EDITORIAL – Paying our respects to one of Cayman’s ‘Founding Fathers’

“He was a strong believer in the Cayman Islands and the Caymanian people. He never expected to be specially recognized for the things he did. He had no agendas. What you saw was what you got. He was a very, very open and genuine individual.”
– David Ritch, Ritch & Conolly

Today we join the community in mourning the passing of Arthur Hunter, and we take this opportunity to salute a steadfast pillar of society and pioneer of the Cayman Islands financial services industry. If the rapid ascent of our country from humble fishing village to global power player is described as the “Cayman Miracle,” then Mr. Hunter was among a small handful of “miracle workers” who enabled Cayman’s upward trajectory, from conception to maturation.

His most admirable personal qualities translated to his immense professional success, among them, wisdom, vision, loyalty and integrity.

We extend our condolences to his family – wife Karen, son Bryan, daughter Desiree, brother George and grandchildren – and to the many others who, while unrelated by blood, flourished under his mentorship.

A well-lived life, such as that of Arthur Hunter’s, leaves an indelible impression on those fortunate enough to have shared the stage with such a man, if only too briefly.

Along with William S. Walker, Sir Vassel Johnson and foundational figures such as Jim MacDonald, John Maples, Doug Calder, Warren Conolly and others – Mr. Hunter can be considered an architect of the visionary legal framework that brought global banking and international finance to our shores, in the process utterly transforming Cayman and its economy.

Although he never served in political office himself, Mr. Hunter’s clear-headed guidance helped lead many politicians to the positions they sought – and helped keep them steady and steadfast once they got there.

As an attorney at Hunter & Hunter and later head of Appleby law firm, Mr. Hunter was the archetype of an ethical, skilled and dedicated legal advocate.

“This country’s lost an icon,” said Finance Minister Roy McTaggart, former managing partner of KPMG accounting firm.

Mr. Hunter’s passing at the age of 81 is a milestone marking the end of an era in this territory’s history, as the stalwarts who witnessed the genesis of the modern Cayman grow older and, inevitably, depart this world for the grand undiscovered country.

Leaders, such as Mr. Hunter, are each created individually – but they all possess certain immutable characteristics that include integrity, principle, fortitude and never-bending adherence to values.

True leaders possess insight into current normalities, foresight in action and unwavering commitment to ambitious goals. They demonstrate the courage to challenge conventional wisdom, even when their views are unpopular or contrarian.

Over time, as their wisdom is borne out and their instincts proven prescient, their reputations as leaders grow.

As retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal writes in his new book, “Leaders: Myth and Reality,” there is a dearth of understanding of the essential qualities of leadership. He calls for the leadership equivalent of Einstein’s general theory of relativity – one which will accurately predict which qualities and strategies will yield success.

What we do know is that leaders cannot be coddled into being. They cannot be churned out like products of expensive or elite schools. Their skills are not handed down through genetic prescription.

It seems to us that Cayman has been endowed with an disproportionate quantity of extremely high-quality leaders, thus raising this question: Who will replace them after they exit our ethereal stage?

Will our new leaders emerge from our political ranks, from our commercial enterprises, from our churches, from our schools?

Who will rise up and accept the torch that Mr. Hunter, and his brethren, have now bequeathed to us?