Being Chamber President has opened my eyes to many issues and predicaments facing our Islands today. As a member of the business community I have always paid attention to the ebb and flow of our economy but as we bear witness to the extraordinary economic global changes happening around us it is clear to me that we are still coming to terms with what this means for Cayman.
Whether you are fifth generation Caymanian or you have chosen to live here and make it your home, there is one underlying thing that unites us all – we love Cayman. We may love it for the people, we may love it for the opportunities, we may love it for the weather, but we all want to see it flourish and prosper.
Our disagreement is about the “how”. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I do know one thing – by doing nothing we will achieve nothing. Whether you agree with our present government’s decisions or not, it is imperative that we keep our minds open and at least give proper consideration to all the opportunities available to us.
The paradox we contend with is this: Without economic development we cannot sustain our way of life and yet with economic development comes some change and sometimes sacrifice. We are very fortunate to have choices but we must make these choices through thoughtful and informed decision making and not from fear or a need to preserve a way of life that no longer exists.
Now is the time for us to act. The Chamber supports the FORCayman Alliance, the Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre and Cayman Enterprise City because we need to revitalise our economy. After several meetings and consultations we have satisfied ourselves that these projects are in the best interest of our people.
We must own our weaknesses and embrace the power given to us by this kind of opportunity and investment. In a recent economic development survey sent out by the Chamber there was overwhelming support for all three of these projects by member respondents. Public sector projects also received member support with a cruise ship berthing facility, relocation of the George Town Landfill and the airport renovation and expansion as the top three.
Economic diversification is never an easy process and we must come to terms with some uncomfortable feelings. The growth of the non-Caymanian population, the use of land for development and keeping the Caymanian/expat wealth balance are some common causes for concern.
It is important that these issues are given the proper attention and consideration they deserve, but let us not forget there is much value to be gained from bringing new people and ideas into our community. Successful progress is about balance and respect.
The Future of Cayman economic development initiative has set out to lay a firm foundation for Cayman’s progress. This is an ongoing process of assessment and reassessment. It must be a fluid process because life is fluid. Whether it is economically, politically, or environmentally focused, the world will continue to evolve and we must have a plan that will sustain us and allow us to prosper.
We hope that you will take the time to visit the website www.futureofcayman.com and familiarise yourself with the Strategic Report. You can follow our progress through the website as well as Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools.
You are also welcomed to provide your own feedback to the process or endorse the initiative through our online forms. We are also currently looking for people who may be interested in joining one of our driver groups. If you’d like to find out more about becoming involved in the Future of Cayman contact [email protected]
It has been a whirlwind of a year but it has been my distinct pleasure and honour to serve you as president of the Chamber for 2011. Thank you for your trust and support.