Cayman courts Arab oil, money

The Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush will lead a Cayman delegation to the United Arab Emirates in early March in effort to foster business relations.

Mr. Bush said two goals of the trip will be the establishment of an office for the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau in Dubai and to explore the possibility of a small oil refinery in Grand Cayman.

Others expected to make the trip from Cayman include private sector members of the financial industry and the Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson, Mr. Bush said.

‘We want to explore synergies between our countries,’ Mr Bush said.

In an address made at the Fidelity Group’s Cayman Business Outlook conference last week, Mr. Bush called the UAE an increasingly important financial centre. He said the Cayman delegation would meet with senior government, regulatory and business figures there.

Mr. Bush said he thinks a small oil refinery could be of tremendous benefit to the Cayman Islands.

‘We would first have to address the strong environmental concerns and conduct a study to make sure it’s something that is environmentally safe,’ he said. ‘But I think it’s possible.’

The refinery would be pursued as a partnership with the UAE, Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush noted the negative impacts of the current high-cost of fuel on the Cayman Islands economy.

‘It’s costing Cayman Airways a lot to operate; it adds a high fuel factor to our electricity costs, and it costs more run our vehicles. A small refinery here would tremendously lower all of those costs.’

In addition, an oil refinery, even a small one, could provide a source of revenue for the Cayman Islands in oil sales to other countries in the region.

‘It would also help our economy by employing Caymanians and others,’ he said.

Although building an oil refinery in Cayman is just in the exploratory phase, Mr. Bush said he thought the facility would be located near the proposed new port in East End.

Mr. Bush said he will travel to the UAE immediately after leaving Hong Kong, where he will formally open the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau office there.

That opening was originally scheduled to take place 11 September, but had to be cancelled because of Hurricane Ivan.

Mr. Bush responded to recent criticism concerning his travelling habits.

‘I’m trying to build business and build partnerships,’ he said. ‘I can’t stay in the Glass House or in West Bay and get any business for the country.’

‘I’m trying to build business and build partnerships. I can’t stay in the Glass House or in West Bay and get any business for the country.’

McKeeva Bush

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