Mac signs deal for techy-park

| 18/07/2011

(CNS): Some seven months after announcing the proposal the premier signed a deal Monday with Cayman Enterprise City Ltd (CEC) to allow the company to develop a technology centre in a special economic zone on Grand Cayman. The agreement allows the developer the exclusive right to construct, develop, operate and maintain the zone which is intended to attract global science, technology, commodities and derivatives, media and educational businesses to the Cayman Islands. Special economic zones (SEZs) are regions established in a country for which government concessions have been made in order to stimulate economic growth.

“CEC represents an opportunity for the Cayman Islands to diversify its economic base,” said McKeeva Bush at the signing ceremony. “It’s also worth noting that this project requires no government investment, as it will be completely privately funded; and the developer also has not requested waivers for duties on materials or stamp duties.”

Government will now begin to establish the legislative framework for CEC to operate. Speaking with CNS last week the developers said they hoped the legislation would be ready for public consultation next month before it goes to the legislative assembly.
With the signing of the agreement CEC said it can begin going through the planning process paving the way for construction to begin in early 2012.

The SEZ will be the first in the Caribbean region, said Jason Blick, CEO of CEC who lauded government for embracing the concept. “The cooperation and inward-investment friendly attitude of the Cayman Islands Government, and the civil service, has been outstanding,” he said. “They truly understand the positive effect the zone will have on Cayman, and their support has been incredible.”

Blick said all goods and materials imported in order to construct and later resource the ‘city’ will be subject to the normal duty payments but CEC will receive a reduction in work permit fees for businesses operating in the zone.

The development of CEC’s five ‘parks’ which consist of Cayman Internet Park, Cayman Media Park, Cayman Biotech Park, Cayman Commodities Park, and Cayman International Academic Park will be constructed in phases with ground breaking earmarking for the beginning of 2012.  “The master plan incorporates a state-of-the-art, low-rise campus of sustainable architecture comprising 500,000 sq. ft. in threephases of Class A office space,” said Director of Design and Construction and local partner, Cindy O’Hara.

CEC have not yet stated where the CEC will be located except to say it will be East of George Town and that two sites have been short-listed. “Once a final site has been selected its location will be announced and the project team will start the Planning Department permit process,” CEC said.

There will be no manufacturing or engineering businesses permitted within the zone as it is being designed as a knowledge-based zone only and not a manufacturing one. The developers stated that there will be no laboratory testing or applied biotechnology research and with no dredging the project will have a low impact on the natural environment.

As well as creating business opportunities and up to 800 jobs in the first year, during the construction of the project, CEC has also stated that it will be taking up to 100,000 sq. ft. of existing office space in George Town in order to house international brands wishing to establish within the zone before completion.

 

Category: Local Business

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone considered what changes need to be made to protect the rights of these companies? 

    Does Cayman have copyright laws and more importantly, are they upheld/ policed?  If the radio’s aren’t paying royalties and our pirating lasts the whole year versus the week (burnt dvds & cd’s to cracked software), how does one protect their concepts/ ideas/ artistic work?

    Will this be addressed (for the benefit of those in the park and Caymanians who’d rather be doing their passion as a job versus a hobby)?

    Just wondering…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Will the 100,000 sq ft of office space that SEZ is going to rent until they build their own space be granted the same concessions of lower work permit fees, etc?  If so, will they lose those concessions when 100,000 sq ft of SEZ space is built?

  3. Anonymous says:

    GREAT IDEA

    However it is not the idea of the Premier.

    Cayman generally supports this venture however the conceptual architecture for this development is absolutely terrible, disgraceful and totally unimaginative. This is the Caribbean, not California nor do we need a copy of features from Camana Bay. We are a Caribbean Island and do not need walls of glass in a tropical climate.

    We need real and creative gifted architects to make a statement in design which fits into our environment, culture and climate.

    We wish this venture every success and trust that the investors and developers donot involved themselves with the corruption of the UDP for if they do they will soon lose the support of the people.

  4. Photo Opps says:

    We applaud announcements. But note NOT one project, not a one can start. Who is to blame the shadow. Any one can recall so many projects all in the air ever in Cayman?

  5. Anonymous says:

    What jobs? This is still theoretial…..The companies are not even confirmed….It is a lovely idea but it is still PIE IN THE SKY!

  6. Anonymous says:

    For the amount of money they're planning on spending, one would have to be silly to think that they have not already lined up tenants. So the question is what concessions are in place for the businesses to relocate from their current jurisdiction to Grand Cayman? Maybe the government plans on doing away with the roll over policy, which would be a semi-good thing, but what else is there?

    Also, who is the developer? Has anyone looked in to their background? By not asking for any concessions for themselves…they could avoid background checks? Seems to have a lot of money if they're doing it all out of pocket.

