CARTAC would consider Cayman again

The reviews of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre conference held here in late May are in and by all accounts the event was a hit with the participants.

Representatives from 20 Caribbean countries attended the three-day conference, which detailed the Cayman Islands Government’s multi-tiered Financial Management Reform.

Attendees found the conference so worthwhile, they they’d like to return in the future.

The Cayman Model of public finance management reform incorporates a full accrual accounting system, output budgeting, personnel reform and a Public Authorities Law to govern statutory entities.

CARTAC’s public finance management advisor Graeme Hansen said participants found the conference worthwhile, and spoke about the event from a personal perspective.

‘The evident enthusiasm of the participants was a response to the quality of the material and presentations and to the interest in understanding not just the theory, but how that theory had actually been applied in a real world situation in this region,’ he said.

While visiting attendees learned about Cayman’s reforms, Mr. Hansen said other benefits included a general exchange of experiences between a senior group of people actively engaged in financial management delivery across the Caribbean.

The Cayman Model of financial management reform has been identified as a regional reference point for leading edge reform, Mr. Hansen said.

‘Cayman has some particular attributes that have facilitated its remarkable reform programmes,’ said Mr. Hansen.

‘Others, for sound reasons, will choose, or have chosen, different paths for reform. However, even they are likely to now reference what has happened, and what will happen, in the Cayman Islands.’

The Cayman Model will continue to attract attention from outside.

‘Only a small group of countries have successfully pursued this type of reform,’ Mr. Hansen said. ‘Consequently, what has been done, and will be done in the Cayman Islands, will inevitably attract international interest.

‘From my perspective the most interesting thing about the Cayman reforms are not the individual elements, many of which exist in various forms in many countries, but the holistic approach to reform and the comprehensive and tailored nature of the reforms that have been implemented.’

Deputy Financial Secretary Peter Gough was please to see the enthusiasm for reform from the participants.

‘We’re on the cutting edge of reform,’ he said.

‘Many countries will not be able to do what we’ve done, but some will rub off.’

Mr. Gough said several participants contacted him after they left.

‘We’re getting people already asking for more information on the reform,’ he said.

Reviews from the participants themselves after the conference were also positive.

‘I highly commend the Cayman Islands Government for taking this (reform) initiative and for the willingness to share their experiences with us,’ said one participant.

Another attendee hoped the conference was the first step in better co-operation in the region.

‘It is my hope that this conference does not end here but that it will be the beginning of a working relationship between our countries and yours,’ the attendee said.

Still another participant was eager to come back to Cayman.

‘It would be valuable to come back in two years’ time to further assess the progress of the Cayman Islands reform.’

Chief Secretary George McCarthy, who as financial secretary led the charge for reform, thinks it would be a good idea to hold the CARTAC conference here again.

‘I would like to see them come back,’ he said. ‘We want to be kept under scrutiny. We’ve come through the gate and we’re doing quite well, but we wouldn’t want to fall down.’

Mr. Hansen said CARTAC is very likely to consider returning for further study of the Cayman Model in the future, subject to approval from the Government.