It is perplexing to hear politicians continue to refer to the two pillars of the Cayman economy as being only tourism and financial services.
In reality, there are four pillars to Cayman’s economy: (1) tourism; (2) financial services; (3) maintenance of real estate (residential and commercial); and (4) real estate development. The failure to acknowledge the latter two pillars has led to a skewed and incomplete discussion of Cayman’s future development and the size of its government revenues.
For example, it is pillars (3) and (4), the maintenance of real estate and real estate development, which make it important for Cayman to have a vocational school devoted to giving young Caymanians the necessary job skills to work in those two pillars and to lessen the need for additional work permits in these areas. It is pillar four, real estate development and the stamp duty and customs duty that result from it, which largely has given Cayman the highest standard of living in the Caribbean.
I realize that a lot of Caymanians are against further real estate development; however, its desirability as a way of maintaining government revenues, its significant contribution to our standard of living and the consequences of restricting it should be discussed openly and not buried by denying the existence of the third and fourth pillars. The failure to discuss these matters openly hampers the ability of voters to choose a fully-informed way forward for these Islands.