Over the next several months — until the next election is held in May, to be precise — local politicians are going to be spinning tales of woe about the state of the Cayman Islands.
Don’t blame the candidates. That’s just what candidates do, everywhere. (After all, if there weren’t any problems to fix, why should anyone vote them into office and others out?)
But if you hear anybody — running for election or not — trying to tell you that Cayman is in a state of decline, or requires rescuing from imminent catastrophe, don’t believe it.
Sure, Cayman has its share of problems and challenges, many of them self-inflicted. As our readers are well aware, the Compass does not shy away from reporting on news and issues of all kinds, be they positive or negative.
But as chroniclers of “local history as it happens,” we are in an optimal position to state the following, authoritatively: There are far, far more good things going on in Cayman than bad. Our society is on a solid footing. Our economy is strong. Our future is bright.
Up north in the United States, the world’s only superpower, one presidential campaign slogan is, “Make America great again.” Here in Cayman, there is no need for such a trailing qualifier. Things in Cayman are already great, perhaps more so than at any time in our history. Yes, it could be better, but every time we improve conditions in Cayman, we are incrementally setting the benchmark for success higher and higher — not striving to attain some lost or imagined ideal. And this is exactly where we want to be.
Take, for example, the unemployment situation in Cayman. If your initial reaction is, “What unemployment situation?” — then you have good instincts. Despite the never-ending populist agitation that Caymanians aren’t reaping the benefits of the thriving national economy, consider that the reported unemployment rate among Caymanians this spring was 5.6 percent (down from 8.3 percent the year prior). That number is right around the economic definition of “full employment,” meaning a scenario where everybody who is willing and able to work, is already working. Today’s total unemployment rate is 3.9 percent — the lowest it’s been since 2007.
While news stories about global finance tend to focus on competition and potential threats from beyond our borders, our financial services sector seems to be adapting, evolving and thriving. Our vital hedge funds industry is having a solid year, and there have been positive developments throughout the sector, including in limited partnerships and company formations.
On the home front, our tourism statistics (both cruise and air arrivals) continue to trend upward. Dart is on the cusp of cutting the ribbon on its much-anticipated Kimpton resort. Other developers have exciting projects in the works across Grand Cayman. Just this Wednesday, NCB Group began construction on a US$33 million residential development, further contributing to the South Sound building boom.
Economics aside, Cayman’s spirit of volunteerism is as strong as ever. We regularly receive and report on stories of community clean-up efforts, fundraisers and charitable donations; meanwhile, our country’s grand non-profit gala season is rapidly approaching.
And note that, we didn’t have to delve deep into our archives to extract the positive news listed above. Each of the items we mentioned appeared in the newspaper within the past week.
In the grander scheme, our islands are beautiful. Our sand is crystalline. Our waters are turquoise. Our neighbors are kind. Our lifestyle is relaxed, luxurious and, overall, inimitable.
Yes, in paradise — Don’t you think? — life is exceptionally good.