  7. Darrel Evans Jr says:

    I like this idea; dont know enough about it though lets see where it goes if it gets going in the projected time frame seems good though.

    MAC didnt think of this he signed off on someones idea; this is a private enterprise venture; some decisions are obvious at times.

    thankfully this happened doing our UDP run guys YAYY!! our score is up like ammm 6 to none lol dang we good!!!

    ahh boi

  8. Anonymous says:

    these people obviously have not checked out the current CUC prices or construction costs or insurance fees.or the cost of living here…….

    where is the business plan or model…….

    it just doesn't make sense

  9. JTB says:

    Companies in the zone cannot trade on the island, so they cannot compete with local companies.

     

    The whole idea is that this scheme will bring types of business to the island which are not presently here.

    • Libertarian says:

      Thank you for raising a valuable point. This is all new to me. My direct question is will those within the zone be able to buy and sell products and services?  And if so, wouldn't that mean that I as a consumer would be able to compare cost between those local businesses outside the zone and those businesses within the zone?  Hence, because of the waivers, those businesses represented in the zone, will have much more of an advantage in securing consumers. Just what can this zone do and can't do?  If our money is involved… I have to wonder

      • JTB says:

        No companies within the Zone may not provide or sell goods or services on the island, so they cannot compete with any local business. They will however be able to buy goods and service here.

        • Libertarian says:

          Well… that sounds like good news; another project I can support. A commenter has brought up an Immigration issue relating to those in the zone, what is your take?

          • JTB says:

            As I understand it there are no immigration concessions, other than the waiver of the Local Companies Control Law, so that Zone companies can be wholly non-Caymanian owned.

             

            That is necessary if a company like say Microsoft or Googe were going to open a business here

  10. Libertarian says:

    The concessions for this zone will not be in the long run, "fair" to those currently outside of the zone in the fields of technology, commodities and derivatives, media and educational businesses in the Cayman Islands. Anyone that wants to start a business in technology, would be economically force to do so within the zone. Instead of the government reducing cost of gas, duties, permits, fees, and immigration reforms that will positively stimulate the entire business market, unfortunately, all I am seeing is the setting up of a business environment favorable for monopolies over small local businesses, striving hard to make ends meet.

    However, one thing I can commend the UDP for, is the value they say they have for development. People like me an Independent say:-  It is not what, when, where we develop that really matters, but "how" we develop ourselves and home.

    • Anonymous says:

      lib, nothing is for nothing!  the zone will help to create jobs!  as to "how", I think udp is doing a fine job at it.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is interesting that there was no mention of the immigration concessions granted for those that will be employed within the boundaries of the new park.

    • Anonymous says:

      As far as I know, businesses within the SEZ are barred from conducting business outside of the zone (which is why the city is 'zoned' in the first place).  So local companies don't have to worry about big corporations coming in and bullying them.  This also means that local companies cannot directly conduct business with the potential companies that set up shop in the SEZ.  The benefit lies in the population increase.  More people on island means more money being injected into the community, it means more business for local retailers.  As a local retailer myself I see this as a good thing.

  11. The lone Haranguer says:

    I notice that the article with chief bomb thrower Ezzard Miller above has 124 comments, and this article which is going to bring jobs and developement to this country has 12 comments.

    We Cannot not hear nothing (anything) from the DNNIBSBTC (do nothing no ideas big spending bomb throwing crowd.)

    Let me help you,       well done McKeeva, press on regardless !

    • Anonymous says:

      o7:56  I am rolling over, never thought of that one before  BTC  Bomb throwing crowd.  Good name.  Press on Mac you still got your supporters.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dare I ask:  Was this project put out to tender and was the procurement process properly followed?

    • JTB says:

      I wouldn't have thought so, no.

      "Procurement" is when the Government spends money on something – this is an investment by CEC, with no Government money involved.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are both WRONG!

        The developers are getting concessions and so yes there is Government or rather OUR money involved.

         

        Wake up open your eyes for just once in your life.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ok, since you're awake and have your eyes open, tell us: What concessions are the developers getting?

    • Anonymous says:

      It's not a government project, its a private development, so there's no procurement process to follow.  However, we can presume Cayman Enterprise City will put out the various construction contracts to tender to try and get the best deal for their company.

  13. Darrel Evans Jr says:

    Question guys

    why are they being so secretive about the location ???

    the only time this is necessary from my opinion is when there is some form of competition with another company of the same sort in this particular instance doesnt make sense.

    why the secrecy about purposed location?

    • Anonymous says:

      Secrecy about the location may limit land speculators from driving up the cost of the project. The developers can negotiate land purchase with the current owners without having the ownership of a land parcel change in middle of negotiations.

