The Islands are an autonomous British Overseas Territory. England took legal control of the Islands (along with Jamaica) in 1670. After several settlements, the first permanent English speaking population dates from the 1730s. Many of the new citizenry was also brought from Africa, a thing you can evidence to this today amongst the locals. Pitifully, most of them were destined for slavery traffic, which was abolished in 1833. The Islands were governed as a part of the Colony of Jamaica until 1962 when they became a separate crown colony.
The fact that the Cayman Islands is known for being a paradise or a tax-free haven, and a significant force in offshore finances and international businesses has quite the historical explanation in a particular legend. It was said that King George III rewarded the whole Cayman Islands with the privilege of never having to pay taxes, to compensate the Islands for their generosity in the safe passage of his own family through the Caribbean. This was during a time of great dangerfor the ruler’s family due to Pirates and enemies of the Crown that roamed the high seas. Supposedly, the Caymanians aided the royal convoy and guided them to safety. Since then, this has been a tax-exempt territory.
The Islands have more registered businesses than people or inhabitants. These locals are a mix of more than 100 different nationalities, mostly a mix of African and Caucasian. From the total number of residents, half are specifically from Caymanian descent. The majority of the population concentrates in Grand Cayman, followed by Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The most popular religion is Christianity (Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholics); but there’s an important mass of Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating facts of the Islands is their cultural prerogative: a complete way of life that revolves around the preservation and restoration of its natural resources. An exemplary reality, brought up by the Island’s economic stability and financial activities, which has made the Caymanians holders of the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. Their average income per capita ranks at 37th position in the world, and it’s still growing. They print their own currency, which is almost as valuable as the US dollar.
365 dive sites alone are located in the Cayman Islands. They offer the most rich and coveted diving experiences in the world: for Scuba diving or professional diving; these diving sites combine sea life and historical monuments such as shipwrecks, underwater statues, artificial reefs. They also provide direct interaction with the local marine species, like in Stingray City, a place where Stingrays commonly gather in packs. This originally started in the 80s when divers started to feed squid to stingrays. Little by little, the stingrays got accustomed to the sound of boat motors and the fact that it means that they will be supplied with food.
The Cayman Islands is a nation with a small population (60.765 residents by 2016). This means that they possess a limited workforce, so jobs for foreigners are actually stimulated through the grant of many work permits. About 21000 work permits have been given to immigrant workers. Although a lot of posts are regularly available, the background check and health controls are quite rigorous.
The Governor selects the Premier of the Cayman Islands, and he himself is appointed directly by the Queen of England. The Governor represents the English monarchy and is able to exercise complete authority if anything would prevent the Premier to do so. This power reserved for them in the Constitution of the Cayman Islands. Many bills and legislations require royal assent before being executed. Although the Governor, The Premier and its cabinet make most political decisions; the defense of the Islands is the direct responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The Government receives most of its income from indirect taxation extracted from most imported goods at 25%. In an ideal fashion, some imported items are exempted from tax like: baby formula, books, cameras and others. To financial institutions working on the island, the government charges them a flat fee, and also the foreign workers have to pay a tax to get a job. There isn’t any tax to corporate profit, capital gains or personal income.
Caymanian children have the right to free Primary and Secondary education. There are two public high schools in Grand Cayman and one in Cayman Brac. Private schools also function in the Islands, most of them operated by churches or run by private foundations. The only public university is The University College of the Cayman Islands. Other private colleges make life in Grand Cayman like St. Mathews University, which has a medical school, amongst other scientific majors; The International College of the Cayman Islands, that has been active since 1970; and The Cayman Islands Law School (a branch of the University of Liverpool), amongst several others.
Squash is one of the most played sports in The Caymans. A big community supports the fandom, mostly confirmed by ex-pats playing at the 7 Court South Sound Squash Club. Big tournaments and events revolve around Squash. Cameron Stafford, a top Cayman player, is ranked in top 200 players in the world. Other organised sports league includes Softball, Beach Volleyball, Gaelic Football and Ultimate Frisbee. The Cayman Islands has its own Olympic Committee and lately skateboarding is getting to be an organised sport in the Cayman Islands.
A few rare and threatened species of fauna and sea life inhabit safely in the Cayman Islands. Cetaceans like Blainville’s Beaked Whale, Goose-Beaked Whale and the Sperm Whale are characteristic of the area. Cayman Avian fauna includes several species of Amazona Parrots, like the Cuban Amazon, that is only restricted to Cayman Brac. Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park serves as a natural reservoir and breeding ground for threatened species of butterflies and the most important of all: the notable Grand Cayman Iguana or Blue Iguana, endemic to the Cayman Islands. Habitat destruction and invasive mammalian predators are the primary reason of its demise. The entire Islands are conscious of its safeguarding, even posting signs on the road to be careful of their safe passing.