William Peguero will step down as chairman of the National Investment Council at the end of this month.
Mr. Peguero has chaired the voluntary body, which was formed 16 months ago to advise the government on investment matters, since its inception.
The council of private sector business people was supposed to have seven members, but only six were appointed. Architect Burns Conolly left the council late last year and was not replaced and the deputy chairman James Bergstrom, managing partner of Ogier law firm, moved to Hong Kong in January this year.
With Mr. Peguero’s departure, only three members who live in Cayman remain on the council – Managing Director of Caledonian Bank James O’Neill; owner of Island Air Marcus Cumber; and Ritz Carlton developer Michael Ryan.
Mr. Peguero said he had tendered his resignation from the council in May, effective from 31 July.
He said he was leaving the council due to increasing work commitments. His company EagleMount Ltd. and its partners recently launched a new health insurance product throughout the Caribbean and Mr. Peguero said he needed to concentrate on his business.
Mr. Conolly said he had also left the council because of his work commitments.
“No new chairman has been appointed yet. I expect it will be announced very soon,” Mr. Peguero said.
The National Investment Council reports directly to a special Cabinet Committee chaired by Premier McKeeva Bush and its recommendations are supposed to help Cabinet formulate policies for long-term investment and development.
The council is supported by an Investment Advisory Committee made up of senior civil servants who provide technical input.
Mr. Peguero said he felt his biggest achievement as part of the council was the preparation and completion of a comprehensive report called Cayman Inc., which was presented to Cabinet in August last year.
“That plan showed the areas we felt were of the most interest to the nation,” he said.
Among the areas addressed in the plan was berthing facilities, expansion of the airport and the runway, the Shetty hospital, the addition of more hotel resorts and dealing with the dump.
“We put a lot of work into it and we were blessed to see many investors come to the island,” Mr. Peguero said.
He added: “I think the amount of investors we saw on a monthly basis and how pleased they were with the amount and level of care we gave them was a testament to our efforts.”
The outgoing chair-man of the council said he believed the body still had work to do. “It has a role to play … I hope it is utilised more and will continue to be utilised.
“We get many people coming to our nation with ideas and it is good to have a system where the information is disseminated and looked at and then advice can be given to Cabinet to make their job a lot easier,” he said.
One of the tasks of the National Investment Council is to study new proposals and investments.
“We have a system that can facilitate a full study of every proposal. The beauty of that is it does not have any dollar cost to the government and you’re able to give different angles of what is being presented,” Mr. Peguero said.
“I think it would be wise for this administration and other administrations to utilise such a system,” he said.
Mr. Peguero said he would continue to promote Cayman overseas whenever he travels.
“I believe we have a good story and good island. People care to come to Cayman and I believe we have a lot to offer,” he said.