Chamber Candidates Forums announced for April 2009

Chamber survey seeks members’ views on top election issues.

National elections will take place in May and the Chamber of Commerce will host a series of district forums in April so that candidates can communicate their positions on the top issues to the membership and the wider community. The Chamber has hosted the district candidates’ forums each election dating back to the early 1980s in partnership with Radio Cayman and, more recently, Cayman 27.
The Candidates Forums provide each candidate with an opportunity to share their views on issues that matter most to the membership and the wider community. The Chamber will be releasing a survey inviting the membership to list the Top 5 issues affecting our Islands. The results of the survey will be used to develop five Chamber questions. The media and the public are also able to ask questions of the candidates during each of the forums. The email survey will be distributed in January. The survey deadline is 27 February.
To stimulate discussion, we have identified some of the main issues that have captured headlines over the past year:
Economy: Globally, the economy is capturing the headlines with many communities concerned about the impact of a recession on the United States and other countries. What actions will the candidates propose to ensure that the Cayman Islands economy remains stable during these uncertain times?

Immigration Reform & Employment: In a recent survey conducted by the Chamber, the membership expressed concern about the effect of the rollover policy on the economy. There is also discussion about a proposal to introduce a minimum wage for the Cayman Islands. What positions will the candidates take on these important issues?   
Government Spending & Fiscal responsibility: Responsible spending by the Government is of paramount importance as well as transparency, especially in these uncertain economic times. Is enough attention being given to curb unnecessary spending and building up national savings?
Crime: Drug abuse, gun crime, gang violence, domestic abuse, child abuse, burglary, traffic offences, the list is extensive as in most modern countries. The distribution and use of the resources and funding for both crime prevention and detection is essential. How important is this topic to you?
Constitution: Modernising our existing constitution is of the utmost importance to our country and to the UK. The Chamber was able to express the views of the membership at the initial talks in September 2008. It is uncertain whether a new constitution will be in place prior to the elections.
Education: Millions of dollars have been allocated to improve the educational infrastructure, but is it the right approach for true reform? Are there other avenues that can be considered?
Attack on our Financial Services Industry: Increasingly the developed countries are tightening their hold over the offshore financial services sector. What impact will new guidelines and regulations have on the Cayman Islands? What will the candidates’ position be on this important industry sector?
Environmental Responsibility: This includes effective and practical planning and development as well as implementing responsible regulations for preserving and protecting our environment and natural resources.
Energy Crisis: At the moment, the vast majority of our energy is reliant on importation of fossil fuels, the costs of which are only going to increase over the years, not mentioning the adverse environmental impact of generating energy using these resources.