Cayman’s business and political leaders reacted with a mix of hope and caution Wednesday following the election of real estate mogul and one-time reality TV star Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th president.

In addition to Mr. Trump’s win, the U.S. Republican Party retained control of both houses of Congress.

“The Cayman Islands congratulates Donald Trump and the Republican Party on an emphatic victory in [Tuesday’s] presidential election,” Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin said.

“We will watch with interest as Mr. Trump organizes his Cabinet and sets his policies as well as his agenda for the next four years, and look forward to a positive working relationship with the new U.S. administration.”

“Trump’s election win will shift the political and economic agenda for the U.S. over the next four years,” said Cayman Chamber of Commerce President Paul Pearson. “The Cayman economy is closely linked with the U.S. and we must do everything we can to ensure that relations remain cordial and positive in order to support our tourism and international financial services sectors.”

Cayman Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush said he saw “more positive than negative” in Mr. Trump’s election, given that – in Mr. Bush’s view – as a conservative businessman, Mr. Trump was less likely to give in to U.K. or European pressures for the U.S. to adopt a public beneficial ownership registry for companies and trusts. Cayman has repeatedly said it will not move to such an open public registry unless leading world economies, including the U.S., do so.

“I think we’ll get more good out of his presidency than negative,” Mr. Bush said. “We’ll have to wait to see how his foreign policy will shape up.“

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“Trump is a business leader, so we urge him to follow through with his election agenda to introduce policies that support economic growth and fair trade, that will lead to an increase in the wealth and disposable income of middle-class Americans, who travel to the Cayman Islands in great numbers to attend conferences and to vacation here,” Mr. Pearson said.

Cayman independents encouraged

Although not supportive of certain statements regarding ethnic minorities in the U.S. by the president-elect, Caymanian political independents drew encouragement from Mr. Trump’s political victory Tuesday night.

“Even if [U.S. voters] are embracing something as radical as Trump, they’re still embracing something different,” Bodden Town independent MLA Alva Suckoo said.

Mr. Suckoo said Trump’s unexpected victory has been tied to the U.K.’s June vote in the “Brexit” referendum, unexpectedly approving the departure of Britain from the European Union. Brexit campaign leader, former U.K. MP Nigel Farage, even made a campaign stump speech in the U.S. state of Alabama for Mr. Trump during the run-up to the election.

East End MLA Arden McLean told Radio Cayman’s For the Record talk-back radio program Wednesday morning that Trump’s victory was a clear sign that voters were tired of “the elites.”

U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, left, and Mr. Trump’s family at an election victory party early Wednesday morning in New York City. – Photo: Washington Post
U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, left, and Mr. Trump’s family at an election victory party early Wednesday morning in New York City. – Photo: Washington Post

Various U.S.-based media sources characterized Mr. Trump’s win as a stunning repudiation of insider politics in Washington D.C.

“If you’re close to the ground and you’re listening to the people in Cayman, you won’t be shocked in May [the date of Cayman’s general election] when the people once again throw out the establishment,” Mr. Suckoo said. “I don’t think we’re going to see the same ‘old school’ politics here in Cayman. You won’t see any more of this party-line and coattail effect.”

Opposition Leader Bush also noted there appeared to be a global trend in politics, highlighted by Brexit, Germany’s regional elections held earlier this year and Mr. Trump’s victory Tuesday night, where some “fundamental principles” had been revealed.

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“People are saying ‘listen, we have had enough, protect us more,’” Mr. Bush said. “People have to be sensible about that. I thought that [Mr. Trump’s] whole campaign of making America great again, changing the way things were done in Washington … it was catching on. Middle America was completely dissatisfied.”

Mr. Bush cautioned that a careful approach was needed, in the Cayman context, regarding a more protectionist agenda.

“We have to be more than careful, where people here think we can just kick people out, stop people from coming [to Cayman],” he said. “That’s not what we want.”

“We will watch with interest as Mr. Trump organizes his Cabinet and sets his policies as well as his agenda for the next four years, and look forward to a positive working relationship with the new U.S. administration.”

U.K. position

Although Mr. Trump has enjoyed a close relationship with Mr. Farage, his political ties to both major parties in America’s closest ally in Europe, Britain, have been decidedly more frosty during 2016.

In January, British lawmakers debated a symbolic motion in parliament that sought Mr. Trump’s ban from the country after a petition seeking the ban was started by a Scottish freelance journalist. The petition, which received more than 570,000 signatures, accused Mr. Trump of engaging in “hate speech” for favoring a temporary travel ban on Muslims entering the U.S. at the time.

Then-British Prime Minister David Cameron opposed the ban on Mr. Trump, but noted the presidential candidate’s comments regarding the temporary ban on Muslims were “divisive, stupid and wrong.” It was also noted at the time that then-British Home Secretary Theresa May had the discretionary power to ban visitors to the U.K. under certain circumstances and that she had not done so in Mr. Trump’s case. On Wednesday, Ms. May, chosen as British Prime Minister after Mr. Cameron stepped down, congratulated Mr. Trump on his “hard-fought” victory.

