Archive for December 16th, 2010

AG calls for finance boss

AG calls for finance boss

| 16/12/2010 | 37 Comments

(CNS): The failure of government entities to complete their accounts in accordance with the law is down to a lack of leadership the Auditor General has said. Unveiling the report based on the audit work his office has done on government accounts up to the year 09/10, Alistair Swarbrick said the Ministry of Finance needs to appoint a director of finance or someone to take overall responsibility for government’s accounts. The continued lack of leadership, he said, means no one is accepting responsibility for directing or orchestrating how the various government ministries and public authorities are ever going to address the myriad problems related to the state of public accounting.

Although Swarbrick said some statutory authorities and government companies (SAGCs) had made progress on addressing the backlog and, more importantly, improving the quality of the accounts, there were still ongoing problems with many of the 25 SAGCs. When it came to the ministries and portfolios, he said they were facing serious problems and the report gave a poor assessment of their efforts to restore financial accountability.

Some $2million of public money was spent on an accounting task force to address the problem but, Swarbrick pointed out to the media, the people of the Cayman Islands still had no idea how government money was being spent. In his first report the new auditor general said the money should have been used to focus on the more recent accounts, which would have relevance and meaning to the people.

He also said there was still a significant number of missing SAGCs reports which have been finished but were sitting in ministries. In its last report on the state of the accounts in April of this year the audit office had revealed that 73 reports had not been tabled in the Legislative Assembly (making them public documents) and that figure has now increased to 94.

“By not tabling the reports in the Legislative Assembly, the information about the financial performance of these organizations remains unavailable for public scrutiny,” the AG stated, adding that it essentially undermines the goal of accountability and the whole point of doing the accounts.

Given the amount of disclaimers, qualified and adverse opinions  the office had to give to government accounts, he said it was very difficult for the man in the street to differentiate what was an inability to present financial statements and what was either poor spending decisions by government or even dishonesty.

Without supporting information and documentation there was no way to verify why, or even if, public money had been spent as claimed by the public sector entities, the AG added.

Swarbrick questioned the value of his office spending time and money auditing the entire public sector’s financial statements for past years as these were of such little value given how late and how many disclaimers there were. Government has only got as far as the financial year 04/05 in compiling its overall statements. The entire financial statements for that year were delivered to the audit office in October but were of little if any use to “man nor beast”, the AG said.

Criticising the government’s output statements, which he said were essentially meaningless, Swarbrick said the man in the street does not need to know how many briefing papers were presented to Cabinet in the Education Ministry; they want to know how the students did in school.

The continuing failure, not just in terms of the time line by government entities but the poor quality of information and presentation of their financial statements, is down to problems with skill levels, the government auditor believes. He pointed out that where people with the correct skill sets had now been put in place, they still faced serious challenges because of the legacy left to them.

Although he acknowledged some improvement with SAGCs on the quality of their accounts in general, the accounts coming from ministries and portfolios were still of poor quality with chunks of information and in some cases figures missing from the statements.

“The government needs to develop a plan for how they will bring financial accountability reports up to date and improve their quality,” Swarbrick said, adding that he was very concerned that government was well aware of the problem but has simply not done what it needs to do to tackle the issue.

“The government has been informed about the seriousness of this issue since 2008; yet has chosen not to put in place the kind of leadership necessary to address the underlying problems contributing to the lack of financial accountability,” Swarbrick observed. “I was also surprised to find that the government has not developed a plan for how it will catch up with its consolidated accounts, even though there is a critical need for this information to effectively manage the government finances.”

In short, Swarbrick recommended that government stop trying to find the information on past years and focus on the most recent year, which could still have some value for public accountability. “The simple solution to this is to concentrate on the current accounts and move forward,” he said.

Confirming that many government entities had contravened the Public Management and Finance Law, he said his office was not able to take any legal action against the people concerned. He said that the failure on the part of those obligated to meet the requirements under the law had to be dealt with under the Public Management and Service Law. He believed, however, that there had to be some consequences for the continued contravention of the law.

In its response to the AG’s report, the Ministry of Finance denied responsibility and said that chief officers do not report to the ministry but to the deputy governor.

“Despite the numerous leadership initiatives that the Ministry of Finance has taken over the years, chief officers have remained largely unresponsive, resulting in a general non-compliance with their statutory financial reporting responsibilities,” the ministrysaid.

