Governor Stuart Jack used his annual Throne Speech on Friday to underscore the importance of keeping an eye on world developments as Cayman tries to improve the quality of life for its own residents.
‘Globalisation means the easier flow of people, money and work between countries,’ Governor Jack said. ‘It represents both an opportunity and a challenge for Cayman.’
The Governor said it was important for Cayman to understand how globalisation works, to be flexible and ready to move quickly to seize opportunities.
‘This could affect many areas of government…economic policy, education, international relations, security, immigration policy, and even health,’ he said.
Mr. Jack also outlined plans to improve local law enforcement and disaster response capabilities over the next year.
‘Climate change is happening,’ he said. ‘We must now start addressing its implications for us, including in our planning and building regulations as well as in our disaster preparedness. The consequences of not doing so could be dire.’
Cayman is expected to begin construction of a new combined Emergency Centre complex in Bodden Town incorporating fire, police and ambulance services in one general area. Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has said the complex will be a first for Cayman.
Governor Jack said the newly-formed Cayman Islands Hazard Management office would create a plan to define priorities for a disaster mitigation programme. Designs for a new Emergency Operations Centre are also expected to be completed in the next budget year.
Mr. Jack said tanks for storing emergency fuel would be set up in the eastern districts of the islands as part of Cayman’s disaster control effort. He said new storm modelling software programmes will be introduced, and seismic monitoring stations will also be located throughout the three islands.
He said police would continue to focus on lowering serious crime, following a reported 26 per cent drop last year. He also said more efforts would be devoted to reducing road fatalities, efforts which will include various traffic calming measures.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service will receive several new craft to aid in patrolling Cayman’s coastal waters, along with a new building in Newlands for its Marine and Drugs Task Force.
The 911 Emergency Communications Centre is also expected to take on a new role…electronic monitoring…under the government’s alternative sentencing programme for the prison system.
By the middle of this year, a new expanded forensics lab is expected to open. The lab will allow DNA evidence tests to be conducted in criminal cases.
Human rights were also given priority in the governor’s address. He said the Attorney General’s Chambers will appoint in-house lawyers to cover emerging issues. A secretariat will also be established to support the Human Rights Committee.
‘Although inevitably changing, our society remains strong,’ Governor Jack said. ‘As do the values on which it is based, including Christian values, democratic and accountable government, and respect for human rights.’
As is customary, debate on the Governor’s Throne speech was delayed until the meeting of the Legislative Assembly resumes on 4 May.
Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush gave the traditional formal thanks to the Governor following his address, adding that the speech was ‘very promising.’