Former legislator Ellio Solomon hopes to mastermind a Cayman Islands version of YouTube starting Thursday, as he and wife Betsy celebrate the launch of their Vision3E website.
Six months in the making, Vision3E.ky, he said, is committed to “educate, enlighten and elevate” viewers, capturing, he hopes, “the ethos” of the Cayman Islands with more than 500 videos intended to inform viewers on a variety of topics, and promote companies acting as sponsors, advertisers and contributors.
“It’s a repository of information,” says Mr. Solomon, former MLA and talk-radio host. “It’s a knowledge center for the Cayman Islands.”
He likened the venture to a video-based, online version of Cayman’s National Archives, but without the blocs of gray writing. “Previously material about Cayman was all text based. Now it’s time to step up to video.
“Not everyone has the time to go to the archives, so we are bringing the archives to the public.”
He said contributors can offer a finished product “or we’ll help you make it,” describing the products as anywhere from one minute to one hour.
Free to users, Vision3E seeks no subscriptions or other fees. Content is unrestricted, from “local businesses and local experience,” targeting both domestic and international audiences.
One of the site’s sponsors, XQ’s owner Alvaro Quintas, said he “liked what he [Mr. Solomon] wanted to do, an educational website where you can teach. It’s the sort of thing that should have some gastronomic stuff; it seems like a good idea.”
“It’s ambitious and we’ll see where it all goes,” Mr. Quintas said, “but we already have some videos here, for example, how to make a pizza, that should interest people.”
Caribbean Utilities Company is also a sponsor. CUC spokeswoman Pat Bynoe-Clarke said the utility would use Vision3E “to get some key messages out to our customers, things like energy conservation, preparedness and safety.”
“We’re working on other stuff right now,” she said, “and maybe by the end of the month, we’ll get [new material] over to him.”
Like the others, Ms. Bynoe-Clarke declined to say how much the company paid for its Vision3E sponsorship, but described it as one element among the company’s community-outreach programs.
Kahlill Strachan, business development manager at Cayman First, another sponsor, said the insurer’s purposes at Vision3E were “twofold: First, we want people to have a visual sense of who the staff members are, and, second, we are getting out more information about insurance.
“Most people,” he said, “buy it because they believe it’s one of those things they have to have. It helps, though if they know why they have it and what we can do.”
Additional videos may come from, for example, the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association, Mr. Solomon said, offering “subject specific” information about local musicians. Similarly, government had pledged to contribute.
Tapping some of his old civil-service contacts, Mr. Solomon said he had “spoken to [Deputy Governor] Franz Manderson, who said he would help get the government on there,” offering information about trade and business licenses, the Lands and Survey Department, pensions and mortgages, and material from aviation groups and air traffic controllers about their jobs.
Similarly, because “everybody has helped shape us, foreigners have helped make us,” he said, the site will have an international appeal. “We can use BBC videos about how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office works. It’s for anyone who wants to share knowledge.
“We’ll have perspectives on gaining permanent residence: What you need to do, and if you’ve made contributions to the Cayman Islands, what you’ve done. Maybe making one of these videos can help with that.”
Historical information is equally welcome. Already, Vision3E offers material about former Executive Councilor, National Hero and community “visionary” James Bodden; Mr. Solomon seeks personal reminisces from Cayman’s elderly community, pointing to centenarian and musician Julia Hydes, and lamenting the slow erosion of Cayman’s aging demographic: “The elderly help us learn about history. Too often, they pass away and their knowledge is lost, no one gets it.”
Vision3E, however, he hopes, “will help us build a stronger society. Knowledge is power.
“Maybe we have a lawyer educating us on what they do, on what the law is. We may have teachers doing everything from 2+2 to quadratic equations. Parents can use this to help children with their homework.”
And while Mr. and Mrs. Solomon already have a “significant amount of content,” they said they would continue to work on the site on a regular basis.
“It never ends. There are always new laws, new processes. The only constant is change,” Mr. Solomon said.