Spending the $2million on creating statements for the outstanding years was part of a desire to comply with the law, the ministry claimed, rejecting Swarbrick’s comments that it was a waste of time as the statements had some public value. The ministry said the task force was worthwhile as it had identified system deficiencies and hindrances as it worked through the backlog, giving government the opportunity to reassess those systems and move towards restructuring the entire government wide accounting function.

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The significance of human beings

The significance of human beings

| 16/12/2010 | 25 Comments

Up until the late Middle Ages humanity thought it was the center of the universe. And indeed, why would we think otherwise? When we looked into the sky, it was obvious that everything revolved around us: the sun, the moon, and the stars all circled the earth. In addition to that, humans dominated and subjected every animal to their whim.

It seemed that religion was right, humanity was the center of God’s creation, and everything was created to serve humankind.

Then Galileo appeared on the scene and showed that it was actually the earth that revolved around the sun. Soon after, we discovered how big the universe really was. Suddenly humanity had to completely refashion its understanding of the universe. Then Darwin showed that humans had actually evolved out of the entire lineage of animal species by a process he called “survival of the fittest.” We were not created instantaneously by the hands of God, but like every other animal, had evolved out of the earth over millions and millions of years. Both these discoveries had the effect of knocking humanity off its pedestal. We were no longer the center of the cosmos, and by all intents and purposes, simply a small speck in an enormous universe.

In the year 2010, this is still the general perception of the human race: we are insignificant. The Psalmist expresses what many of us feel today: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8: 3 – 4). As a whole, humanity has lost its sense of uniqueness and privilege.

But this is an illusion, and illogical. For science is showing us that humanity is still very much the “center” of the universe, albeit in a different manner than we first thought.

The illusion stems from something that causes us to associate importance with size. Because the universe is so vast and we are so small we think we are unimportant. But that is an illusion because God is not closer to something that is big than to something that is small. The true measure of importance of a being is its consciousness, its mind. If we imagine the scale of evolution in these spiritual terms, we see that the stars are at the very bottom. Then proceeding upwards we find plants, then eventually animals, and then at the very top, human beings. Knowledge and love exist in pure form at the human level. We are highest on the scale of evolution, and are the most sophisticated life-form ever: self-conscious persons. I do not believe that many people realize the significance of that fact. For millions of years evolution operated “blindly,” but in human beings, evolution has become “aware of itself.” Amazing!

Now I am not saying animals are not conscious, because they are. All life and all animals are conscious (which is the same as saying all life is spirit). But only humans are self-conscious. That is a big difference. Humans not only know; they ‘know that they know.’ Now, there are intelligent minds who, because they harbor animosity (probably rightly so) towards religion, are surprisingly irrational when it comes to analyzing humanity against other life-forms. They refuse to see any difference. I must admit that I have often looked at dogs and thought that they must be self-conscious, or at least have glimpses of it. However, I cannot help but see that there are at least two fundamental characteristics proper to human beings alone that prove that we are the only self-conscious animals.

The first is awareness of our nakedness. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3: 7). Again, I do not think people pay sufficient attention to this fact. From apurely objective point of view, it is certainly very bizarre that human beings are the only animal on earth that wears clothes. Yet this makes sense because we are the only animal who is “conscious of self.” A self-conscious animal can look at itself in the third person, so to speak, and examine itself. It is this “reflective” act which makes us aware of our nakedness.

I visited the Milwaukee Zoo with two Caymanian friends and we watched in amusement as this obviously extremely intelligent gorilla sat facing us with his hands behind his head. His legs were wide open exposing his genitals. This was an animal on the cusp of self-consciousness, but was not quite there. He was not aware of his nakedness. Now of course, there will be objections to this. A common objection is, “wearing clothes is a cultural thing: there are tribes in rural parts of the world where nakedness is not looked upon in shame.” But that objection misses the point. Because if any one of those tribal persons were suddenly transported to Times Square in NYC, they would immediately become aware and embarrassed of their nakedness. The gorilla, on the other hand, would not bat an eye. Despite cultural acceptance of nudity, only human beings are aware of what it means to be naked. If intelligent life-forms from another planet were to visit us, would we not expect them to wear clothes?

The second proof of our self-consciousness is our awareness of morality. “And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3: 22). Anybody can see that this fact also separates us from the animals. No animal is ever brought to justice for “murdering” another animal. That is absurd. Questions of good and evil do not apply in the animal kingdom. Even if an animal was to kill a human being (like that Killer Whale in Orlando) we do not hold it accountable for its actions, send it to prison, or to court. We may euthanize it, yes, but that is not for the sake of justice, but simply so that it does not happen again.

