Sunday is the beginning of daylight saving time in the United States, when people around the country “spring forward” by moving their clocks ahead an hour for the next eight months. Questions over instituting daylight saving time in Cayman have floated around for years.
The Cayman Compass looked at sunrise and sunset data for 2015 and found that the most significant in terms of hours of daylight would be the sun setting after 8 p.m. in June, July and August. It would also mean a 7:45 a.m. sunrise in March (currently 6:45 a.m.) and in most of May through October, sunrise would be around or after 7 a.m.
Will Pineau, CEO of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber gave a report to government last year arguing for daylight saving time. “The benefit would be to put us on the same time zone as some of our partners, particularly in finance and tourism,” he said.
He pointed to cruise ships as an example, which base their timetables on daylight saving time. When they dock in Cayman, they lose an hour in port because of the time shift.
In northern parts of the U.S., the sun sets after 9 p.m. during the summer, when daylight saving time is in effect, and the sunrise is much earlier than in Cayman. For example, in July in New York, sunrise will be around 5:30 a.m. and sunset will be about 8:30 p.m.
The Compass analysis is based on data from the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Regarding such a change in Cayman, during Premier Alden McLaughlin’s State of the Nation address in October, he said the Legislative Assembly was considering instituting daylight saving time.
“The Progressives-led government is proposing a public consultation process on this matter because it is our considered judgment that both our financial and tourism sectors could benefit from the move to daylight saving time,” he said.
“There are many benefits, including elimination of confusion over travel times, putting our financial industry in sync with New York, and putting an end to early arrivals and departures of cruise ships,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
The issue of whether to institute daylight saving time has been debated since at least the late 1980s. The question appeared in the 1989 Session Hansard. At the time, politician Thomas C. Jefferson, as recorded in the Hansard, said, “Some years ago the private sector wanted the Cayman Islands to shift to daylight saving time so that they could operate the same hours as New York. And my suggestion to them at that time was, ‘Well, come into work at seven-thirty rather than at eight and you will be on the same time.’ I think that the time might be right for them to consider that now, because staggered time will not only put them on the same hour as New York, but it will also lessen their frustration as they drive up and down Seven Mile Beach.”
Daylight saving time is not being put forward now to help with traffic congestion, but the arguments to put Cayman’s financial industry on the same time as New York remain the same.