There is a country song “I was country when country wasn’t cool” and it sort of describes me, because I was independent when independent wasn’t cool.
Today we see some of the negative results of party politics, but I am encouraged by the fact that so many people have awakened to this reality and made a 180 degree turn to the independent position. Cayman will be the beneficiary.
I am a “bridge generation” Caymanian. I was born and raised in the old mosquito, no electricity Cayman. My father died when I was 12 and my mother worked as a hotel maid, thatch rope maker, store keeper, whatever she could find to provide for the family.
My brother went to sea at age 19 to help keep us alive. Upon finishing college I started my working career in the new Cayman (a few less mosquitoes and some electricity). I saw poverty as a disease and one I was determined to cure through study and hard work; I was among the first generation Caymanians to get out of poverty through education and not through a career at sea.
The transformation Cayman experienced from the late 1960s to 2000s is what I call the 40 year miracle and I have a real understanding and appreciation for this, as I was a part of it: financial services, hotel and tourism development, real estate development, retail, environmental protection etc.
Cayman was built on two pillars: its people and its environment, both which are under severe stress today. When we started our development the two were in harmony and our policies were designed with this in mind. We were isolated and mosquito infested and our leaders decided to invite the world to come invest and help us get out of poverty and develop our country.
The formula was simple: most investors were foreign, most Caymanians were workers; this worked pretty well for a time as we can all attest to. But something happened along the way: we confused construction with development; “speed and greed” replaced “people and planning” and we left a generation behind.
In our haste to acquire more and more we lost sight of what our real goals should have been: to develop Cayman at a pace compatible with the abilities and aspirations of the Caymanian people.
The challenge before us now is that this economic model has expired and our failure to recognise it has caused us to waste precious time, dollars and energy trying to revive it.
It is now time for a new model to be crafted and that model must include the objective of “Caymanian investors/owners”. It is time for a paradigm shift in our thinking and our actions with regard to our economic policies, in order to transfer the Caymanian people from spectators to owners.
I am proposing the creation of the C.I.I.F. (Cayman Islands Infrastructure Fund) which will be a private/public entity with private sector leadership. All of Cayman’s infrastructure investment needs going forward (cruise port, sewage collection/treatment, waste management, airport expansion) should be carried out in a way that all Caymanians are given an opportunity to have an equity position; either through cash or sweat equity.
There are few options left in this market for ownership by our people, the C.I.I.F. fills this need.
I propose the establishment of an Environmental Protection Agency to include all regulatory functions; land, sea and air. We cannot separate the pieces of the environment, yet our government has separated the management of each; e.g. Department of Environment, Department Environment Health, Water Authority.
The shifting of blame, and responsibilities, turf protection etc. has caused many of the failures we see today.
We must discard the idea that past routine, past ways of doing things are the best ways. On the contrary, we must assume that there is probably a better way to do almost everything. We must stop assuming that a thing never been done before probably cannot be done at all.
Cayman is not going back to the boom days that some keep promising; instead it is going to a new place and the bridge that will take us from here to that new place is called “strategic thinking”; not talk. To reward those who put us in this mess by reelecting them would be a mistake and our children will pay the price. I believe it is time for new leadership and I am offering myself to be a part of that based on: Leadership, Integrity, Vision and Experience.
I want us to LIVE in harmony with our people and environment and never lose sight of the goal: to leave opportunities and choices for the next generation. It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
I ask for your vote and promise to do work smarter and harder for the benefit of all.
Join the campaign at www.vote4bo2013.com
Bo means business!