Premier says travel costs worth it

The Cayman Islands government has spent $400,000 since
June 2009 on business travel for approximately 14 people. The trips were aimed
at promoting the country in the international business community.

Premier McKeeva Bush told the country Thursday night
during a broadcast address that he considered it money well spent.

“Government, including myself, has had to travel
extensively to promote and convince the international community that these
Islands are open for business,” Mr. Bush said during the address. “The cost is
small in comparison to the benefits brought through the financial services and
tourism industries.”

To illustrate the point, the premier said that Cayman was
placed on the financial centre ‘white list’ last year by the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development. The ‘white list’ placement is an
indication that Cayman has complied with international directives with regard
to regulation and transparency with its financial services industry,

Mr. Bush also said that there have been signs within the
past few months of a turnaround in the local financial services industry.

The country is registering about 100 new investment funds
per month and close to 10,000 total fund registrations.

“We will surpass our previous peak (for fund
registrations) in the upcoming year,” he said. “So the $22,000 per month spent
on travel is costly, but certainly worth it to ensure the success of our key
financial services and tourism industries.” 

The government is also exploring ways to boost the
physical presence of financial companies in the Cayman Islands. Mr. Bush said
this will involve a “promotional strategy” to encourage physical presence of
those businesses in the Islands that will be unveiled early next year.

 Additional efforts
would be made to assist some other local business sectors that have been
struggling for the past 18 months, but Premier Bush did not provide specific
details.

He said government is considering a short-term stimulus
measure that would reduce stamp duty to help “energise the real estate
industry”. Discussions are under way with the Cayman Islands Real Estate
Brokers’ Association on the proposal.

It is hoped that the first phase of the Narayana Cayman
University Medical Centre will begin in the first quarter of 2011, the premier
said. Some changes in local laws is still needed to assist that project; Mr.
Bush said government would “continue to use our best endeavours to fulfil our
obligations under the agreement”. He lauded other government projects that he
said would provide “substantial benefits” to the country. 

“I would specifically point to…progress that is being
made in relation to the George Town cruse port development project, the
sewerage system, road works and the waste-to-energy project [at the George Town
Landfill],” he said. 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Cayman signing a sufficient number of TIEAs to obtain OECD white list status had absolutely nothing to do with government business travel.

    The finance indsutry is succeeding due to the incredible amount of hard work put in by members of the private sector.

    Finally, we have Cayman Finance to represent the financial services industry in Cayman, and they do a fine job of it too. I shudder to think what intelligent members of the international financial commuinty would make of the uninformed ramblings of the Cayman premier.

    Bottom line Mac – stop spending so much and stop taking credit where it really isn’t due.

    Pogo

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