First Future of Cayman report released

    Emphasis on common public-private economic goals

    Top Lead

     

    The Future of Cayman initiative is an attempt to cross the public-private line and partisan aisle in pursuit of a set of common economic objectives. Stemming from an October 2009 event in Florida, the idea for Cayman has been evolving with input from business and government, leading to the presentation of the initiative’s first strategic report Wednesday at the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce. 

    “Opinions and strategies differed, and surely still do, on the best course of action,” Chamber President-Elect David Kirkaldy said. “Our research, however, led us to discover that countries and communities in this hemisphere where the public and private sectors worked collaboratively and cooperatively to address the challenges, those communities were able to introduce strategies that assisted their recovery faster.” 

    Companies dubbed “Partners in Progress” for being initial supporters of the initiative include Bodden Holdings, Butterfield, Caledonian, Caymanian Compass, Dart Enterprises, Digicel, IBM, KPMG, The Phoenix Group and The Security Centre. 

    Premier McKeeva Bush delivered remarks during the “Be Informed” presentation and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chamber expressing mutual support for the initiative. Mr. Kirkaldy also made a point of recognising Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin and independent North Side MLA Ezzard Miller for attending the presentation, saying he hoped for their help in implementing the initiative. 

    Mr. McLaughlin said he and his party had not been invited to participate in the initial formulation of the plan, but that the key drivers and objectives appeared relevant and sound, and he is eager to be involved in the initiative as much as possible. 

    “We are very happy that this is going on, and we are very happy that the government seems to have bought into it,” he said. “One of the big problems in Cayman is we have a government that essentially has no plan. And in the present environment, very smart strategies are necessary to survive. If government isn’t developing a plan on its own and isn’t coming into office with one, it is very useful that the Chamber of Commerce is going about this exercise and that the government is prepared to buy in. We want to ask to contribute to this.”  

    Mr. Kirkaldy and Chamber CEO Wil Pineau called on members of the community to sign up for subcommittees to further objectives categorized under five drivers identified as essential to Cayman’s future success, including: develop talent; create a business-friendly climate; diversify the economy; enhance quality of life; and build a smarter infrastructure. Each driver has a committee co-chair from government and one from the Chamber. 

    The general drivers are broken into specific objectives and individual action items, which can be seen on the report on the initiative’s website, www.futureofcayman.com. People can also use the site to learn more about the initiative, interact, get involved and track the initiative’s progress. 

    “No strategic report is very good without assessment and regular assessment,” Mr. Pineau said. “This is what this is going to be that’s going to make it different from some of the other things that we’ve seen in the country.” 

    Mr. Pineau said the website will serve as a clearinghouse for positive news items about Cayman that people can share using social networking tools, such as Facebook and Twitter. 

    “We can take the steps and do something, or we can listen to the radio shows and do nothing. Talk and criticise, and do nothing. Not me,” Mr. Bush said. “If the Cayman Islands are to have a bright future, then we must open our minds and our hearts to accept change, and have people from outside who can work with us for our best interests.” 

    Mr. McLaughlin said, “What this government has done since taking power, is put all of their eggs in the basket of ‘We’re going to invite major developers to do major projects.’ And there’s been a myriad of them that have been proposed, talk about and promised and so forth, but 26 months down the road we still don’t have one that has even started. So we’ve got to get back to the basics. Cayman will not be rescued by one major developer. The issues are far more complex. There needs to be a national plan we can focus on.” 

    The first Future of Cayman forum was held November 2010. The next Future of Cayman forum will be held in 2012, Mr. Pineau said, giving them enough time to monitor progress of the initiative and develop a meaningful report. 

    According to the MOU signed by Mr. Bush and Mr. Kirkaldy, the government and Chamber agree to promote, work collaboratively on and meet quarterly about the initiative. The MOU explicitly does not entail funding obligations or commitments to specific policy changes without subsequent explicit commitments. 

    “This initiative is about partnerships among all groups. While we have a commitment with the Cayman Islands government, we will work openly with Mr. Miller and also Mr. McLaughlin to ensure that this initiative is successful,” Mr. Pineau said. 

