While the Cayman 2.0 series has thus far been looking at the ideas and strategies that could make the country a better place, we’re changing things up for December. This month, we’re highlighting 21 people who could turn some of those ideas into reality – or at least get the ball rolling – over the next calendar year.
Marc Langevin has seen a lot of good ideas discussed, debated and published in various reports during his decade in the Cayman Islands.
Such was the case earlier this year when he participated in the public-private Special Economic Advisory Council.
“We have a forced sabbatical year. And as we have heard over and over, you will be foolish not to take advantage of it to kind of rethink our process, our positioning, and what we really want the direction for this nation [to] be. I think it’s our duty right now,” Langevin said, adding people need to think about what Cayman will look like post-COVID.
With Cayman’s tourism industry on the brink, however, Langevin hopes to use his expertise and connections to ensure the talk translates into positive change.
At the very least, he’d like to see that partnership established in a more meaningful way in 2021.
21 people in 2021
“I was absolutely amazed during those SEAC committee meetings, with the level of volunteerism and also expertise that is available.
“Even if we cannot resolve all the issues, just the idea that it’s a strong partnership with committees really trying to achieve those goals, that would be the best achievement we could dream of, at this point.”
Looking ahead, there are four main areas Langevin would like to see addressed through public-private partnerships:
When it comes to brand Cayman, nearly everyone thinks of Seven Mile Beach. While The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman certainly benefits from this, Langevin said there are many jewels throughout the three Cayman Islands that often go undiscovered by visitors.
“How do we encourage (visitors) to discover the beauty of this nation that is Cayman? Again, it has to come with more than just an excursion and putting people in a taxi or in a rental car — potentially a willingness for people at the political level to actually invest in the destination to create different pockets of tourism.”
Transportation is a big issue with residents and tourists alike, and is included in government’s ‘Road Back to 500K’ tourism plan as key to the visitor experience.
“When we talk transportation, how do we create a business model for the transportation [industry] that would be… conducive to experience the island in a better way. So there is a Seven Mile Beach corridor, there is South Sound, there is East End, North Side – how do we create waterways.?.. [W}hy not maximise the use of all those canals to go from one destination to the other?”
Cayman for years has hosted international foodie events and branded itself as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.
With some of the world’s top chefs routinely visiting Cayman and a row of high-end hotels and restaurants lining West Bay Road, Langevin says he’d like to see a school established locallly that could attract both Caymanian and international students.
“That has been always an issue – how do we attract more people in our tourism industry?” Langevin said. “Right now, clearly we are losing a lot of ground on that because obviously we are not the industry of choice. If we want to do better… [we should ask] how do we create a true hospitality school and attract more coming to an industry which has a great future, there is no question.”
Predicting job trends
It can be hard for students to gauge what to study or what career to potentially enter when they have little knowledge about where Cayman is heading in terms of human resources. At the same time, Langevin says it can be difficult for businesses to create staffing plans if they’re uncertain about where job opportunities will be in the future.
He says it’s pivotal that private businesses work hand-in-hand with Cayman’s Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman department to understand employment trends and demand. He says that will benefit Caymanian jobseekers as well as businesses looking for answers as to whether they can hire from the local workforce or have to recruit overseas.
While those are on the longer-term to-do list, they are issues Langevin feels must be addressed and to which answers must be found in order to make Cayman a better place.
In the short term, however, he’s hoping to just see the work between government and the private sector continue to improve.
“The question is, will that come into action? Because there’s so much work, so many brain cells, and so much activity, a joint effort from so many people in the private sector to make it happen in collaboration with the government.”