With the appointment of former Finance Minister Marco Archer as chief executive officer of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, the future of the exchange is decidedly bullish.
Before his four-year term as an elected George Town legislator, Mr. Archer was a practicing attorney for a local offshore law firm. Before that he worked for the Cayman government as a project manager and economic statistician. In addition to his law degrees, Mr. Archer holds a bachelor’s in economics and finance, and a master of business administration.
All this is to say that Mr. Archer has in-depth knowledge of Cayman’s financial sector, including the laws and regulations that govern the industry here. As finance minister, he was instrumental in efforts to control spending and reduce public debt, under the terms of the U.K.’s Framework for Fiscal Responsibility. In 2016, Global Markets magazine honored Mr. Archer as the Caribbean’s finance minister of the year.
It is clear that Mr. Archer actually brought knowledge, experience and substance to his post as a legislator – commodities that are too often in short supply in the Legislative Assembly.
In his new position, his acumen and comfort level with “digits and decimals,” no doubt will serve him – and his countrymen, meaning us – well.
It is also clear that Mr. Archer was the “one qualified Caymanian” who applied for the CEO job, according to Stock Exchange Council Chairman Anthony Travers.
So why are some opposition members in the Legislative Assembly making so much – well, noise – about Mr. Archer’s appointment?
Might it have something to do with Mr. Archer’s membership in the ruling Progressives party, or that one of the critics – George Town MLA Kenneth Bryan – ran against (and defeated) Mr. Archer in May’s election?
If anything, these legislators, including North Side MLA Ezzard Miller and East End MLA Arden McLean (who spend much of their time in the House complaining about how this or that “qualified Caymanian” didn’t get some job or other in government), should be applauding the fact that this time, a truly qualified Caymanian did secure a high-profile position.
Instead, they are attempting to nitpick the hiring process, alleging that government did not follow precisely its convoluted employment protocol involving shortlists, subcommittees and ministerial notifications, among other hurdles.
Given that the right man appeared to get the right job, even if officials missed Step 3(b) out of 8 … so what? Since there were no better qualified local applicants, would they have preferred that the Stock Exchange bring in a work permit holder?
Mr. Travers, for the record, says the board did adhere to the law. And if there’s anyone who knows Cayman law and the Cayman Stock Exchange better than Mr. Travers, we have not met him or her yet. And, frankly, we doubt we ever will, because they don’t exist.
In our opinion, the opposition’s allegations amount to little more than vindictive double-daring of officials to double-check their i-dotting and t-crossing. The substance of their complaint does not even come close to meriting a serious news story, much less a formal investigation.
What made this a news story at all was that Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has requested an investigation into the matter by internal auditors.
He should not have.
Internal auditors have far more important work to do than to spend their time probing politicians’ “asterisk-level” gripes about a process that yielded an extraordinarily good result for the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange – and the Cayman Islands people.