Premier urges public-private teamwork

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin has vowed to build on and protect the local tourism and financial services sectors, but cautioned industry leaders that the level of support from his newly-elected government would be determined by their own actions, including their ability to grow employment among Caymanians. 

Speaking in front of the Legislative Assembly after being sworn in as premier on Wednesday, Mr. McLaughlin said: “As a government, we will do our part to protect the financial services industry from the onslaught of new regulation that is being mooted in Europe and elsewhere. I invite the stakeholders in the industry to join us in this common cause for our 
mutual benefit.  

“I urge them too to think outside the box. The government will certainly support innovation and will welcome new ideas to keep our financial services industry on the cutting edge, so long as they continue to benefit the country.” 

He also called on tourism sector investors to involve Caymanians in the industry, telling them: “We expect you to play your part in ensuring that Caymanians play an integral role in the delivery of services in the industry”. He said his government was committed to providing training to enable more Caymanians to work in tourism. “It is therefore in the interest of investors to ensure that Caymanians feel included in a business that showcases their country and their culture,” he said. 

Mr. McLaughlin outlined the priorities he and his government intended to address, which included the tourism and financial services sectors, education and the implementation of a “one man, one vote” electoral system. 

“We believe that one of our first priorities is to restore confidence in government, which in turn will assist in the return of investment by the business sector,” he said. “This is all the more critical because of the perilous times in which we live. As a country, we make our living from what is still a volatile 
world economy.  

“The re-ordering of the world’s finances is far from complete. A new world economic order is gradually emerging from the ashes of the 2009 global meltdown and if we are to continue to have a stake in the global financial industry, we must be prepared for further upheaval and indeed threats to the model on which our prosperity has been built. The signs are already there. It will not be business as usual,” the premier said. 

He said the Cayman Islands would have to look for “new opportunities and new partners outside of our usual comfort zone if we are to continue to grow this sector of our economy”. 

Diversifying Cayman’s tourism product through medical, sports and education tourism and attracting new investment would be necessary, he said.  

In his first speech as Premier of the Cayman Islands, he told the crowd of hundreds sitting in tents in the pouring rain that Cayman needed more diversification in its economy to “provide greater certainty to government revenues”.  

“In this regard, entities like Cayman Enterprise City and the Shetty Health City will be encouraged and assisted in reaching their maximum potential in the shortest practical time,” he said. Both of those initiatives had been started during his predecessor McKeeva Bush’s term in office.  

Mr. McLaughlin also addressed the “one man, one vote” issue saying it should come as no surprise that the People’s Progressive Movement government planned to amend the Elections Law to introduce single-member constituencies.  

“Most of the work has already been done on this and members can therefore expect its implementation quite early during this legislative term,” the premier said.  

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association international observers, who came to Cayman to monitor the 22 May election, stated in their preliminary report that the current multimember voting system used in Cayman was contradictory to “the equal suffrage principle of ‘one person, one vote’” and that the equality of the vote was further undermined by lawmakers in some districts being chosen by vastly greater numbers of voters than in others. The observers noted that generally, the difference per district should be no more than 15 or 20 per cent. 

The plan to divide Grand Cayman into 16 separate single-member electoral districts, as defined in the 2010 Electoral Boundary Commission report, would not meet that requirement. 

Mr. McLaughlin has said he plans to go to the United Kingdom with a delegation that will include new Finance Minister Marco Archer within the next two weeks to meet Mark Simmonds, the UK’s minister for the overseas territories, as well as other government officials to discuss Cayman’s finances and the possibility of drawing up a four-year plan agreed to by the UK “that will bring certainty to the budget process”. 

Getting major projects, including the construction of a new port and expansion and redevelopment of Owen Roberts International Airport, off the ground will also be early priorities for government, the premier said. 

“We have said that we will make jobs priority No. 1 and this is still our commitment,” he said.  

Mr. McLaughlin, who was minister for education during the PPM’s previous 2005 to 2009 administration, also spoke briefly on education, saying it was critical to invest in it.  

“That we do so within our means does not mean that it will not be a priority of the government,” he said. 