Animals are not self-conscious, and therefore cannot sin. A good example of this is the fact that only human beings worry about the extinction of other species; like in Cayman, we worry about the extinction of the Blue Iguana. But why? If evolution is a “survival of the fittest,” is it not natural that some species will become extinct? The history of evolution is one animal species after another becoming extinct. So in reality, animal extinction should not bother us; it certainly does not bother any other animal out there. But it does bother us, and that is because we are aware of good and evil. We are moral animals; different than every other animal. Yes, we may be 98% genetically the same as a chimpanzee, but apparently that 2% makes all the difference. We belong to the plane of “self-consciousness,” making us “persons” who are aware of our nakedness and the concept of good and evil.

I have only chosen two, but there are certainly many other characteristics that one could point to in order to show the self-consciousness of humanity: ourdiscovery of mathematics and the physical sciences, philosophy and music, and all the artistic ways we express ourselves. In addition, scientists are still not sure that any other animal beside the human being laughs or cries. Yet, if we remain objective, it is very obvious that humans represent a whole new level in the evolution of consciousness. In addition to the lithosphere, geosphere and biosphere, some thinkers are already identifying a “human-sphere,” or noosphere. Yes, it is true that from a physical perspective we are mere specks of dust in the universe. But from the more important spiritual point of view, the stars and galaxies are mere specks compared to the infiniteness of our minds. We stand on the highest rung of the ladder that reaches to God, who is Spirit, Consciousness, Mind.

The Psalmist, after reflecting on themagnitude of the stars, says to God of human beings, “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet” (Psalm 8: 3 – 5). Yes, we are the rulers of this world (for good or for bad,) and everything is literally under our feet. We are the center of the evolution of the world. Evolution has not stopped with us, it continues in us, in the form of human socialization. Evolution runs right through us, and is now conscious of itself, in us. We literally hold the future of the world in our hands.

The critical question indeed, is whether we will use this power for good or for evil. Will we save the world, or destroy it? But that is a different topic for a different time. My point here was only to restore the significance of humanity in the universe, based on our current scientific knowledge. Humans are far from insignificant as still too many people think. Their eyes are not opened to the true reality of things. We are the highest point of the evolutionary process. We are the part of the universe which has become personal, and conscious of itself – a grave responsibility, and an extraordinary privilege.

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Women demo for work

Women demo for work

| 16/12/2010 | 108 Comments

(CNS): Several women drew attention to their struggle to find work in George Town today as they demonstrated with placards about their situation. The women, who said they were all experienced workers, raised concerns that the Department of Employment Relations was doing no more than paying lip service to their problems and that local employers were not interested in employing them when they can employ permit holders for less. One woman, who lost her job twelve months ago after sixteen years in the post, told CNS that government was being unfair when it described the unemployed as having employability problems.

The women gathered in Heroes Square opposite the Legislative Assembly to say that they were employable and they needed jobs. Supported by former George Town MLA Lucille Seymour, the women said they just want the opportunity to work for a fair salary.

“These women are making a statement about the need for work and I am here to support them,” Seymour said. “I want to appeal to the country’s employers to give these and other women a chance. We need the private sector and government to work together to create jobs but we also have to ask ourselves, when we have over 20,000 people on permits, why these women who are employable can’t find work.”

Andrea Castro, who after 80 interviews said she had still not found work, raised concerns that the DER was sending people out on interviews and not following up to find out why they were not getting the work. “The department’s role doesn’t end when they set up interviews. They should be finding out why people are not getting taken on and then helping us to get through the problems. We don’t get any feedback at all,” she said.

Donna Welcome said she could not be described as unemployable as she had held a job for more than sixteen years. “I think I am being turned down because I have diabetes and that would increase the employer’s health insurance, but as I understand it, it’s against the law for employers to discriminate like that,” she said. Despite her lengthy office work experience, Welcome said that since signing on with DER 12 months ago they had arranged only one interview for her. She explained that she had made many many applications for jobs herself but had only been called for interview on 8 or 9 occasions.

The women said they hoped their decision to take to the street would draw attention to the fact that the local people who are unemployed are not all “unemployable”, as Rolston Anglin, the minister for labour, said in the Legislative Assembly recently, but are facing prejudices as well as competition from very low paid permit holders.