“Britain and the U.S. have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise,” Ms. May said. “We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defense. I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”

Cayman Governor Helen Kilpatrick’s office made no further comments beyond what the prime minister stated Wednesday.

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  1. Good for the U.S.A.!

    I note that besides repeal of Obama Care, Reduction in Corporate taxes, and building the wall Trump and congress have “Limiting Travel to Cuba” on the list of things to do whilst in office…

  2. Totally agree with you C Wood, USA need a big clean up. The Obama Care needs to be repealed, first thing he should do is begin discussions with companies to bring back jobs to America. Give the people work to do, because notably the persons you see in the streets objecting to Trump are those who are on welfare and “Does not want to work” They want to live off the Obama, Hillary welfare for ever. Go to the supermarket and buy anything including the food we eat, it is all bottled or canned in China. Every body is asking the same question why so much Diabetes and cancer in countries. It is because of the food produced and not being inspected by FDA. Rice made from plastic, macaroni made from cardboard, eggs got plastic fish and beef is cured with formaldehyde, the very medication is not right. Cancer and diabetes drugs are a joke. Do your own research and eat well. The milk, orange juice got so many things in it you want to drink lemonade and brown sugar and the list goes on. That’s why we are dying from diabetes and cancer. Be careful of fast food, cook your breadfruit, cassava pumpkin and potatoes grown locally.
    The relationship Obama developed with Cuba; Trump need to back track on that. See the news this morning, “Cuba beefing up its military” Wonder why? Because Cuba cares about no one but Cuba and foreign money. Make Cuba do its own changes internally without interference from USA or anyone else, because Cuba will never change from being a Communist country no matter what the outside world do or say.
    Build that wall, Any good knowledgeable person should do some research what is going on between that USA and Mexican border. One of the worse things a person can do is listen to nonsense another person say without doing their own research, and most of all do not argue with fools, you will get no where.

    • I am in NYC and I can attest to the fact that many [in fact most] of the protesters in the street are employed professionals and very educated. I personally know many educators who are out there. What you say about protesters being unemployed and on welfare, just isn’t true. You are not here, but I am. Please don’t make statements that you can’t possibly back up, sitting down in Cayman.

      I do agree with you about packaged food; it was Michelle Obama who spearheaded a movement toward healthier eating. Unfortunately, organic and fresh options remain expensive and are not offered abundantly in inner-city, poor neighborhoods, inhabited by people of color.

      I won’t challenge your view on Cuba because I think you know more about that than I do. But a wall? That’s not happening because we are a country who welcomes immigration and diversity — all Americans except Native Americans are descended from immigrants [I am descended from Eastern European immigrants who came to the US in the late 1800s].

      • Oh Fern, my dear, there was a time when the United Sates needed immigration from other countries to grow its population but there were serious restrictions put on them as to health and their ability to contribute to the economy of this wonderful place. This is no longer true. A vast number now come either illegally or come to reap the entitlements given to them. We can no longer afford it. As to the protesters, what is it they want?? When Obama was elected you did not see this kind of behavior from the Republicans. These protestors are whiny, little cupcakes who can’t have their way. If many of them are educators, then I am very happy President-elect Trump will be in the White House. Maybe he can make the changes necessary to our education system to rid ourselves of these useless, childlike individuals who we subject our children to. I have lived in the US for 72 years. Twyla is right on every level. I say “Good for Trump, it’s about time.”

  3. America has voted- No more Bushes and Clinton in White House. It wants change.
    Just one example.
    America and Papua New Guinea are the only countries that don’t federally mandate paid maternity leave. Thanks to Ivanka Trump this is going to change and “wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything more; instead, it would be financed through savings achieved by eliminating fraud in the unemployment insurance program”.
    A baby born in the U.S. is nearly three times as likely to die during her first year of life as one born in Finland or Japan. Paid maternity leave will lower infants mortality.
    This will be huge and good for economic growth. It will reduce worker turnover,provide income security for families and important for raising healthy new generation.

    As for the rest that would come with Trump being elected-give him a chance.
    Career politicians as Clinton lose track of reality and the real world. Trump, with his eccentricities and peculiarities exaggerated by media is more real than Hillary, who frankly scares me.
    If I had a chance, I would have voted for Bernie Sanders.

  4. Fern I can back up my statements , because I have not always sat down in Cayman. I lived in USA before and I see who works and know a lot about what go on there. Also that no outsider interferes with their immigration policy or write letters trying to change their laws. You have an interest in Cayman or you would not have watching and writing in our news paper on line. I am writing because the Compass is called Caymanian Compass and not New York Times.
    Of course you would not want a wall if you feel you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. There is a reason why houses and offices, cars trucks and planes have doors, so that unwanted persons may not enter as they please. You must have a ticket a key or have a reason to enter, not going under the fence to a place that does not belong to you.