Workers sign up for Shetty project

Local construction workers signed up this week for jobs at the proposed Shetty medical tourism hospital in East End. 

The Cayman Islands’ partner in the project, Gene Thompson, presented a progress update Tuesday night on the hospital at the East End Civic Centre during the first of three meetings and announced that the venture was accepting job applications for construction jobs. 

He said between 200 and 300 workers would be hired for the construction of the first phase of the project, which would cost $50 million, including $15 million to pay for local labour. Construction of the first phase is anticipated to take about 14 months. 

Mr. Thompson confirmed that ground would be broken at the High Rock site on 27 August to begin construction of the initial 140-bed phase of the project, which he said would eventually be a 2,000 bed hospital. 

 

Tax implications  

On Thursday, following Premier McKeeva Bush’s announcement that a 10 per cent income tax would be levied on expatriates in Cayman, Mr. Thompson told the Caymanian Compass the developers anticipated that the new tax would impact the hospital project. 

“We were made aware of the proposed expat tax, however, due to the fact that this was only announced yesterday and we are not privy to the details, I cannot comment on the effects at this time. We do assume that any additional fees/taxes will have a negative impact on our project,” he said.  

In 2010, the Cayman Islands Government signed a Tax Concessions (Amendment) Bill into law, which exempted companies from future taxes that are introduced within 20 years of the law coming into existence. Passing that law was one of the stipulations in the memorandum of understanding signed signed between the government and Dr. Shetty on the hospital project.  

That law deals with taxes levied on a company, rather than on employees of a company. 

 

Priority  

Asked several times during the meeting in East End if Caymanians, and particularly East Enders, would be given priority for construction jobs on the project, Mr. Thompson assured that they would, adding that he had given the main contractor Clan Construction an “extremely strong remit” to give priority to local workers and would receive a weekly report from the contractor on staffing. 

More than 100 people signed up for construction jobs at the meeting. A second meeting scheduled to be held in North Side was cancelled due to Wednesday’s power outages. 

He said the company would submit a planning permission application for the first phase to the Central Planning Authority “within days”. 

The developers plan to have the first phase of the hospital operational next year. 

 

Healthcare  

As well as offering local jobs, the hospital would also provide specialist care for the people of Cayman, Mr. Thompson said. He said in 2010, in the Cayman Islands, there had been 1,045 consultations about heart issues, 400 of which were referred off island and about 200 of those resulted in heart procedures being carried out. He said 99 per cent of those procedures could be done in Cayman once the Shetty hospital’s cardiology unit begins operation. 

He announced that the hospital would officially be known as and branded “Health City Cayman Islands”. The original name planned for the venture was Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre. 

Referring to an economic impact report done by Grant Thornton before the deal to set up the hospital was announced by Dr. Devi Shetty and the Cayman Islands government in April 2010, Mr. Thompson said in the first phase of the hospital, it was estimated that it would attract 70 medical 
tourists a day to Grand Cayman.  

Each of those patients would be accompanied by at least one other person and the average stay of a medical tourism patient is nine and a half days, he said. Once the full 2,000-bed hospital is open and operational, in 15 years, 2,880 people, including 1,440 patients, would come to Cayman a day or approximately one million people a year, he said. 

Mr. Thompson said training would also be given to local workers. 

Members of the government, including Premier McKeeva Bush and Members of the Legislative Assembly Cline Glidden and Ellio Solomon, attended the meeting. 

Premier Bush said the medical tourism offered another leg to Cayman’s economy. He defended concessions that had been given to the project by saying such concessions were the only way to attract this kind of development to the Cayman Islands, which was competing with other jurisdictions in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States for investors and developers. 

“I’m glad Dr. Shetty did not bow out while he was being criticised,” 
Mr. Bush said. 

The developers plan to have the first phase of the hospital operational next year. 

Shetty workers 2

East Enders used any surface they could find to fill out application forms for jobs at the Shetty hospital presentation in East End. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY

Shetty workers 1

East Enders used any surface they could find to fill out application forms for jobs at the Shetty hospital presentation in East End. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY
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3 COMMENTS

  1. Now imagine if the protester idiots, were listened to on this shetty deal.

    These people would not be able to sign up for work.

    Change creates jobs.

    Stop protesting, and allow others to work.

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  2. big berd wha the hell is wrong wit u ? You are the IDIOT your job should be taken away from you !!!
    what possible good are u doing for these islands its native peoples ? ( shame on u if u are Caymanian )
    The only change we need is for people like u to lose your job put someone who deserves to work in your place !!

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  3. Of course local workers will sign up and benefit short-term from the construction phase. Building a property is relatively easy, having a viable business take it over isn’t such a slam dunk.
    The real question is whether or not Dr. Shetty and his army of medical pros will want to work in Cayman given the new income tax proposal. Dr. Shetty needs medical professionals, many were to come from India and would be, please excuse the language, expats. Is that support still alive and well? Or, has the Bush Income Tax BIT the hand that was about to feed him.

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