Alden McLauglin is sworn in as Premier of the Cayman Islands on Wednesday by Governor Duncan Taylor, right, as new Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor-Connolly looks on. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY



    Why should we allow other countries to enforce their tax codes, because they are terrible at their own government mismanagement. Lets face it. The only reason countries like the US and UK are clamping down on these so called tax evaders, is because they are desperate for money, due to their own mismanagement and frivolous government spending.

    We are not them.

    We offer a service. It should not be our responsibility to change the way we do business, because some other country does.

    Bring your money here, why should you rich people pay more than your fair share of taxes. Your business have already been taxed. Your salary has already been taxed. Your employees have already been taxed. Why should the government be allowed to take more than that?!

  2. Single member constituency = East End style elections all over Cayman.

    These Electoral Districts will become nationality based, race based, income based voting sectors where its incumbents will be forever ingrained and almost impossible to remove.

    This whole notion that one man one vote will allow others to have a fairer chance at winning elections is complete hog wash. the only way a given candidate will have a greater chance to win is by appealing NOT to the national issues but appealing to those very small, and likely special interests of that particular neighborhood AT ANY COST. This includes drug laced neighboords.

    The people of these islands have been sold a bag of feel good hogwash!

    You think party politics divide a nation and create corruption?? Wait until neighborhood, race, income, nationality politics starts kicking in.

    Don’t be idiots and let Euro-foreigners types and these idiots on LA destroy a good thing.

    BTW: Multi member constituencies exists in the most advanced democracy in the world… The US congressional (legislative branch by the way..) elections are multi-member constituencies for example.

  3. Finally? Really? No taxes in Cayman? No mismanagment or out right stealing of public money (taxes that are not called taxes)in Grand Cayman? You (Caymanians and their representatives) have doubled the price of doing business here in the last few years and raised the cost of living here exponentially. Everything went up including wasteful spending by Caymanian government and the civil service tribe of the holy entitlement. If Government here wants to work with the private sector it needs to stop stealing more and more from them to pay for the gas cards, double dipping,healthcare fiasco,court cases,driveway paving,giving contracts to themselves, taking bribes (sorry, consultant fees),etc., etc.,and etc. Only an idiot would do business with Government here and for good reason. First off Cayman Government must show that it can be trusted. Good luck with that. Second if Caymanians want the jobs they must first prove that they can do them well. Good luck with that. And lastly CIG must show businesses that it is really there to help them and not just themselves. You will have to do a lot more work then just to promise it to have anyone believe it.

  4. I believe most issues should be posted on line for public debate, comment and vote This way the community as a whole can be involved in any ideas that come up. Quite simple too do.

  5. The USA government sued the oldest bank in Switzerland out of business for allowing Americans to put their money there in secret accounts.

    The Swiss government is poised to pay the USA government billions of dollars in fines for allowing Americans to do the same with other Swiss banks.

    How comes that other sovereign nations have the obligation to enforce USA tax law?

    Why didn’t the Swiss tell the USA to get lost?

    Simply because the military and financial power of the USA allows it to bully its way around the world.

    Be under no illusion that the USA has not the slightest problem with doing the same to us, totally destroying our economy in the process to get their way.

    Cayman has signed many tax information treaties, thus tearing up our bank secrecy laws.

    Yet for us to do this is like the turkey helping to make the cranberry sauce for the Thanksgiving Dinner.
    We are aiding our own economic slaughter.

  6. I hope all this tough talk about the US makes you feel better, but your finance business is substantially dependent on the US tax code. If you think it’s a good business model to help people commit criminal tax evasion in other countries, then you should kiss your finance business goodbye.

  7. Notice the smooth transition from chasing the drug money tactics, to chasing the tax avoidance business citizens. The US has proven it is not reluctant to pull out the heavy guns, and will use them to insure their national interest. Try managing a financial institution without being able to do money transfers. A blockade is what it is called in military terms. Where we failed in not sending the IRS the bill for our forced conscription in their tax collection efforts. We have to do it anyway!. War is hell.

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