EDITORIAL – A ‘good news’ day in the Cayman Islands

When editors evaluate stories for publication in the Cayman Compass, they do not take into account whether a story is “good news” or “bad news.” It’s either news – or it’s not.

That being said, as members of the Cayman Islands community, we do think it is worthy to note that the front page of Monday’s Cayman Compass featured an all-too-rare alignment of four different articles, on four different topics, all falling squarely into the category of “good news” – positive developments in the country’s government, economy, schools and nonprofit sector.

Monday’s front page was not a deliberate attempt to inspire a rose-hued perspective about current events. It was, fortunately and refreshingly, an accurate reflection of the day’s news in these islands.

Leading the paper was the announcement that the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office has named veteran diplomat Martyn Roper as interim governor, putting an end to the uncertainty caused by the months-long vacancy in Cayman’s top position in the public service. In an email to the Compass, Mr. Roper wrote, “I am delighted to be appointed to the role by Her Majesty The Queen. It is a great privilege and honour. I take great pride in being part of the Cayman Islands and having an opportunity to serve its people.”

We are pleased to welcome him when he arrives next Monday.

The appointment of Mr. Roper has the added benefit of allowing Acting Governor Franz Manderson, who has again done our islands a great service by stepping into the role, to focus on his own duties as Deputy Governor, and letting Cayman’s government administration return to its normal flow of business.

The second good news story concerned Cayman’s economy, specifically that the country’s Gross Domestic Product grew by even more than expected – 4 percent in the first quarter of this year – thanks to booming tourism, construction and a growing number of new company registrations. (For reference, economic growth during the same period the year before was just under 3 percent.)

Officials say that in the first three months of 2018, tourist arrivals grew by more than 20 percent, company registrations increased a whopping 41.7 percent and stock exchange listings reached the highest level since 2009. They expect robust growth in GDP to continue. That is good news for all of us.

The third good news story concerned the most important topic of education. Inspectors determined that John Gray High School has made significant performance gains since its 2014-15 inspection, upgrading their assessment of the school from “failing” to “satisfactory.” Given the past and present challenges facing our public education system, and John Gray specifically, this is one “report card” that is worthy of recognition and applause.

The work there is, of course, just beginning, but as John Gray Principal Jon Clark said, the news is “a good step in our move to become a world-class school.”

Finally, last weekend, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations’ radio-telethon – in its 39th year – raised more than $117,000, thanks to support from generous donors and talented local performing artists. It is always heartening to see Cayman’s philanthropic community in action, and last weekend was no different. The work of Cayman’s nonprofit sector contributes immeasurably to the health, safety and vitality of our islands.