Future of Cayman Forum: Strong infrastructure key to economy

The Cayman Islands is a global competitor in terms of the services it provides to the world and it must therefore have in place infrastructure that permits both the financial services and tourism industries, along with other business streams that occur as a result of these twin pillars, to be at the top 
of their game.  

Infrastructure, whether it is in the form of technology systems, roads, ports of entry, waste management or utilities, has therefore been an important area of focus for the Future of Cayman public/private economic development partnership initiative and, as such, has been identified as a key economic driver 
for the territory.  

Underscoring the particular importance of this driver, “Building a Smarter Infrastructure” will be one of two areas of discussion during this month’s Future of Cayman Forum, scheduled to take place on 23 November at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The forum will create the opportunity for discussion by Cayman’s private and public sector leaders on this and another equally important key driver, 
“Develop Talent”. 

Barry Bodden, managing director of Island Paving Ltd. and Tristan Hydes, deputy permanent secretary with the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, are co-chairmen on the Build a Smarter Infrastructure Future of Cayman driver group. One of the most important objectives for the group of professionals assigned to move the group forward is to develop a national infrastructure plan.  

To make this happen, the Future of Cayman Steering Committee established a series of necessary actions, including the identification and prioritisation of a list of major infrastructure projects, along with confirmation of funding sources and timelines.  

Enabling legislation is also needed to allow for best practices to speed up infrastructure development, in particular involving public/private partnerships. 

Mr. Bodden commented: “There has already been considerable success in these areas, with a national energy policy close to fruition, continued discussions taking place with stakeholders on the development of Cayman’s airports, and road extensions under way, to name 
but a few.” 

The second objective for this driver group was to invest in critical infrastructure. 

Mr. Bodden explained: “Specific actions points identified as being key to success included modernising the Owen Roberts International Airport and the George Town port to allow for cruise ship berthing, improving waste handling capabilities that sought to include recycling capabilities for the Islands, developing a comprehensive and sustainable energy policy and to support public and private efforts to continuously improve wired and wireless communications networks so that they match or exceed the highest global standards for speed and reliability.” 

Meetings have been held with stakeholders on a variety of infrastructure topics, including airport development and waste management proposals, but there is still a good way to go before objectives will be met in their fullest terms. 

The Future of Cayman Forum will feature a series of four, one-hour interactive panel discussions on separate objectives of the Build a Smarter Infrastructure driver group, opening with a panel dedicated to Good Practice in Public Private Infrastructure Partnerships, followed by a half-hour presentation on the Cayman Islands Health City. The remaining sessions will focus on investing in critical infrastructure: waste management, energy, data and communications; and a final discussion on a national infrastructure plan.  

Speakers have been drawn from both government entities and the private sector, including: Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick; Simon Conway, PwC Cayman; Tristan Hydes, Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture; Gene Thompson, Cayman Islands Health City; Roydell Carter, Department of Environmental Health; Christine Maltman, DART; Dr. Gelia Frederick-van Genderen and Tom van Zanten, Water Authority-Cayman; Gina E-Banks-Petrie, Department of Environment; Louis Boucher, Electricity Regulatory Authority; Dayne Brady, Home Gas Ltd. And Trenchless Technology; Richard Hew and David Watler, Caribbean Utilities Company; Miguel Jacques, Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture; Chris Hayman, Digicel Cayman; Anthony Ritch, LIME; Bob Taylor, WestStar TV; David Archbold, Information and Communications Technology Authority; Malcolm Ellis, Delphi Ltd.; Brad Watts, Bodden Holdings Ltd.; Gary Austin, IBM Canada; Gregory McTaggart, Consolidated Water Co. Ltd.; Marion Pandohie, National Roads Authority. 

In addition to the in-depth analysis of the two drivers, the forum will open with incoming Chamber of Commerce President Chris Duggan, as well as Cayman Islands Deputy Governor Franz Manderson. Organisers are also delighted to confirm Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush, who will deliver the closing address, a testament to the continued strong support the initiative has received from the government. 

Mr. Manderson said the government was delighted to participate in the Future of Cayman Forum because it believed a collaborative partnership between the public and private sectors to create a sustainable economy was the prudent approach to tackling the challenges we all face. 

“By working in partnership we can better appreciate the needs of each side of the economy and thereby work in tandem to solve issues, enhancing the economy for the benefit of all 
residents,” he said. 

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