Cayman commerce department formed

With an eye toward encouraging
foreign investment and helping local business through tough economic times, the
Cayman Islands has restructured several of its
current business licensing, investment and business assistance functions into
one agency.

The new entity will be known as the
Department of Commerce and Investment and will replace the Cayman Islands Investment
Bureau.  

The department will encompass
Cayman’s Investment Support Services Unit, which focuses on attracting and
assisting foreign investors; the Cayman Islands Film Commission, which aims to
attract foreign film and TV producers to Cayman; and the Small Business
Development Unit, which offers technical help to local companies and
entrepreneurs.

Premier McKeeva Bush said trade and
business licensing functions, which were formerly handled in immigration but
recently shifted to the investment bureau, would also fall under the new
Department of Commerce and Investment starting on 1 March.

“It became clear that the name
Cayman Islands Investment Bureau would not clearly communicate the internal
changes or the agency’s modified mandate,” Premier Bush said last week.

Mr. Bush said he expected the
switch up would be revenue neutral for government, and also hoped the new
agency would help reduce the bureaucracy faced by both local and foreign
companies that wish to do business in Cayman.

“Where there is scope and need for
additional staff, we will look to see how we can efficiently use persons across
the agencies that fall within financial services,” he said.

To advise the department, Premier
Bush said a government-appointed National Investment Council would be
appointed.

The group’s focus will be on
keeping Cayman’s legislation and policies related to trade and development
current. Members will include both public and private sector representatives.

A committee of advisors from
several government departments would also be formed to provide technical input
and information on all matters before the council. Mr. Bush said that the
committee would act to assist investment council members only.

“It will not be left to that
committee to drive investment for the Islands,”
Mr. Bush said.

The National Investment Council
will report to a special committee of Cabinet ministers, chaired by the
Premier.

Mr. Bush has said since his
government was elected in May that he wanted the Cayman Islands Investment
Bureau to play a greater role in attracting and retaining business in the Cayman Islands.

Investment bureau chief Dax Basdeo
will stay on to head the new Department of Commerce and Investment.

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Mr. Bush
Photo: File

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