Integration is a very powerful word. In its most simple sense it means ‘the act of making whole or entire’ but in modern terms we look at integration as a word to describe the bringing  together of different people, buildings, businesses and technologies in a satisfying and cohesive manner that allows for the continuation of harmony and productivity.

It means we must always be flexible and open minded ready to adjust and integrate, because without integration we cannot move forward. Strength and stability surely lies in the ability to understand and use the new, the different and the unexpected.

The Cayman Islands is an extraordinary example of integration. Not only culturally do we see a huge shift in lifestyle and external cultural influences, but also in business, technology and infrastructural development. We are even looking into the diversification of our economy with the introduction of medical tourism!

We are perhaps not moving at any faster pace than larger countries, but as a small community these integrated processes are much more pronounced and visible. This is a daunting experience for many people, but the reality is much of it is unavoidable if we want to compete as a world class financial centre and tourism destination.

This issue of CHAMBER magazine looks at some of these key areas of integration and how we are managing the process as a country. You will have seen the front cover has representatives of the four telecoms providers for our Islands. This was a deliberate statement on behalf of the Chamber to show that even the most competitive of industries must integrate at some level as the world becomes smaller and the demand for global integration of products and services becomes greater.

Chambers of Commerce around the world are built on the premise of integration. We work diligently to integrate different industry sectors, nationalities, workforce levels and policy.

Economists generally agree that a strong economy is one based on free enterprise and open borders. Most would say this is the reason for Cayman’s success. When local government opened our borders to foreign investment and an international workforce many years ago it was only then that Cayman began to reap the benefits of economic opportunity and start the building of a society that would soon become the envy of many other jurisdictions around the world. Free markets, in the contemporary sense, are generally successful ones.

Whatever your opinion about the Cayman Islands today; the answer is not to shut out the rest of the world. Yes, we must manage our immigration policies just like we must manage the development of land and property – after all nothing is infinite, but more than that, we cannot move backwards.

Our society represents many types of thinking, which is reflected through our developing culture, we can either embrace the opportunity that affords us or we can go down fighting. Either way, change is here to stay and the future awaits us.

Our current economic predicament, much like the rest of the world, has encouraged us to look at the bare bones of Cayman and what it is that we hold dear. We no longer have the financial security to experiment with ideals and whims – we are forced to hold our purse strings tight and ask ourselves significant questions. With that come many different answers, which leaves our leadership with a formidable task.

In answer to this, the Chamber’s role as a solutions provider is to assist in the integration of public opinion and policy within the private and public sector domains. We will remain steadfast in our principles and will continue to advocate for our diverse membership in an unbiased and unprejudiced manner. We have been a constant for the Cayman community for 45 years and we look forward to serving you for many more.