Businesses plan to combat slump

Representatives from various business sectors met in George Town Monday to devise strategies to tackle declining business and falling sales on the islands.

Under the aegis of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, organisations including the Cayman Islands Civil Service and other industry associations are formulating short- and long-term processes to combat the slump.

They first met with the chamber council two months ago and may unveil some of the plans as soon as May, according to the chamber’s CEO Wil Pineau.

‘The group had its first meeting in January to discuss the state of the economy,’ said Mr. Pineau.

‘Industry leaders submitted recommendations on how to move forward and on Monday they shall be reviewing those recommendations with a view to finalising a report and deciding the next step,’ he said. ‘Actions should be released well before the election.’

Among the possible solutions is a national conference – along the lines of one staged in Barbados last week – that could consolidate business strategy.

‘That’s certainly one concept that could be considered,’ said Mr. Pineau of an idea that at least one member of the business community believes has already been exploited exhaustively.

‘We’ve had lots of conferences already,’ said James Bergstrom, managing partner of the law firm Ogier’s Cayman practice. ‘In fact, as far as specialisms such as anti-money laundering go, we have been the leader in such strategies.’

‘There’s an investment funds conference next month,’ he said, emphasising he could not conceive of a platform for a homogenous approach to business in Cayman, across disciplines. ‘Much of the efforts are targeted on the financial sector.’

Another lawyer, Tim Ridley – former senior partner of Maples and Calder and an ex-chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority – is more enthusiastic about the prospect.

He told the Caymanian Compass that he had encouraged the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association and the chamber to co-sponsor the measure.

As far as other solutions are concerned, we will have to wait.

‘It would be premature to discuss all possible outcomes,’ said Mr. Pineau.

‘All professional associations are taking part and it’s for them to present their ideas. It depends on the meeting on Monday. It could entail releasing information to the public.’

The chamber’s initiative was a response to a consensus among its 700-plus membership.

‘Various industry sectors had expressed their concerns,’ Mr. Pineau said.

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