Premier wants to import produce direct

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said Tuesday that the territory’s produce is coming in a few days aged and quite a bit more expensive than it should be.  

The premier travelled to Honduras on Friday and met with officials there in the city of La Ceiba and also on the island of Roatan about import-export issues and other matters.  

“We’re looking at [importing directly],” Mr. Bush said.  

“The stuff we import here comes from Miami or Central America; by the time they get here they are a few days old.” Mr. Bush said, generally, he favours the Cayman Islands growing its own produce as much as possible, both because of the price and certain 
health factors. “We have to be very careful what we are importing,” he said. “However, we certainly want to export directly as much 
as possible.” That goes for other items as well, not just fruits and vegetables.  

Mr. Bush said Honduras produces a large amount of high quality wood for furniture products, which he said could be imported directly. “If you purchase these things directly, it’s much 
less costly,” he said. 

 

Visa issues 

Mr. Bush said his government discussed the process of visa applications made by Hondurans wishing to travel to the Cayman Islands.  

He said it was not his intention to eliminate the visa requirement for Honduran travellers, rather he simply wished to make the process easier.  

“It should be easier for them to get a visa … the visa will stay in place, it’s just a matter of how they apply for it,” Mr. Bush said, adding he wished to address the matter further with 
the deputy governor’s office before 
making any further announcements.  

The premier also spoke with Honduran officials about the potential for direct flights on Cayman Airways or three-way flights between Grand Cayman, Miami and Roatan. Officials also 
discussed tourism opportunities between the two countries. 
 

Off to Washington 

Premier Bush said he planned to head for the United States capital this week to meet with lawmakers there about the ongoing issues with Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, which sets out additional financial reporting requirements for foreign banks about US passport-
holders holding accounts abroad.  

Mr. Bush said this was the latest in a series of meetings held with US officials over FATCA and its implications.  

Most of the new financial reporting measures are 
expected to take effect in 2014. The trip to Washington will also be used as an opportunity to speak with US consular officials about the possibility of bringing back the American Embassy visits to the Cayman Islands.  

Mr. Bush said the consular visits would make it easier for Caymanians travelling to the US to obtain visas, as opposed to having to send their applications to Jamaica.  

“[The embassy visits] stopped quite a few years ago,” Mr. Bush said.  

“We want to bring 
them back.” 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. We’re looking at importing directly, Mr. Bush said.

    The article is vague about who is we and how they will be importing the food directly.
    Is the Gov’t setting up a brokerage business to sell to wholesalers?
    Is Mr. Bush setting up a private consortium to act as a brokerage house for the islands?
    Is the middleman, the food distributor/broker, being eliminated or replaced?
    Or does this mean that local wholesalers can buy direct from foreign producers with no duties being imposed?
    A lot more clarification would be appreciated.

    As for the statement of produce coming in a few days old from North American sources, how does this differ from produce coming from Honduras?
    It’s all dependant on the time between when it’s been harvested, facilities and conditions it’s been stored and shipped under (refrigerated or not) and when we ultimately receive it; it’s not how long it takes to ship.
    We’re no longer dealing with Banana Boat technology (there being none) of the previous centuries.

    The concept of paying less for groceries is great news.
    I’m looking forward towards that day but I have my doubts.

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  2. Banana Republic

    You’ve asked the right questions to answers that will never be given.

    Therein lies the answer to your question;who is ‘we’ ?

    Assuming that Mr. Bush is speaking on behalf of the CI Govt…is the Govt. setting up a food co-op to supply local needs, at reduced prices ?

    Who is currently importing food into Cayman at inflated rates and selling food stocks at exhorbitant profits ? It has to be the private enterprise food providers…there is no Govt. entity invloved in the food-supply chain, as far as I know.

    So, who is this ‘we’, Mr. Bush is talking about ?

