Chairman of the Steering Committee
There has been much debate over the last couple of years, regarding concerns over Cayman’s future stability and growth. We have felt the hand of economic bleakness upon us and for most of us this is an experience we would rather not have had. But debate is just that unless we put words into action.
The Chamber has recognised that with fear and quandary sometimes comes discord and division. The sooner we can unite our industry associations, businesses, public sector and government leaders, the more resilient our country will be to the economic challenges that still lay before us.
The Future of Cayman Forum is an economic development initiative that has been created to answer that need and start the process of adjustments and change that we must confront holistically. It is not a question of ‘riding out’ an economic downturn; this is about an evolvement of policy, procedure and practice as we look to keep pace with a global economic transformation.
This is not to suggest that no efforts have been made up until this point, but now is the time to put our collective thoughts and efforts together as we plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for us all. We have a place in this world, and we must fight hard to ensure we remain a visible, viable and vital force in our main industries. We believe this economic development initiative will get us closer to that point.
Back in March, with the Forum in mind, the Chamber distributed a State of Business Survey to its member business owners to find out the ‘on the ground’ challenges and views regarding operating conditions. The results, which were published in the previous edition of CHAMBER magazine and are available on the Chamber website, gave us a clear idea of the areas of main concern. These results coupled with discussions with association industry leaders led to the development of five key pillars:
- Develop talent We must examine the human capital development of the country not only in support of our current main operating industries but also in preparation of future industries as we, like many other nations, look to diversify.
- Create a business friendly environment We have enjoyed many years of investment and prosperity over the last few decades but how do we compare in today’s market and how easy is it for local businesses to operate within our current bureaucratic system? There must be synergy between our government and private sectors to allow for growth and stability.
- Build a smarter infrastructure As we look to Cayman’s future needs and development in support of our economic mainstays, we must examine the infrastructural investment in key areas such as our seaport and airport. Investment in our roads, schools, hospitals and marine and environmental conservation is also vital for a balanced and attractive tourism and residential product.
- Enhance quality of life In recent years we have enjoyed an excellent quality of life, but it is not enough to expect that to continue – we must put in place assurances that what we hold dear: clean water, personal safety, education for all, environmental and marine conservation, affordable housing, democratic governance; that will remain available to us for many years to come.
- Diversify the economy We must look beyond our traditional industries and innovate. Economic diversity is critical in today’s market and exploring opportunities in medical tourism and other new industries will be essential in establishing a sustainable and prosperous future.
These key pillars will be shared with private and public sector representatives at the Future of Cayman Forum on 11 November, at the Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Centre at Governors Square. Break-out groups will be formed and each group will be responsible for the development of the strategies and the actions that support their pillar. We are fortunate to have the backing of IBM as a major sponsor/facilitator of the event, a forward thinking company in its own right, it has clearly recognised the value in working together toward this common goal.
After the forum, a scorecard will be created that will act as a tracking tool to measure, analyse and assess the state of Cayman’s economy in regards to these pillars.
This scorecard will provide an honest assessment of how Cayman is doing and where the economy is heading. It will measure Cayman’s overall economic health, including graduation rates, the level of inward investment, business fees, health care costs and jurisdictional comparisons. It will also measure the progress that is being made on implementing the strategies identified to support the pillars.
For anyone interested in finding out more about this Chamber economic development initiative,
contact [email protected] or call 9498090 ext. 122