globally having spoken internationally on financial services topics and featured on a number of occasions in international media.

He retired as an Audit Partner in 2008 after spending over 23 years with Ernst & Young.

As the Global CEO of Maples and Calder, he took an active role in the strategic growth and development of the firm.

Having served on various Cayman Islands Government and private sector committees, including the Cayman Islands Financial Services Council, the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants, the Education Council, the Insolvency Rules Committee and the Stock Exchange, Jude has attained extensive experience within the Cayman Islands’ financial services industry.

He has served as the CEO of Cayman Finance since 2014, and is committed to protecting, promoting, developing, and growing the financial services industry of the Cayman Islands.

 

 

Tinseltown comes to the Cayman Islands: Recent movie productions indicate that filmmakers love Cayman

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By Andrea Lumsden

Until recently, the Cayman Islands was not considered a prime location to film movies.

When filmmakers and their teams scout film locations, they consider factors such as budget, aesthetics, permits, logistics and, for the past year, travel restrictions. They may also consider how experienced ground support is, which is why production-friendly places such as New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and Atlanta are all popular filming locations.

However, because of the way the Cayman Islands has contained COVID-19 and its ability to provide a safe and sophisticated place to work, international filmmakers have taken notice. As of this month, producers of six feature-length films have chosen Grand Cayman as a primary filming location.

Not since “The Firm” (1993), starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman, and “Haven” (2004), starring Zoe Saldana and Anthony Mackie, has the Cayman Islands hosted elite film productions on its shores.

Celebrities such as Iggy Pop, Bob Saget (Full House) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) are headlining two of these new films and Zoe Saldana is confirmed to be starring in her second Cayman-based production, “The Bluff,” a Netflix movie co-written and directed by Caymanian Frank E. Flowers and produced by the Russo brothers of Marvel Cinematic Universe fame.

SAFETY FIRST
Last year, producer and film financier William Santor, founder of Productivity Media, was on island and witnessed how effectively the government was able to suppress and contain the spread of COVID-19. Wheels immediately began to turn.

After conversations with some key people on-island, including Dart President of Business Development Jackie Doak, about possibly filming in Cayman, Santor contacted producing partners back home saying, “Hey, crazy idea, why don’t we think about shooting in Cayman?”

His biggest selling point was Grand Cayman’s “COVID-free status.” It was not a hard sell.

Earlier in the year, Santor worked on films in Utah, Arizona, Los Angeles and Toronto where he experienced stress because of the pandemic, saying that it was a challenge to find places where he felt confident to work without the risk of infection.

“You’re always wondering when that crew or cast member might test positive, despite all of the protocols that are in place as a result of the Screen Actors Guild requirements,” he said.

crew filming in Cayman Islands

Crews have been filming several productions on Grand Cayman the past few months. Photo: Thomas Williamson

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is the union that currently governs on-set and on-location COVID-19 safety protocols. Prior to filming, every production must submit a health and safety plan. One requirement is that cast and crew members working in what they call “Zone A” — which is “any perimeter within which activity occurs without physical distancing or the use of PPE” — must be tested a minimum of three times per week using the PCR method of COVID-19 detection.

“Because of Cayman’s COVID-free status, we applied to see if we could get some consideration regarding the protocols that are required elsewhere,” said Santor.

As a result, the union approved modifications for the Cayman-based cast and crew.

“To our knowledge, we are the only productions globally that have been able to achieve the type of scenario we are experiencing,” Santor said. “And it’s only because of the work that the [Cayman Islands] government has done to put the island in this great position.”

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
When Santor first pitched the idea of filming in Cayman, some of the first questions he received from producing partners were about infrastructure and crew base. His answer: “This is virgin territory.”

However, he and his co-producers, which include Nicholas Tabarrok of Darius Films and Jason Jallet, quickly discovered that there are more resources than anticipated in the local film sector and that the process to import equipment went smoothly, thanks to support from Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control.

In addition to COVID-19 safety, the island’s natural beauty — which provides a scenic backdrop of larger-than-life skies, glistening waters and lush vegetation — combined with the country’s stable government, low crime rate, sophisticated infrastructure and ease of doing business were big draws.

Eventually, it was the efficient collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs, the Cayman Islands Film Commission and Dart that made these productions a reality.

In early March, the government announced that Cayman was confirmed as the location for Productivity Media’s four feature length films, including “Blue Iguana,” which wrapped filming last month, and “The Baker” starring Ron Perlman and Harvey Keitel, which is currently in production.

cast of The Baker

Cast from “The Baker” include, from left, Ron Perlman, Emma Ho and Joel David Moore.

At the time, the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush commented about the effect the deal could have for Cayman in the highly competitive arena of global film production.

“This multi-film project will contribute immensely to Cayman’s growing film industry.”

The Cayman Islands Film Commission, which was revived as part of this process, was instrumental in facilitating all the work permits and entry allowances for the more than 60 cast and crew members and their dependents, which was a big selling point because they had to be away from friends and family for roughly six months.

CAYMANKIND EXPERIENCE
Jason Jones, known for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and more recently “The Flight Attendant,” is eager to return.

“Let’s put aside the perfect weather, the crystal clear water and the daily margaritas in a COVID-free paradise,” he says. “Visiting an island where the people offer this thing called Caymankind is a little unnerving … like what do you guys really want? Oh. Nothing? Ok then, I’ll be back as soon as I humanly can.”

