Country Reports

Cayman Islands Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

As a UK Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands’ internal affairs are mostly governed locally, including on tax and regulatory issues, but with close oversight from the UK government via the locally resident Governor-General, a UK appointee. External and defence issues are also overseen by the UK government. Concerns over the political and economic impact of Brexit for the Cayman Islands will remain high on the local agenda despite the current extension to 31 January 2020 of the Article 50 process leading to the UK’s exit from the EU. One reason for that is the potential uncertainty over how aligned UK and EU authorities will be in future over aspects of financial transparency related to the Cayman’s key financial services and offshore sectors, and to what degree that will affect the attractiveness of the territory for those sectors. Operational risks are likely to remain low compared with most regional neighbours, given general local government stability and the oversight of the UK authorities. Crime rates, including gun crime, are low and the islands are safe compared with other anglophone jurisdictions in the Caribbean. IHS Markit expects growth to slow in 2019 to 2.2%, down from 2.6% in 2018. The influence of US economic performance is key for the Cayman’s economy, including tourism flows.
Last update: November 15, 2019

Operational Outlook

Local infrastructure is modern and extensive, notably in the telecommunication sectors, with further investment planned boosting cruise port capacity. The provision of utilities services is reliable. Corruption is not a major risk, although there is still capacity to promote transparency and accountability within state institutions, including the police. Bureaucratic procedures do not represent a major challenge to the private sector and authorities are committed to fostering a positive business environment at all levels. The islands have a well-educated workforce and labour-related risks are low. Natural hazards may hit the islands, but overall the government’s level of preparedness is adequate.

Last update: December 18, 2019


There is no specific terrorist threat targeting Cayman Islands assets from domestic or home-grown groups or targeting Western interests such as bars, nightclubs, shops, restaurants, or other places where expats and tourists may gather.

Last update: December 6, 2019


Crime levels in the Cayman Islands are low and compare very favourably with the other countries in the Caribbean region. The primary threat to visitors is petty crime. Acts of violence rarely occur and the islands are considered peaceful. Crime levels have fluctuated in recent years, although detection rates have trended down significantly since 2008. The most common crimes are theft, burglary, and drug-related offences.

Last update: December 6, 2019

War Risks

As a British Overseas territory, the Cayman Islands’ foreign affairs and defence policy remain the responsibility of the UK government. Overall, there are no significant external threats to the islands and interstate war risks are low.

Last update: December 6, 2019

Social Stability

There are no significant trade unions in the Cayman Islands, so strike action is virtually non-existent. Any future incidents of industrial action would be quickly resolved without posing property damage risks. Protests against a new cruise berthing facility in Georgetown depend on the outcome of a referendum on the issue in December 2019; future tourism projects could be subject to similar protests if they are perceived to have an adverse effect on the natural environment. Other protest groups have staged demonstrations to demand lower petrol prices or more recently, to object to a court ruling that would legalise same-sex marriages on the islands.

Last update: December 6, 2019