The local business group, which thankfully has rediscovered its voice this year under the administration of President Johann Moxam, is calling on the country’s leaders to set aside political differences and unanimously support Ernst and Young’s report on reducing the size and cost of Cayman’s government.
According to a public statement from the Chamber Council, “Members believe that government works best when it creates a regulatory and enforcement environment that foster business development and growth rather than competing with the private sector by providing services that fall outside the central role of government. The public service should be seen as an enabler of business and the regulator of standards and the protector of persons in our community who are most vulnerable and require assistance.”
However, “The Council questions the decision by Government to assign a team of civil servants to lead the implementation of the recommendations that are to be accepted. We are concerned by the potential conflicts of interest and whether the team will have the requisite change management skills required to carry out this challenging process.”
The points raised by the Chamber Council have validity.
What message, intentional or not, did government send by appointing long-time civil servant and former Education Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues as head of the four-person unit charged with carrying out reforms approved by Cabinet? At the time, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said, “One of the criticisms of civil servants and of government in the past is that we are really good at getting reports, but we are not so good at implementing those reports. I am keen to ensure that does not happen under my watch.”
That’s what the deputy governor said, but that doesn’t appear to be the message received by the Chamber Council, which seems to be about as (un)inspired as we are by the performance of Cayman’s public schools during Mrs. Rodrigues’s tenure.
From Mrs. Rodrigues herself, we have heard nothing – not one word – since the deputy governor announced her new role in mid-August, more than a month ago.
Premier Alden McLaughlin also has remained silent on the topic since early September, when, flanked by Deputy Governor Manderson and EY Managing Partner Dan Scott, he helped unveil the report.
We would like to think that their uncanny silence is an indication that Mrs. Rodrigues, Premier McLaughlin and Cabinet have buried themselves in work on the initiative, not that they are having second thoughts about aggressively executing the report’s recommendations.
Many in Cayman – this newspaper, the business community, the Civil Service Association, folks on the street – have had something to say about the EY report.
However, joining our governmental leaders in a conspicuous, but rather inexplicable, silence are the pre-eminent figures in Cayman’s financial services industry. Where are the voices from organizations such as the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants, Cayman Islands Law Society, Cayman Islands Directors Association, Caymanian Bar Society, Insurance Managers Association of Cayman, and Cayman Finance, for starters?
This is no time for Cayman’s most gifted stakeholders to sit silently on the sidelines while the future of their country is being decided.
The Chamber Council is pushing for greater involvement from the private sector in the execution of Cabinet’s decisions, saying, “The implementation phase should not be led by bureaucrats who may lack the objectivity to guarantee the success of this initiative.”
We’ll reserve further comment for now, except one general observation: The primary reason why even highly skilled physicians seldom perform self-surgery is that it’s nearly impossible to gather the will to cut oneself as deeply as may be necessary.
Simply put: It’s just too painful.