Premier calls 2011 ‘turnaround year’ on growth

Next year will bring a turnaround to Cayman’s economic
woes, Premier McKeeva Bush said last week.

Speaking about the recently released Premier’s Plan for
Sustainable Economic Success, a report that outlines the parameters of Cayman’s
financial recovery, Mr. Bush said employment is at the heart of the plan.

“Our number one priority is getting people back to work,”
he said.

“If we can create the right environment that allows
businesses to return to growth and flourish, this will create the jobs that are
needed to ensure that Caymanians can earn an income and support their
families.”

The economic stimulus plan addresses three sectors of
Cayman’s economy – financial services, tourism and development.

Mr. Bush gave more details about the development aspect of
the plan.

Mr. Bush said he expects several development projects to
get under way during the first half of 2011.

One of the projects includes the further development of
Camana Bay, which will begin construction on another office building and the
next phase of its residential properties.

“This will put 300 people to work,” he said, adding that
over the next five years, development work at Camana Bay will represent some
$620 million
of investment – including $100 million in 2011 alone – leading to $54 million
of general government revenues and another $25 million in stamp duty on real
estate sales.

Another project Mr. Bush said would start in the first
part of 2011 is Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Cayman University Medical
Centre. 

He said he had hoped to get tort reform legislation –
which is required for the development to proceed – passed in the Legislative
Assembly this month, but it wasn’t ready.

“It will be passed though,” he said, adding that he
expects it to be dealt with in the House in January and that there should be
the start of some development activity for the project during the first
quarter.

Other legislation expected to come in January will allow
for commencement of a $200 million national sewerage project. 

Mr. Bush expressed frustration that it has taken more than
a year to get the legislation ready, something that he blamed on bureaucracy.

“People connected to government haven’t moved fast
enough,” he said, noting that a national sewerage system project isn’t only
needed to provide economic stimulus, but is also vital to the country’s
environment.

“But there have been roadblocks from the people at the
Water Authority,” he said. “I am finding tremendous roadblocks to the stimulus
projects.”

Mr. Bush said he thought there were two reasons why civil
servants were being uncooperative in implementing his plans.

“Some people have built up little kingdoms in these areas
and they don’t want their little kingdoms mashed up,” he said.

“Others just don’t want to see this government accomplish
things.

But who suffers? Our people suffer.”

In addition to the bureaucracy, Mr. Bush said he also must
now deal with various boards that have to approve projects, making the process
slower than it used to be.

“When I was chairing my boards, I didn’t have to go
through this rigmarole,” he said.

“Cayman is not a place where you can just up and do it
anymore.”

The resumption of work on the two new high schools in
George Town and Frank Sound will also create jobs, as will additional road works
and the primary schools building programme, which will also commence during the
first quarter of 2011, Mr. Bush said. 

The primary schools project will be funded using $10
million of the $155 million of borrowing approved in the 2010/11 budget and
will entail the building of new classroom blocks at all of Grand Cayman’s
primary schools, he said.

“This will allow us to do away with all these temporary
classrooms.”

The primary schools projects will be tendered separately
in order to give many construction companies work, Mr. Bush said.

“That will help create jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said. “That’s
what it’s all about, and of course, to add to government revenues.”

Another possible development project that could start
during 2011 is the proposed East End Seaport. There are also talks about
building hotels.

“My plan is to get two more luxury hotels, one in west and
one in east, and also boutique hotels,” he said.

“We have to have more rooms.”

Mr. Bush said that attracting luxury brand hotels would not
only help promote the Cayman Islands as a destination, but would also create
more jobs.

“What Caymanians have to
do is gravitate to those jobs,” he said.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Im sure you are now going to get posters commenting that this is case of Premier Bush talking the talk and then questioning whether he can walk the walk.

    However, identifying the main problems is a major step towards recovery and some of the comments in this story are very encouraging. Particularly those attacking destructive elements within the civil service, identifying the need to create employment and finally acknowledging the need to create more accommodation for stay over visitors – although I would question the building of luxury hotels when the real need seems to be for more affordable rooms.

    OK, so hes ducked the crime issue. But full employment and a fall in crime should go hand in hand – creating a law abiding society is always as much about tackling social issues as it is about law enforcement. Im sure that questions will be raised over his inclusion of the East End sea port in the recovery plan and about how many of the 300 jobs at Camana Bay will go to unemployed Caymanians.

    I would also add to those questions one about reducing the Cayman Islands dependency on public sector employment, which is an area were a difficult balance needs to struck between real needs and the impact on the economy of mass redundancies.

    But the big question is whether, with the help of the population of the Cayman Islands, this will work out?

    It may or it may not, but at least your political leaders are looking forward, putting tangible proposals on the table, and thats a heck of lot more than we are getting in the UK.

    I look forward to the Oppositions response.

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  2. A quick suggestion, it is not too late to make this quick change. I applaud the Premiers efforts with regard to making Cayman a more attractive destination for investment.

    My suggestion would be, remove the requirement for Caymanian participation for anybody granted Permanent Residence Status.

    We cant invite people to come here and invest, then offer them the right to live here for twenty five years, in the process becoming property owners but not allow them to invest and/or own and become involved in local businesses.

    This would go a long way to attracting new business and investment to Cayman.

    For those who say this would hurt local business.

    The law could be written this way. WHO PURCHASES AN EXISTING LOCAL COMPANY. So by buying your business they are enriching YOU and you in turn will now take your new found gains and in turn invest them in something else.

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  3. Well, if this plan is executed in 2011, we most certainly will see economic recovery. Luxury hotels do help to promote the island, one in the East will help, however, the people of the Eastern Districts need to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities ALL development affords them. As a supporter of the East End Seaport I look forward to this project commencing as well as the Shetty Hospital.

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