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.
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.”