    WillP

    Chamber CEO Wil Pineau speaks at the Future of Cayman Forum presentation. Photo – Patrick Brendel

    1 COMMENT

    1. Well presented. In any community during these difficult and competitive time all stakeholders must come together and present a coordinated and consensus business plan and vision for investors. Any hint of dissent or lack of total agreement understandably puts investment dollars at risk. This from years of experience living in a US coastal resort area.

    2. The Future of Cayman Report only addresses second tier issues facing Cayman. The number one issue that will make or break any country is the action or lack or action of their Monetary Authority.

      Cayman is not an isolated financial island in a world swimming in currency debasement. The Cayman dollar is the U.S. dollar. And Cayman will follow the downward economic trajectory of the U.S. unless the CIMA alters monetary policy.

      The investment portfolio of the CIMA is directly linked to the performance of the U.S. dollar. Cayman government overspending and ill advised borrowing has placed Cayman at the mercy of the U.S. credit markets.

      There are ways that the CIMA can protect Cayman from credit risk and U.S. dollar debasement. Unfortunately, nothing of substance has been done. And the best I can tell it’s not even on their radar screen as they appear focused only on the regulatory side of their responsibilities.

      The Future of Cayman initiatives are 100% dependent on sound money. CIMA is responsible for sound money policy. Unfortunately, they have pegged the future of Cayman to the U.S. dollar. As the U.S. dollar goes so will go Cayman unless monetary and investment policies are changed.

      The discussion needs to start with The CIMA.

      Look at what is happening in Greece. If interest rates return to normal levels, Cayman will be in a similar dilemma. With no ability to just print money as the U.S. does Cayman will be faced with austerity measures.

      The U.S. prints money to paper over it’s credit problems. Cayman does not have that option.

      I think it is fair to say that the global financial system is in trouble. Cayman’s advantage is that Cayman is small enough and potentially nimble enough to weather the storm and emerge on the other side stronger than ever. But, the CIMA needs to act.

      The place to start is to determine what is a safe store of wealth for a country. Is it U.S. paper dollars? Or is it gold? Bible says it’s gold. That’s the first move to make.

      The law allows CIMA investment portfolio to be invested in gold bullion. Paper money comes and goes, but gold has been a store of value throughout recorded history. Physical gold needs to become the keystone of investment policy. Take delivery and vault it on island. Do not trust another entity to hold your gold. With that one simple yet profound move, Cayman is protected.

    3. You’ve hit on the right vein here but CIMA does not operate in a vacuum either…its main role now is regulatory one. Do you see anyone with a financial brain to move this in the right direction ?

      They have their best candidate as Minister of Education and a grade-schooler as Premier and Minister of Finance, for heavens sake !!!

      One little point you’ve ommitted…the USA’s emergency back up to their financial system totally failing is the Federal Reserve’s gold bullion secured at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

      I’ve been privileged to visit Ft. Knox as the military base for training cadets that it is and you would never know, if you didn’t already know…

      That’s where the insurance for the USA’s economy is stored and secured.

      Without that type of protection, where would the CI Government store gold bullion in the quantities you’re talking about ?

      It would call for a permanent British military presence on the island.

      You wouldn’t expect these muppets of the RCIPS who couldn’t catch a cold in winter to do the job, now would you ?

    4. Allow me to address some of the comments posted by ‘firery’.

      CIMA has seats available on their board of directors to enhance their expertise in areas of global macro economics and monetary policy should they choose to.

      The value of physical gold required to protect Cayman from U.S. dollar credit risk does not take up that much room and would easily fit in an existing vault(s). A permanent British military presence is unnecessary with enhanced security and location secrecy.

      Don’t make the mistake in assuming Fort Knox protects the U.S. economy. The gold there has not been audited in over 50 years and may have up been pledged to other international parties many times over.

      The governments of China, Russia, Mexico are adding to their physical gold reserves. They know what is coming. The CIMA has the power to protect Cayman as well, but they need to act.

    5. Here’s a one to contemplate. Cayman goes independent from the UK, then make the dicision to back it’s economy with Gold stored in their own Fort Knox on the island. The question I have to ask is who is going protect it. What’s to stop a group of highly armed pirates from landing on Seven Mile beach and storming the Castle for all of it’s booty And without the threat of UK retaliation what’s to stop an all out invasion of the island, The Caymanian Army, Air Force and Marines?