A quick scan of the social media accounts of cast members such as Joel David Moore (“Avatar”) and Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), who are both in the cast of “Blue Iguana,” indicates they also enjoyed Cayman’s friendly, stress-free lifestyle.

“Cayman Islands is COVID-free and I can’t even express how nice it is to be able to safely live life again,” said Chaikin in a recent Instagram video post where she’s seen singing karaoke with the cast and crew at Deckers Caribbean Inspired Grille.

Ron Perlman posted a photo of a “Special Release Single Bottle” of Seven Fathoms single barrel rum, produced by Cayman Spirits Co. for his birthday, with a sketch of Perlman on the label — a perfect example of Cayman’s thoughtful hospitality.

Ron Perlman with rum

Walker Romanica of Cayman Spirits Co., left, presented actor Ron Perlman with a special single-bottle release of Seven Fathoms rum that depicted his his image on the label for his birthday in April.

Santor, who is also on island and in regular contact with members of the cast and crew, said the number one comment he heard during the mandatory quarantine was, “This is the best view for quarantine I could ever imagine.”

When the isolation period was over, he said, “It was amazing to see how quickly people, who have spent the last year of their lives being told to stay away from each other, embraced that contact … it was lovely to see.”

At a post-quarantine welcome party for the “Blue Iguana” cast and crew held at The Beach Deck at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, a series of fun and clever signs encouraged not wearing masks and to “hug the person next to you,” giving them their first taste of freedom and normalcy after a year of lockdowns, mask wearing and physical distancing.

As for the work itself, long days are typical in the movie industry and long hours on Grand Cayman sets are no exception. However, Santor describes the crew’s local experience as an “entirely different way to achieve work-life balance” when compared to other jurisdictions.

He said that on Grand Cayman, cast and crew members could enjoy two or three hours in the ocean after a 12-hour day on set and that downtime could be spent on the beach or snorkelling, scuba diving and visiting Rum Point, Stingray City, Starfish Point or walking the Mastic Trail.

“The amount of golf played has been remarkable.”

On one of his last evenings on island, Bob Saget posted a photo on Instagram of a dinner on the beach before going “back to reality” and a caption that read, “Enjoyed the dream of no COVID here.”

He later said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of filming on Grand Cayman.

“I found the people who worked and lived there so kind and welcoming,” he said. “The Kimpton Seafire [Resort + Spa] was so wonderful as well, as were all of the restaurants we had the privilege to dine at. To be able to do a film feeling so safe and welcome was a true gift.”

Santor said that Caymankind is definitely real, comparing it to locals saying, “You’re not an outsider. Please come in and we will wrap you in this nice warm blanket.”

film crew filming in Cayman Islands

Photo: Thomas Williamson

A NEW ECONOMIC PILLAR
After the films were approved, three shipping containers and a jet’s cargo hold were filled with film production equipment headed for Grand Cayman. Roughly 60 cast and crew members arrived on island in March, resulting in more than 60 hotel rooms booked for approximately six months.

This meant that hotel staff, who were either furloughed or on reduced work schedules, were able to return to work full time. “Many of those are Caymanian housekeepers,” said Doak. “It’s an exceptional outcome when we can make magic happen and actually put people in the tourism sector back to work when our borders are closed.”

Additionally, nearly 50 local crew members have been put to work and nearly 500 members of the public have been cast as extras.

“This is an excellent training and development opportunity for the local crew,” said Doak. “They’re gaining valuable real-life experience that not only gives them credibility, but also begins to form the foundation for the future of film in Cayman. This is a key that will enable us to attract other productions on a regular basis.”

jackie doak headshot

Dart President Business Development, Jackie Doak

Doak also said the desire to cultivate Cayman’s film industry is strong and her team is working with interested parties to develop parameters for growing it as a pillar of the economy. This includes long-term considerations that will attract independent filmmakers, who have much smaller budgets than studio productions, in the post-COVID-19 world.

One example is cost of hotel accommodation. Dart’s future plans include the development of Hotel Indigo and the rebranding of Comfort Suites to Hampton by Hilton, creating two affordable options.

“We are hopeful to be able to structure what film productions need so it does not become cost prohibitive to shoot here,” said Doak. “We’re still in early stages, but it would also be great to come up with a facility that could provide meaningful training for Caymanians in all aspects of film. This could even lead to having our own movie studios.”

Doak believes that the films currently in production will support the industry’s development by showcasing Cayman’s natural beauty, infrastructure and people on the world stage.

“There’s a lot of work ahead and a lot has to happen,” said Doak. “But the past few months have shown us that there’s a will and desire to make this a reality.”

As for Santor’s crew, they’ve already been asking what the plan is for next year and have expressed interest in returning to Cayman.

“Word is getting out,” Santor said, “I don’t see why Cayman can’t make a serious run at developing a local film industry. We are getting submissions from other filmmakers, including one of the actors on “Blue Iguana” who was in the middle of writing a script and changed the location of the story after falling in love with the island. We have already confirmed our first film for next season with several others under serious consideration.”

Importantly, the business of filming on Grand Cayman was successful.

“Across the board everyone is really stepping forward,” Santor said. “Every challenge presented to our crew [was met] with the support of the island. It really has been a great collaboration.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

About the author


Andrea Lumsden has worked with Dart since 2013 and has been writing professionally since 2003. Graduating from university with a BA in Communication, Andrea has worked with clients across a range of industries, including financial services, hospitality and real estate. Raised in the Cayman Islands, she’s a bookworm at heart who enjoys cooking and travelling with her husband and three children.