The strength of the public/private sector relationship has long been credited as the starting point for the tremendous success of the Cayman Islands economic miracle of the late 20th Century.
It was a time when the business community worked closely with Government to create an infrastructure conducive to growth and development of the economy. It was a time when our economy surpassed most others in the region.
The importance of the successful continuation of that relationship was highlighted over the summer as key members of the business community were called to assist Government with finding a solution to the budget crisis.
The budget challenges the country faced in August highlighted the importance for the community to come together, working to develop solutions to ensure that we do not have to face a similar situation in the years to come.
The Council of Associations’ statement on the budget underlined this point when it said that: “the strength and resilience of the Cayman Islands economy has been founded on the respectful working relationship and partnership that has existed between the elected Government, the public sector, the business community and a diverse, multinational workforce…”
We support the new Budget Delivery Board established by the Deputy Governor to address the budget challenges by overseeing Government revenue and expenditure. In the past the Chamber has been a committed member of the public sector review committees and is willing to participate in the same manner again.
The Chamber has always been a strident advocate for initiatives that it believes will enable the private sector to operate in an environment that promotes job creation and future investment opportunities, as called for by the Council of Associations in its budget statement.
Recent advocacy issues in which we have been active participants, in addition to the budget proposals, include the harmonisation of Customs tariffs, the National Pensions Bill, the UK Bribery Act, the Data Protection Bill, Trade and Business Licensing amendments, issues affecting small businesses, the Future of Cayman economic development initiative, Port redevelopment plans, the Health City Cayman Islands, and the One Man, One Vote initiative. All advocacy positions have been communicated with respect and with an emphasis on education for our members and our community.
In recent months we have focused our attention on Cayman’s small business community by forming a Small Business Committee, as well as a Local Producers Committee. These developments mean new benefits for small businesses, including the opportunity to participate in Business Coaching Cayman, an important means by which small business owners can gain valuable insight into the particular issues they face.
This year we have also decided to rebrand the annual Chamber Business Expo into a brand new concept called CAYSHOP. We encourage small businesses and cottage industries to participate, as this event will give you a unique opportunity to showcase your goods and services to a captive and receptive audience.
We have a busy few months ahead. The Future of Cayman Forum is planned for 23 November and will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. We believe that two of the key drivers of our Future of Cayman initiative are the ‘development of talent’ and the need to ‘build a smarter infrastructure’, and so these will be the main focus of our forum. We anticipate valuable discussion, and from this, the development of a blueprint for future growth for these Islands. We encourage everyone who is interested in the future of Cayman to attend.
On a personal note, it has been my pleasure serving as the Chamber president. I wanted to place more focus on the needs and concerns of small to medium size businesses and feel that this goal has been addressed. Additionally, I wanted to have my term noted for the business and social advocacy agenda of your Chamber and I feel that our voice has been strong in this area.
Our AGM takes place on 21 November and I encourage members to get involved in your Chamber and attend. The Chamber’s strength and progress depends on active and involved membership, so that we may join the wider community and Government in speaking with one voice for the betterment of the Cayman Islands.
If you would like to find out how to be more involved in the Chamber or the Future of Cayman please contact [email protected]