Today’s Editorial February 27: Rainy day upon us

We’ve probably all heard the expression advising us to save for a rainy day, which basically means we should keep some money aside for times of need.

Well, it’s officially a rainy day.

The most recent caycompass.com online poll shows that nearly two-thirds of the respondents report they are earning less as a result of the economic downturn. Many of those who have not been affected by the world recession, express worry that they will be affected as this year goes on.

The twin pillars of Cayman’s economy, the finance and tourism industries, are both feeling the pinch. There have been lay-offs in the finance industry and the funds sector is particularly hurting. Tourism is off, partially because of a significant reduction in group travel. And while Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford says he remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the tourism prospects in the short term, he recently acknowledged 2009 will be a very challenging year for the sector.

Chances are, 2009 will prove to be a very challenging year for the vast majority of people in the Cayman Islands, given the fact that most economic experts believe the financial crisis isn’t even close to being over. This means that many of those who haven’t been affected yet by the economic meltdown could very well feel the effects later on this year.

And so, the skies have darkened and it’s a rainy day, if not a rainy week, month or year.

Everyone now has to see if what they saved for this rainy day, if anything, is enough to see them through to the next sunny clearing. We are afraid people did not adequately prepare for the eventuality of bad economic times.

In some cases, the oversight probably had to do with not earning enough to save while eking out a basic life. In other cases, however, we believe people overspent without giving the future much thought, as if good times would last forever.

In one sense, who could blame them for their optimism? Our government also seemed to act as if the good times would last forever, as it embarked on the most expansive and expensive capital building programme in the history of the Cayman Islands. Despite warnings about the approaching economic storm, the government steadfastly maintained the impact of the storm would minimal, at least until the storm was upon us.

Time will tell if the government has saved anything for this rainy day, or whether the already hurting public will be asked to shoulder this burden as well.

The twin pillars of Cayman’s economy, the finance and tourism industries, are both feeling the pinch. There have been lay-offs in the finance industry and the funds sector is particularly hurting. Tourism is off, partially because of a significant reduction in group travel. And while Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford says he remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the tourism prospects in the short term, he recently acknowledged 2009 will be a very challenging year for the sector.

0
0

NO COMMENTS