    6. I recall the front page picture of our expensive leaders’ solution to our economic woes and high crime. They were all gathered in a very public demonstration of their sanctimony and chosen ability to communicate with god for us and appeal for his favor. Well? Did it work? Perhaps god wants a dance or human sacrifice. Get back out there and appeal to god–it’s what we understand.

    7. Gold? I suggest we enhance our skills and expertise in guarding the pennies nickles and dimes before we talk about being entrusted with gold? Especially under the recent regimes of wasteful spending and dictatorship.

      Wouldn’t political pirates just love to back up a rich developer friend’s yacht in the great sound and just load it up with our gold. It’ll be a clean get away since our RCIP is not able to resolve the few lower profile criminal cases already on their plates.

      Please wish us well not ill.
      We can’t hire a dog to watch our food.
      ya think?

    8. Friend of Cayman

      I agree that your ideas have much merit in principle but what sounds good in principle does not always work out or is not always feasible, in practice.

      Let me be a little more thorough in my response, without taking sides, and you might see the impracticalities of your suggestions, as I and others do.

      These impracticalities has nothing more to do than with Cayman’s existing conditions and for your ideas to actually work, those conditions would have to change.

      First, CIMA is a government statutory body; it does not operate as an agency or central bank independent from the CI Government.

      CIMA follows the dictate of international financial laws and regulations, the laws of the Cayman legislature and CI Government policy…CIMA does not influence this policy, it follows it as ordered.

      Yes, we know that some of the world’s most qualified financial minds live and work in Cayman but a large percentage of those people are not accessible to CIMA; they are not Caymanian by either birth or status, they cannot hold political office or vote, some might be legal residents but many are on the same 7-year time limit as other foreign workers in Cayman.

      For these reasons, they are inaccesible to CIMA and on the other hand, why should these people donate their time and expertise to help a country in which they have no stake and long-term future ?

      Is it any wonder then, that a mercenary mentality would be adopted by such people; basically to take what they can get and move on when the time comes.

      As to stockpiling of gold; I’m well aware that the world is now heading back towards accepting and adopting the gold standard for currency but those countries are independent countries with armies to protect their national interests and assets.

      The Caayman Islands had at one time, 1 trillion US dollars of the world’s money within its financial industry in one form or another but that money is purely in electronic form and no physical assets are at risk.

      Gold, on the other hand, is one of the world’s most valuable and sought-after physical assets; people kill for the possession of gold, diamonds and other valuable minerals every single day, all over the world.

      You are suggesting importing and holding, on a small, unprotected island of 100 square miles, material quantities of a valuable metal that the world would kill for to possess; I’ll let NJ2Cay’s answer stand for mine as well and…

      When in this creation have you ever heard of anything remaining a secret for very long about anything in the Cayman Islands ?

      Please, do not put any ideas in the heads of these already power-crazy and hungry Caymanian politicians or we might all live to regret it.

    9. Interesting opinions and many valid points made but the facts are that the US is heading down the WC and financial services will never be the same agian. You’ve backed a wrong horse.

      Personal Cayman needs to think bold, think green and concentrate on a future green tourism market. The scope to make the islands energy self sufficient is huge, solar, wave, electic cars. Why does Islands so small need people driving american style suv’s anyway?

      People seem to be concentrating on the wrong areas, looking back in a wantin way to the way things were, it’s not going to happen.
      Things are changing, the world is changing so it’s time to adapt to risk slipping into a downward spiral.

      Think bold, the choice is Caymans.

    10. Jamaicans are being faced with impossible electric bills just like Caymanians. Who is going to stand up to the electric company? Isn’t Arden on the board of directors there, he’s a Legislator! Is he benefiting any? God heop us. Who’s going to entrust people like Arden, McKeeva Bush and other money hungry politicians with Gold? Its a joke. Besides fighting the chamber of commerce who is working for the International powers to control Cayman’s wealth, its time to reduce Will Peneau’s words in our ears, he’s not our leader, and he’s not even Caymanian by birth.so he’s definitely not planning a future for our children. Its time for the chamber to shut up and its time for the people to speak their minds.
      Its time to drive out those from among us that intend to keep Caymanians hungry and jobless while living the big life themselves.
      Drive out the crooked politicians out of our Legislature.
      Drive out those businesses who refuse to hire Caymanians (They are No Gift to our society, but rather a CURSE!
      WE DON’T NEED THEM!

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