    If he is speaking about a CI Govt. deal with Honduras that has Cayman’s private enterprises getting cheaper food supplies from Honduras…you can be certain of one thing…

    Cayman’s consumer public will NEVER see a penny of those reduced wholesale prices reduced on their food purchases at the cash register.

    The supermarket and outlet owners will see a rise in their profits, that’s for sure.

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  3. Government is not producing in terms of what it should be doing which does not involve selecting produce. I also question what is going to come in with the lettuce and who gets which slice from that lettuce.

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  4. Why is this even being considered as an option!? Why is good money that could be invested in local agricultural farming being spent to send the premier on these useless trips? Supporting local farming increases job opportunities, quality/quantity of produce and KEEP ON THE ISLAND! I have never seen a leader of any free country more willing to export the funds of their country then this incompetent leadership. My family has subsistence farmed on our soil for generations, we don’t buy produce in the stores unless it CANNOT be grown here due to climate constraints etc. (e.g. strawberries, artichokes) and if we don’t grow it ourselves, we buy from other local farmers on the Wednesday or Saturday markets. When will the government realize that of all things they have considered for investment agriculture is the one thing that we have all the right elements for success at our disposal?!

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  5. I can understand an alternative source of supply being planned. If Cayman and Florida were both crippled by a major catastrophe like Hurricane Ivan, Honduras would be a good alternative.. Looking pass possible saving, developing and using a 2nd supply route would be in the interest of national preparedness..

    I am not privy to our national food supply reserves quantities, but if Ivan was any example they are minimal..

    As the coined statement ‘Nation Building’ would have us inversion a growth of the Pink Lady economy, I am grateful that the premiere has returned to earth and is looking at the basics.. Afraid not basic enough though.

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  6. This is great news. Our supermarkets will have to come on board. Honduras is a rich country of natural resources, fruits, and vegetables that are fresh – no need for chemicals to preserve them and freezing them for long periods of time. Plus, it is cheaper because Honduras is right next to us. I cant imagine how we are getting produce like bananas way from overseas as far as Canada when our neighbors have them with better quality. I believe Cayman need to strengthen her trade relations with her neighbors, because when we were in trouble after Ivan, remember, it was Honduras and Jamaica that sent to us supplies and provided flights off the island. They did better to us than the UK, because the UK was too far away to help. I recall the UK sent 1… yes ONE war ship to render assistance after we were hit by a category 5 hurricane.

    I urge everyone to come on board with this endeavor, because we have so much benefits around us that we need to pay attention and utilize what we have and is in our reach.

    Have a good day

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  7. It took all this time for him to figure this out? I do believe if he stayed home and thought more about the betterment of our country he would be a lot sharper and save money on travel cost. Travel gives me a lot of Jet Lag.

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  8. Commentators do not seem to realise how small a market Cayman is, the costs of transport to get fresh produce here, and the need for producers/exporters to be able to rely on a consistent, reliable demand.
    And, with all respect to our Caymanian farmers, the facts of the quantity of suitable land available, and the costs (labour, fertiliser etc) of producing good crops at reliable intervals, has always made it very difficult to capture the local markets, especially the tourist industry.
    We must look at the facts, not wishes or hopes which have disappointed us many times in the past.

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  9. In related news the president is to drop all other matters to fly to Brazil to investigate how the US can get fresher coffee beans. The president is quoted as saying that at times like this when a working person cannot afford a cup of coffee, the government must spend its limited resources to ensure that out of work people can smell what they are missing.

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  10. Whenever my wife and I go to the supermarket it seems that many produce items are on the turn. Especially such items as the very pricey fresh raspberries.

    It would certainly be a good thing if supermarkets could find a way to import direct from the growers rather than from a wholesaler in Miami.

    It is also true that Cayman’s climate and lack of good soil and water has prevented much of an agriculture business here. But it did not prevent Israel, who made a desert bloom and are major exporters of produce.
    Can our local farmers learn some of their techniques to do the same here?
    I understand hydroponics, (soiless growing) with drip irrigation to the roots is much used.

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