One single mother among the demonstrators said that the labour minister was wrong when he said the country’s biggest issue regarding work was employability. “The biggest issue with employability is cheap labour,” she added.

The demonstration comes in the wake of an earlier protest held by another unemployed single mother outside the Legislative Assembly while the members were sitting last month. Karissa Cameron caused a stir when she held a placard saying, “Young Caymanian mother of four, in need of work (a cry for help)”.

Cameron told CNS she had been out of work since 28 September with no child support. She said she had been out looking for work every day since 30 September but everywhere she went she was told she was either under or over qualified or people were not hiring.

At the time Jennifer Smith, Acting Director of the Department of Employment Relations said that Cameron, who is registered with the DER was brought into the office once they heard that she was standing by LA with a placard. After being interviewed by the JPU officer, she was sent out for three interviews, Smith said.

The DER said Cameron was dismissed from Island Companies after a few weeks with them which would be investigated. “We found her a job sometime ago and she has been working up until very recently. She was trying to find a job on her own, she said, since she was dismissed from her job about a month ago. As with all our clients, we are doing our best to help Karissa and will be following up with her in the coming weeks.”

It is clear however, that there are many more women who are looking for work and who feel the DER is not helping them. Kerry Horek said the women on the street today were taking matters into their own hands. On a day with five cruise ships in town they wanted everyone to know that there were capable and qualified Caymanians who were being marginalized and ignored when all they wanted was a fair chance.

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Young Brackers hone oratory skills

Young Brackers hone oratory skills

| 16/12/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Joel Gayle and Abijith Anu won the top spots, in the high school and primary school divisions respectively, in the Claudette Upton Keeley’s Public Speaking Contest on Monday, 22 November, and Wednesday, 24 November. Both students walked away with the coveted IPAD with 16 GB of memory. Cassidy Connor took second and Kassandra McDowell took third place in the primary school division, while second and third place in the high school division went to Logan Keyser and Venkata Bata respectively. The contest was hosted by the Lions Club of Cayman Brac in collaboration with Cayman First Insurance Company Ltd. and Brac Insurance Associates Ltd.

Itis one of the club’s many youth projects aimed at developing the art of speaking, writing and research amongst our youths, a release from the Brac Lions Club said.

“Public speaking is a very important skill in most professions orcareers and provides an advantage when it is properly done,” Lion Kevin Roberts said. “The club wants to help the young people of Cayman Brac to build confidence in speaking to groups of people and develop the necessary skills involved in research and writing as early as possible. As these young people conduct their research, write a summary of their findings and present them, it is also expected that they will widen their knowledge on many relevant issues.”

This is the second year of the contest and it is once again well supported by parents, friends and school leaders. Roberts maintained that the young orators delivered speeches of the highest quality and answered the questions posed in a professional and thorough manner.

“We were all impressed. The judges had the difficult task of determining the winners of the very attractive, up-to-date technological prizes. Prizes included Ipads, Ipods and Nintendo Wii. The club is already looking forward to next year’s contest as it hopes to expand it further into the school system, incorporating the senior high school students,” Roberts stated.

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Strike a blow for press freedom

Strike a blow for press freedom

| 16/12/2010 | 3 Comments

(Jamaica Observer): Today, the Parliament of Jamaica will take a decisive step forward in advancing the cause of freedom of expression, without which we might as well retreat into the Dark Ages. The Joint Select Committee reviewing the perniciouslibel laws of Jamaica is scheduled to sign off on the report of the Hugh Small Committee that was mandated by Prime Minister Bruce Golding to delve into the largely outdated laws and recommend ways of removing the shackles that protect the corrupt.

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Hotel unviels $11m Chrsitmas tree

Hotel unviels $11m Chrsitmas tree

| 16/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(Daily Finance): An Abu Dhabi hotel has unveiled a jewel-encrusted Christmas tree worth more than $11 million. It is the "most expensive Christmas tree ever," said Hans Olbertz, general manager of Emirates Palace hotel. The tree stands 40 feet tall and is decorated with silver and gold bows, ball-shaped ornaments and white lights. Its branches are draped with 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other previous stones. "The tree itself is about 10,000 dollars," Olbertz said. "The jewelry has a value of over 11 million dollars." The Emirates Palace hotel, which hopes to register the tree in the Guinness book of World Records, is no stranger to luxury – it has a vending machine where visitors can buy gold.

