Measures to accelerate the sustainable economic growth of Cayman Brac topped the agenda during a recent tour by UN Development Programme representatives and Cayman Brac officials.
The entourage included UNDP representatives Dr David C. Smith, Mr. José Carlos Libañio and Ms Dianne McIntosh; Sister Islands MLAs Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Moses Kirkconnell; District Commissioner Ernie Scott; Assistant to the Commissioner Wanda Tatum, and Cabinet Office Policy Analyst Christina Rowlandson.
In addition to economic growth, discussions also focused on climate change, and the findings of the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2007, states a GIS press release.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Scott said the visit gave Brac representatives the opportunity to share their concerns about moving the island forward socially, economically and physically. It also allowed UNDP officials to share some of their experiences on development, he said.
As the Brac is smaller than Grand Cayman, more effort must be made to ensure that its economic development takes place in a strategic and planned manner, Mr. Scott said.
This relates particularly to tourism development, he said, as it is recognised that models considered appropriate for larger islands – for instance, high-rise facilities – are out of sync with the physical size and type of tourism development that is right for the Brac.
Mr. Scott noted that the group discussed, at length, boutique tourism to attract more upscale tourists to the area, taking into consideration some of the island’s unique advantages.
The impact of Cayman Brac on the overall Cayman Islands economy could be even greater, he said.
He cited the need to facilitate more businesses on the Brac by offering better access to financing and other initiatives.
Information and communications technology was another area identified as a potential economic stimulant.
To help address this issue, Mr. Scott said UNDP representatives promised to share a number of models for micro-financing, which have been used in other jurisdictions. A business incubator, a facility that allows start-up businesses to mature in a protected and supportive environment, was also discussed as a means to stimulate economic growth on Cayman Brac.
Although economic development dominated the discussions, UNDP and government officials spoke about restorative justice and alternative sentencing as well.
The group then visited facilities on the Brac, including Faith Hospital; the Cayman Brac Day Care Centre; the FIFA sports field (under construction); the Port Authority Compound; Heritage House; Aston Rutty Centre; Cemetery Pier Centre; and the viewing point at the Lighthouse. They also visited the Fire Station, where they sat inside the cabin of the Brac’s new fire engine. The group later had lunch at Biggie’s.