Cabinet approves Caymanian status for 2 business leaders

Two longtime Cayman Islands residents have been approved for Cabinet grants of Caymanian status, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed Wednesday.

The residents are Monique Hamaty-Simmonds of the Tortuga group of companies and Fraser Wellon, well-known developer and owner of the WaterColours property on Seven Mile Beach.

Premier Alden McLaughlin said a motion would be put forward in the current meeting of the Legislative Assembly as required by law to formalize the grants. Cabinet has already agreed to the status awards.

“These are two individuals who were recommended … by the immigration board [Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board], the board recommended [them] to Cabinet as persons suitable to be granted Caymanian status and the Cabinet so did,” the premier told the Legislative Assembly.

Both individuals are well known in the local business community. Mr. Wellon was honored in 2011 by the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association for his long-term commitment to the islands.

Mr. Wellon told the Cayman Compass, “I am extremely proud to be part of the creation of so many wonderful projects in the Country. Cayman is home to my family and after being resident nearing 20 years, it is a great honor to receive Caymanian status.”

CIREBA officials said that for the past two decades, Mr. Wellon has made “great contributions,” most notably in the luxury condominium market with the Pinnacle, Water’s Edge and WaterColours.

“The depth of thinking Fraser puts into each and every project is commendable,” RE/MAX co-owner James Bovell said at the time. “Our marketplace has benefited tremendously from this effort.”

Ms. Hamaty-Simmonds is the chief marketing officer for the Tortuga Rum Cake company and daughter of Tortuga president and founder Robert Hamaty.

Ms. Hamaty-Simmonds and her husband, accountant Marcus Simmonds, opened the Miami, Florida, branch of the Tortuga Imports/Tortuga Rum Cake company to handle worldwide distribution of the Tortuga brand. The business went from a $150,000-per-year operation in the 1990s to a multimillion-dollar per annum earner today.

Ms. Hamaty-Simmonds told the Compass, “I’m so proud to call Cayman my home. Our family has been here since 1978. My brother Basil Hamaty is also Caymanian and a captain with Cayman Airways. After having lived here with my family for over a decade and having worked in our family business, I have traveled the world marketing Tortuga Rum Cake.

“Our story hails from Grand Cayman and it is indeed an honor to finally call Cayman my home. Tortuga Rum Cake [is] a product which was first baked here in Grand Cayman using the family recipe of my stepmother Carlene Hamaty, nee Jackson, whose family hails from Savannah. This is a proud moment for me.”

The Caymanian status grants approved by Cabinet for Mr. Wellon and Ms. Hamaty-Simmonds are only the fourth and fifth grants to be conferred in that way since 2004.

Two years ago, the current Cabinet granted Caymanian status to Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officer Kishna Burke.

The previous United Democratic Party granted status awards to local businessmen Harry Chandi and William Maines in 2012.

Those five individuals represent the only status grants since the nearly 3,000 grants of status conferred by Cabinet in 2003.

Other individuals receive grants of Caymanian status through immigration board awards. Those people include permanent residents who have lived in the territory for 15 years or more and non-Caymanians who are married to Caymanians for more than seven years.