During the panel discussion that
ended the Fidelity Cayman Business Outlook conference last week, the six people
on the panel agreed on one important thing: Cayman needs more people.
As one of the panellists pointed
out, there are only two ways to achieve population growth: through procreation
or immigration. Procreation would take
decades to produce people ready to enter the workforce, and since achieving the
kind of population growth needed would require most couples to have more
children than they would want – or could afford – immigration is the only real
The conclusions of the panel, which
was made up of a mix of new and indigenous Caymanians, were something that many
people already knew. Indeed, on several occasions the Caymanian Compass has
written about the population decline and its effects. In addition, almost everyone
in business in the Cayman Islands knows what the drop in population has meant
for their bottom line.
Against this backdrop, the
government has pursued a number of projects with the potential of increasing
the population significantly – and permanently.
If projects like Dr. Shetty’s university hospital, the East End Seaport
or the Special Economic Zone come to fruition, Cayman will see significant
Some people will bemoan the fact
that more people will change Cayman forever, but the truth is, Cayman is
already changed forever compared to just a few decades ago.
UCCI President Roy Bodden, a member
of last week’s panel, said only a “madman” would advocate a return to simpler
times, adding that Cayman was on a treadmill from which there was no way off.
We agree. The only path is forward and that means
change. People don’t like change, so
there’s going to be resistance, but most people have learned over the difficult
last two years that change is necessary.
Former Cabinet Minister Frank
McField noted last year that old-time Cayman and its traditional culture are
now merely relics, like something to be put on a shelf and admired and talked
about, but no longer lived. Once people
accept this notion, the transition into the future will be made much easier.