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Student stock pickers learn ups and downs of trading

Student stock pickers learn ups and downs of trading

| 16/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Would-be real world Investors at the International College of the Cayman Islands picked technology, energy and healthcare stocks in an investment competition that simulated real-world stock trading as part of their class. Taught by Brad Bishop, who specialises in private wealth management at Butterfield, said the stock simulation competition was a key feature in the course, because it encouraged business students to research and evaluate company data and learn from their successes and misses. “Until students can live and experience investing themselves the theory taught can only go so far,” said Bishop. “Experience, in my mind, trumps theory.”

To kick off the stock simulation competition, students started with $100,000 in imaginary cash and were required to invest in stocks over several weeks.

As the weeks went on, Bishop noticed that students gravitated toward companies or industries they were interested in from either a professional or personal capacity.

Technology, health care and energy stocks were favoured by many students in the class. However, one student broke out from the pack and invested in companies producing beauty care consumer products.

“At first, a number of students were hesitant to risk any of their imaginary capital. Certainly as the competition progressed and the students became more comfortable with what they were doing, we saw a little more excitement, energy and risk taking. It was great to observe the enthusiasm,” said Bishop.

What struck student Theodecia Sonlin was the enormous amount of information on the stock simulation website ( She quickly made use of the educational financial videos and tutorials to help her pick her stocks and track performance versus the S&P 500 Index. Ms. Sonlin picked her first stock from the technology sector using the “most popular buys” feature.

“This stock was the worst performing of all my stocks, so I realised that I couldn’t rely on the basis of what’s a hot pick,” said Sonlin. “After that, my strategy was to diversify my portfolio, buying stocks across different sectors such as technology, healthcare, consumer staples and energy. My best performing stock was Procter and Gamble, part of the consumer staples sector. I found my diversification strategy worked because I was able to balance losses in one sector with gains in another even when the S&P 500 Index was down.”

Another student, Davin Barrett, who also works at Fidelity, said he chose Google as one of his performing stocks, because of its reputation as a stable company, expected growth rate of 15 per cent, and a low debt-to-equity ratio.

“A company that has a low debt-equity ratio is one of many good markers for a potential stock pick and one of the reasons why I invested in Google,” said Barrett.

Massey Energy was another stock Barrett bought during the stock simulation, especially when he noticed an interesting trend. Early in the day, Massey Energy would trade at lower rates and would gradually edge up higher as the day progressed. Mr. Barrett decided to use this morning-afternoon, taking advantage of a time horizon style of trading to his advantage to increase his capital gains.

Following the simulation competition, Barrett is interested in furthering his stock investment experience in real life, however, he will take a cautious approach.

“It is a quick way to make profits if you know what you are doing. But it is can also be a quick way to incur losses if you don’t,” Barrett added.


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Maples’ Cayman boss moving to Hong Kong

Maples’ Cayman boss moving to Hong Kong

| 16/12/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The managing partner of local law firm Maples and Calder will be moving to Hong Kong according to reports on the web. Gareth Griffiths will move to the Asian office as joint managing partner with Christine Chang, to develop the firm’s Asia Pacific practice, taking his expertise in investment funds and corporate work, including joint ventures, IPOs and mergers and acquisitions with him. Meanwhile, Paul Lumsden will replace Griffiths as the Cayman Islands new managing partner. Lumsden joined the firm in 1995 from the UK, born in the Caribbean; his areas of expertise include corporate and commercial law, investment funds, banking, project finance, regulation and capital markets. Lumsden was made a partner at the firm in 2000.

The tenants of Ugland House, Maples is one of Cayman’s largest law firms and has often been the controversial target of international critics since the US president commented on the many companies registered there.

Maples describes itself as an international law firm advising on thelaws of the Cayman Islands, Ireland and the British Virgin Islands with an unsurpassed reputation for delivering legal advice of the highest possible quality, on time and on budget. “With specialists in every aspect of international and offshore law, we are proud of our reputation and strive hard to maintain it,” the firm states.

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Reshuffle blamed for delays

Reshuffle blamed for delays

| 16/12/2010 | 13 Comments

(CNS): The changes to government ministerial responsibilities were blamed for the delay some ministries have had in submitting their accounts to the auditor general the Public Accounts Committee heard on Tuesday. Asked by the chair why they had not met their obligation under the law management from a number of ministries pointed to an increase in the number of departments they were now responsible for without getting extra accountants as a result of the new line ups. In particular the premier and the deputy premier’s chief officers complained that their ministries had grown significantly but their human resources had remained the same.

