New laws are welcomed

In both daily newspapers recently there was one full page advertisement that caught my attention.

This was an advert by the Cayman Contractors Association thanking the PPM Government for bringing to pass two pieces of legislation – The Builders Bill 2007 and the Occupational Safety & Health Regulations.

Often times in assessing our Government’s performance we have a tendency to look for things that we can see as an indication of work done and promises kept.

Of course tangible things are important – hence this Government has been congratulated for bringing a new openness to politics with weekly press conference etc; or for improving our road network and easing traffic woes; for providing the RCIP with the financial and moral support to properly protect our people; and yes for bringing about needed improvement to the education of our young people; amongst other things.

But Government is also about making laws and making a difference in ways that are not immediately obvious but that are so very important.

For 20-plus years previous governments have heard the local contractors call for laws that helped regulate and make their industry safer.

Local consumer advocates also joined the cry- seeking to ensure that regular people looking to build their family home, and likely making the largest investment of their lives, can feel safe in their choice of contractor.

But whilst these previous Governments understood the need, and perhaps talked about bringing a suitable law – none did.

But the present Government has now changed that.

With these new laws, along with a regulatory regime to ensure that builders are properly qualified and licensed to do the work they say they can, we are protected against shady unqualified individuals who provide shoddy work, or steal our money, or both.

Additionally, with a level playing field in place experienced, safety conscious, quality builders are able to compete fairly and competitively for work.

This is good for business as well as good for people- and thus it is good for the country.

But these new laws go further.

Indeed they may also help to save lives and limbs in a profession that has many inherent dangers- whether from operating heavy equipment, using electric saws and the like; working high above ground or from many other myriad risks.

Indeed, if laws such as these had been put in place 20 years ago we might have had fewer workers seriously injured or worse over the years.

These new laws serve as an example of what good, effective government is about. Yes it is about doing the tangible things – new roads and improved schools and so on. But it is also about doing the more subtle things that make a real positive difference in the lives of people. When this is also good for business then we truly have a win-win.

These two pieces of legislation may not make exciting reading; nor these days are they the stuff that make for screaming newspaper headlines. But they are very significant, and historic, pieces of legislation that will benefit us all.

I am also grateful that the country has a Government with the foresight to bring these much needed laws to fruition and in so doing for continuing to show real leadership and effective Government over these past two years.

Roy Tatum

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