Future of Cayman Forum scheduled

The second Future of Cayman Forum will take place 23 November, two years after the first event launching the public-private partnership in economic development. 

Government and the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce have been working together to identify and track the progress toward shared goals for the territory, through groups oriented around five “drivers”. Each driver group has chairmen from civil service and business. 

“We in the public sector recognise we cannot solve the country’s problems on our own. We need to partner with organisations like the Chamber,” said Cayman Islands Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, a former co-chairman of one of the driver groups. 

November’s forum is focussed on two of the five drivers: “Develop Talent” and “Build a Smarter Infrastructure”. 

Initiative leaders say it is timely to highlight those two drivers because of current economic conditions, including rising unemployment and several major proposed projects. 

“Unemployment numbers are quite startling,” Chamber President David Kirkaldy said. 

He said that shows the need to offer new skills training to the existing workforce and also to prepare students better for future employment. 

Steering Committee Chairman Shayne Howe said projects such as the ForCayman Investment Alliance, Dr. Devi Shetty’s medical tourism development and George Town cruise berthing will all impact Grand Cayman’s infrastructure at a time when government isn’t awash in funds. Having better infrastructure, he said, “will generate jobs and will enhance the quality of life”. 

The three other drivers are “Create a Business Friendly Climate”, “Enhance Quality of Life” and “Diversify the Economy”. 

The 23 November forum will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, starting with breakfast at 8.30am and ending with a cocktail reception that wraps up at 6.30pm. The schedule includes opening speeches from the Chamber and Mr. Manderson, introductions to the event sponsors, three periods of breakout sessions (where participants can choose one of the two drivers), lunch, a general session and closing remarks. 

Mr. Howe said they expect about 200 people to attend. Invitations to the forum are being sent out to targeted people in the public and private sectors. The open signup period for the forum begins 1 November. An all-inclusive ticket for the forum costs $150. 

The purposes of the forum are to update people on the progress of the ongoing initiative, stimulate discussion and to help set the programme for the next year. 

Organisers hope for the forum to become a yearly event, where people can learn about the progress of public/private projects. 

At a news conference Wednesday announcing the date of this year’s forum, Mr. Manderson highlighted a few achievements that were identified by the initiative as being important to the Islands.  

For example, the civil service has adopted a new social responsibility code to encourage more government workers to get involved in community efforts. Also, the Passport2Success programme targets underachieving school leavers to prepare them to enter the workforce. 

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