Moxam accepts role, vows not to let politics influence his position
New Chamber of Commerce president Johann Moxam called for the privatization and outsourcing of some government services as he officially accepted the role this week.
Speaking at the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, Mr. Moxam dismissed “whispers of worry” that his political profile would negatively impact his role as president and vowed to represent the interests of the membership above his own.
He said the Chamber would seek a collaborative approach, working with government to accelerate the pace of public sector reform.
He praised Environment Minister Wayne Panton, who was in the audience, as the first government minister “in forever” to engage with the Chamber during the consultation process for the National Conservation Law.
And he called on government to continue to work alongside the Chamber to find the best way to reduce the size of the civil service and transfer jobs and obligations to the private sector.
“This is not as difficult as some would have us believe – it simply needs a business case, a pragmatic transition plan, and then the political fortitude to do the right thing,” he said.
“The Chamber has been a strong advocate for privatization, outsourcing and public-private partnerships. Each of these areas should be explored with vigor and commitment.”
He also called on Cayman Islands leaders to look closely at the recommendations of a Bermuda report advancing reforms to deal with “bloated government and mind-blowing deficits” in that country.
“While the dynamics of Bermuda may be different, it may be a good exercise to determine if some of the strategies outlined in the report can be applied to the Cayman Islands,” he said.
Mr. Moxam, who takes over as Chamber president from Chris Duggan after previously serving as vice-president and president-elect, said Cayman also needed a clear plan outlining its likely infrastructure needs with the George Town dump – “the inglorious Mount Trashmore” – the first priority.
“Solid waste management is another one of those national ‘conversations’ being held without resolution for more than 10 years.
“We urge the current government to work with urgency to develop a national solid waste policy and then, with the same focus and fortitude as recently deployed with the National Conservation Law, go about addressing what is surely one of the biggest environmental hazards impacting both marine and terrestrial environments,” he said.
Mr. Moxam said more needed to be done to help small businesses and called for a reduction in fees and red tape to assist job creation. He added that the Chamber would be meeting with industry leaders to have “frank conversations” about their long-term future in Cayman and what might incentivize them to invest more in the territory.
“We will share the results with government and outline the most harmful fees that are discouraging growth and job creation,” he said.
Speaking directly to concerns about his political connections, Mr. Moxam attempted to reassure the Chamber’s membership that he had no hidden agenda.
“Apparently, there are those in this room who are convinced, or at least concerned, that I may use this high office to further a personal or political agenda. For the record, I respect this organization far too much to use it for publicity or politics,” he said. “It is my intention to ensure that the voice of the Chamber is based on your views and not mine.” New councillors and a new deputy president were also elected at Tuesday’s AGM, held at the Chamber’s office in Governor’s Square.