Our forefathers who built this country had a cooperative spirit and were not afraid to face challenges. Their dreams were of an outstanding Cayman they could be proud of, where future generations would have life better than what they had.
Politicians – we need you to work together. Cayman has many challenges ahead. Most of you have an excellent education – something that was lacking in the old days. That generation mostly used “common sense. Even though they were small in numbers, they made a difference. We need you to continue building on this work.
What will history say of you if you do not follow the path of your forefathers? You do not want to be remembered as the generation that was weak and sat on the edge of Bartlett Deep. You want to be the generation that moved Cayman to high ground, showing the world you are born leaders and will continue to lead.
You have the potential to bring down the cost of living, to provide health care for all, to secure our borders, make our airline profitable, revamp our school system and address other important issues. As someone who helped our islands get to where we are today, I have many ideas about how we might do this:
1. Bring down the cost of living by 25-30 percent by repealing import duties on food, gas and diesel, and replacing them with a small government stamp fee for all bank transactions. So much of the financial activity “on island” only takes place on paper.
2. Offer all born Caymanians aged 60 and older the same stipend and life insurance policy received by veterans and seamen. They were pillars of our economy, just as the seamen were. Reduce health insurance premiums by offering one health care policy for all.
3. Diversify our economy by supporting medical tourism and biotech firms who might benefit from our friendly regulatory climate.
4. Reduce the cost of government by requiring government employees to pay 50 percent of their health insurance and pension contributions. Pay wages comparable to the private sector. Lease government vehicles and purchase fuel from retail or wholesale outlets. Require regular audits of government companies and authorities. If they are not profitable, lease them or shut them down. Save money on education by having high schoolers attend school from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and rent the buildings out for the remainder of the day – perhaps to an overseas university that wants to establish a campus in Cayman.
5. Promote tourism by moving the visitors’ information bureau to downtown George Town and making the area more pedestrian-friendly. Distribute free materials promoting our history, finance industry and tourism to all visitors.
6. Protect our natural resources by endeavoring to go green by 2040. Protect Stingray City by limiting boat size and number – pay for enforcement by charging visitors $1 each. Immediately stop excavation of fill on the island, importing it, instead. Locate the port in deep water – absolutely no dredging. Impose a 1 percent structural fee on all present and future structures over 25,000 square feet to pay for conservation. Give the dump to Dart – he is right next door and has a vested interest.
7. Companies who have been registered in Cayman for more than seven years should be offered Caymanian status, with certain conditions. Children, spouses and ex-spouses of Caymanians should immediately be granted Caymanian status.
8. It currently costs government $5,950 per month to incarcerate offenders. We must reduce the number of people in our prisons, and the number who reoffend. Six months before prisoners are scheduled for release, they should be employed by government at 50 percent the going rate. If they follow rules and do the work, provide a certificate of satisfactory completion they can show prospective employers. If they don’t reoffend for three years, clear their police record.
9. Promote the well-being of born Caymanians by requiring all registered companies with employees hire a minimum of 30 percent Caymanians. Hire competent Caymanians as judges and other members of the judiciary. At least 30 percent of our police force should be local persons. Act now to bar price gouging in time of disaster. Outlaw monopolies to promote free enterprise for all.
10. Finally, create an elder advisory board to advise on these issues. Collectively, we older Caymanians have a lot of knowledge to share.
Think how lucky and blessed we are in Cayman. We have no direct taxation, yet our island rates among the best in the world. We have a heritage to be more than proud of, so it is to you – our coalition government – to take up the challenge and continue moving the Cayman Islands into uncharted waters, finding new possibilities. Others may follow, but Cayman must remain the leader. We cannot lose sight of this challenge.
Be confident, courageous and honest. We can achieve anything we set our hearts on, with God’s help. The future has never been brighter.
God bless you, and may God continue to bless these beloved Cayman Islands.