AP News

Media 'blackout' as Bush speaks in Cayman Islands


GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (AP) — Organizers of an investment conference in the Cayman Islands say they have been forbidden from disclosing any details about a speech by former President George W. Bush in the offshore financial haven, an event spokesman said Thursday.

The keynote speech by the former president is "totally closed to all journalists," and conference organizers are forbidden from discussing any aspect of it even in general terms, spokesman Dan Kneipp said.

"We've got a complete blackout on discussing the Bush details," Kneipp told The Associated Press.

The restrictions were imposed by the former president's staff, he said. Bush was scheduled to speak Thursday evening at The Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman Island.

"It's totally their decision," Kneipp said of the decision to close the event to the media.

Sponsors of the two-day conference include KPMG, a company that provides tax advisory services, and Deutsche Bank. It costs $4,000 to attend and other speakers include billionaire Richard Branson.

Cayman Islands officials are proud of the British territory's role as an offshore finance center. But members of the U.S. Congress and advocates for changes in tax laws have accused corporations and wealthy individuals of using so-called financial havens to improperly avoid taxes.


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