JA finalists look to Canada

Several students taking part in the
Junior Achievement after school programme are a step closer to finding out if
they will represent the Cayman Islands at the Annual Canadian Junior Achievement
International Youth Business Conference, known as next Generation Leaders.

The 14 finalists had an opportunity
to present on the following topics:  Minimum
wage, diversifying the economy, e-business, and term limit.

By way of some background,
President of Junior Achievement Pat Randall says: “The students in the Company
Programme were divided into 14 companies and each company had the opportunity
to nominate the top five students from their group, and the advisors selected
the top two of the five who contributed the greatest. Those students were
interviewed by a panel of judges who had the tough job of selecting the
finalist. The 14 finalists had an opportunity to present at the Annual Oral
Presentation where a panel of independent judges decided the fate of the eight
winners who would go on to represent at the Canadian business conference”.

Gabriela Roberts a year 13 student
at St-Ignatius Catholic School spoke about diversifying the economy. She
discussed the differences between a planned economy and a free market economy.
While speaking to the panel of judges, she said there were few disadvantages to
a free market economy. She said that a planned economy cannot detect consumer
preferences accurately. Gabriela also said there were no profit motive and a
lack of competition in the planned economy.

McField, who is president of her JA Company and a first year student at UCCI,
spoke about the rollover policy. She spoke in favour of a reduction in the time
an expatriate should be required to leave the country to break residency. She
thought the Islands could benefit economically, by keeping good teachers and
employees. She thought it would also keep the relationship between Caymanians
and expats more stable.

11 student at Cayman Prep & High School, Julian Solomon, is also president
of his JA Company. He discussed the idea of a minimum wage for the Islands’
workers, which he was very much against. He told the panel of judges that if
you increase the minimum wage that would in turn increase the cost of doing
business for an employer. He says that has the knock on effect of increasing
the cost of a business’s products or services, which would in turn increase the
cost of living. He argued that cycle would defeat putting in the minimum wage
in the first place. Julian argued that the government needed to educate and
train the people that would be earning that minimum wage. 

Presentations were delivered to a
distinguished panel of judges, who included Alison Dunkley, the director –
Compliance & Risk Management at Deloitte & Touche; Douglas Harrell, tax
partner at KPMG; and partner at the law firm Ogier, Giorgio Subiotto. The
judges not only critiqued the presentation, they each had an opportunity to ask
one question to each presenter.

The next Generation Leaders Forum
is recognised globally by JA Worldwide as the premier international conference
for Junior Achievement Youth. Participants face real business challenges and develop
strategies in collaboration with their global peers, university faculty and industry
volunteers. This year next Generation Leaders will be held in Kingston Ontario,
at Queen’s University from 7-11 August.

JA Cayman will send eight students
to the conference free of cost. The winners will be announced at the annual JA
Awards Banquet to be held on Saturday, 21 May, at the Grand Cayman Marriott
Beach Resort. Businesses that would like to donate to the cost of sending the
students on the trip should contact the JA Programme Director, Tara McField on
949-4306 or [email protected]