Carson Ebanks, the chief officer in the Ministry of Finance Tourism and Development (the premier’s ministry), told the committee he now had twelve departments within the ministry but only three accountants, and while he wanted to recruit more people because of the freeze, he wasn’t allowed to take on any more staff. He said he was working on seconding someone from another government department to his ministry but it was proving very difficult to get the number of people he needed.

Chief Financial Officer in the Ministry for District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, Nadisha Walters, said that ministry had grown from six departments to seventeen but their accounting staff had remained the same, which was making it difficult for them to complete the workload.

Members of the PAC queried why staff had not moved with the departments and pointed out that it was the responsibility of chief officers to speak up at the time of the reshuffles to ensure the right people were being transferred. The question of what had happened to the staff when the transfer occurred was also raised and the chair said the committee would need to call the management from the Portfolio of Civil Service to find out how accountants were being distributed.

It was assumed by some committee members that the smaller ministries that were getting on top of their accounts may well have done so now as a result of a surplus of accountants at the expense of the new larger ones.

Auditor General Alasdair Swarbrick said it was an important issue as it had directly impacted the ability of ministries to catch up and keep up with their accounts.

Check back to CNS later today for full details on the release of the auditor general’s report.

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Official plan ends countdown

Official plan ends countdown

| 16/12/2010 | 44 Comments

(CNS): With the countdown to the premier’s promise to get the country’s economy back on track now over, the official “stimulus plan” has been published on the government website. Following the national address made by Premier McKeeva Bush last week, the document outlines government proposals for future growth, which so far have been broadly criticised. Calling on the community to work together, the actual measures include considerably less than people had hoped. Areduction in turtle meat prices, a moratorium on loan payments, the roadside clean-up and possible duty reductions make up the short term measures. Bush has also revealed changes to immigration polices for high-net-worths and business travellers.

The premier also says he has also created a Stimulus Implementation Group headed by a “National Strategic Advisor”, which will consider future ideas. According to the document, the core SIG comprises a small number of key senior public servants, with additional members co‐opted from the public sector and the private sector as necessary. It will work across ministries and portfolios “to enhance the pace and quality of implementation of national priority projects”, which are expected to provide the required economic stimulus, the premier revealed.

Bush said that stimulus measures may take the form of changes in policy, capital projects or even refinement of existing government services.

“A turnaround in the local economy has already begun,” he claimed in the stimulus document. “Signs of renewed interest and potential growth are around the corner, yet to truly capitalize on the impending resurgence, much has to be done to affect major change. Results may not be visible overnight, but the momentum of the combined efforts of the public and private sectors will have a tremendously positive impact.”

The premier indicated that over the next 3 to 6 months measures focusing on enhancing the business climate and making it easier to do business will create jobs and stronger economic activity. He also said consideration had been given to measures improving the quality of life as well as the development of human capital and encouraging economic diversification

“The affects of these measures will not likely be felt until the long‐term,” he warned. “Nevertheless, implementation must begin now to allow adequate lead‐time to prepare.

Aside from the loan payment freezes, the reduction of import duties on select items on a temporary basis in January was under consideration, he said. “Further announcements will be made to clarify which imported items will qualify for these reductions as they are implemented. These reductions are intended to provide additional relief to the present cost of living,” Bush stated.

Along with the clean‐up campaigns employing between 700 and 800 people, he also noted the temporary reduction in the price on turtle meat at the Turtle Farm for December 2010. He also announced that government would attempt to “buy Caymanian” whenever feasible in order to support local companies across all industries when purchasing services or undertaking projects.

“Government should lead by example. Part of stimulating the economy is ensuring local companies get work. This can be encouraged throughout the public sector immediately,” Bush stated.

Along with immigration changes for high net worth individuals and efforts to become more customer friendly at the airport, Bush said Cayman would become more attractive to investors.

Speaking about the need for physical presence, he announced that a promotional strategy to encourage financial services operations would be unveiled in the first quarter of 2011. “This strategy will, at the very least, bring our jurisdiction on par with our competitors in terms of international promotional and marketing efforts. The success of this promotional strategy will not only address what is known as the ‘substantial presence’ issue, but it will also create new white‐collar jobs by supporting top quality organizations to combine their talent with the talent present in the Cayman Islands,” he said.

See premier’s full stimulus plan here

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