50 years ago: Call for accessible long-term financing

In the Jan. 19, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Arthur Hunter wrote:

“Today there are at least four unfinished homes in this town, two of which are not fit for occupancy. This is a sight that is even more familiar in other districts of Grand Cayman. The reason for it is fairly obvious. It is the lack of adequate long term financing. Few of our seamen can earn sufficient or stay away long enough to be able to build a home after one trip. Consequently, they are forced to build their homes piecemeal over a span of years and several trips. In the meantime they either pay rent or live with members of their families.

“The same problem is faced by those who remain at home. Local wages are such that it takes many years for a man to be able to build a home from his job earnings.

“The commercial ambitions of our local citizens are stifled because in most cases they are unable to finance a new business without resort to foreign capital, a method that usually places the local stockholder in the minority.

“The commercial banks provide some assistance but their short-term loan facilities do not suffice in cases of an individual wanting to build a new home and pay for it over a reasonably long period. In like manner, the small businessman is unlikely to get assistance from international banking institutions.

“With government being unable financially to fill the gap the only answer is a Mortgage and Loan Co. whereby local citizens can enjoy the facility of building a home and living in it while they pay over a period of, say, ten years.

“Likewise, a local businessman could embark on his dreamed venture and pay as he earns.

“Let us hope that some of our wealthy visitors interested in our local development will see the light. By filling this vacuum they will be rendering a greater service than merely indulging in speculative investment by buying land and letting it remain idle for a number of years at little benefit to these islands other than the Land Transfer Stamp Duty.”