      • expat e says:

        The secrecy on this island made me run for my life.  I didn't want to live next to a hospital, mega-quarry, techy centre, project d' jour.

        • Anonymous says:

          You ran for your life yet you still take time to read CNS?  Give me a break.  Wherever you ran to is probably worse than here or else you wouldn't be keeping up on Cayman news and wanting to come back.

          • Anonymous says:

            Except for us poor bastards who bought condos there, now vacant and unsellable and killing us with owner's fees, and who watch from afar hoping beyond reason that a miracle will turn Cayman around, before we go cry in a glass of beer and lament our foolishness in buying under King Kurt and (the Dark) Lord Mac.  Except us…

      • Darrel Evans Jr says:

        ahh ok makes sense!!

  14. Miller says:

    Well done Premier and UDP team. There is alot to be done, and perhaps we will see the results after 4 years, but something is getting done to better the economy. When PPM was in I never saw the amount of project proposals like I do now under UDPs tenure. I just hope that if the next party gets in, they don't tear down the progress of these projects at the detriment of the country. It would have to take re-election of UDP to ensure that this doesn't happen. PPM under Alden's watch, left the country with unfinished projects and an 81 million deficit. There were alot more impoprtant things to be done than building a school that cost a fortune. They should have focused on renovating the schools and beefing up the job market instead. But I guess we all learn from our mistakes. I will find it hard though to elect any of them back in. I would have to select more independents.

    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      Ah that terrible UDP and that awful PPM!  I wish the two-party system had never been adopted in the Caymans.  All it does is cause money to be spent building up two "sides", which creates animosity between the people.  The Caymanians should pull together, not follow party hacks.  Just because the UDP or PPM say something is "true" or "right" or "better" doesn't necessarily make it gospel.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no such place as "The Caymans" just as you would not say "The Virgins" or "The Channels". We arethe Cayman Islands or just Cayman.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else in our governmnt have any say in any matters anymore other than macdictator?????  I for one am tired of hearing what all he is proposing or signing and am tired of it being shoved down my throat.  Caymanians need to do as they did many years ago at Pedro St. James…………stand up and demand a democratic system of government and take the law into their own hands to do it if needed.  Time for Macdaddy to be rolled if u ask me…..

    • Anonymous says:

      23:18, if you all keep verbally threatening the Premier, dont you think he will do exactly what thje PPM did when they were leaving office. "Leave new projects to finish and  a big bill for new commers to pay"  Sorry cant have your cake and eat it too.

  16. Dred says:

    Unlike the other 90% of his ideas this one I also support. Now if he could get off his bum and….

    1) Allow Electric Vehicles on our streets

    2) Inroduce iniatives to help us get off our addiction to oil and CUC by offering incentives to go alternative such as solar.

    And I would be a lot happier.

    Ooh yeah and answer some questions about his letter.

    • The lone Haranguer says:

      But Dred we are putting up a doppler radar system in east end so we will never be able to erect wind turbines ?? Who's idiot idea was that ?

  17. Reality calling says:

    Who's taking wagers on the first piece of litigation?

  18. Knot S Smart says:

    I like this project! Just not so sure why in a major recession all of these high tech companies will be expanding their operations to Cayman.

    We do have a high cost of doing business, very expensive fuel and utilities costs, high cost of living, and we lack a highly skilled or motivated workforce.

    We benefit by no income tax but since 2009 we have been busy signing tax exchange treaties with the major industrial countries. Not sure whether any tax benefit still exist for these companies setting up here.

    As I said, it sounds good. Just hope they have a workable plan.

    If they do, then Cayman should greatly benefit from this project!

    • JTB says:

      What makes most offshore tax avoidance schemes vulnerable is that there is no economic activity in the offshore part of the structure. You simply have a holding company based in somewhere like Cayman which is part of a complex scheme to try and base profits in a low or non-tax jurisdiction. It is vulnerable to challenge because the generation of value (or profit) takes place in a jurisdiction where ther is tax, so the scheme is judged to be a sham.

      The advantage of the SEZ is that multi-national companies can base high-value operations here. Say for example a company like Microsoft parked a bunch of tech-geeks here and they come up with some fantastic piece of software. The cayman subsidiary company they work for can legitimately earn the proceeds of that work/product because it was developed here. It is not a false construct – not a tax dodge – because the economic activity took place here.

      So the SEZ makes tax "avoidance" legitimate – it is a defensible system of tax planning.

      This is possible because of the concessions which the government gives to companies operating within the SEZ – that is minimum red tape, low work permit fees, and the ability to be non-Caymanian owned.

      The advantages to the Cayman islands are: job opportunities for locals, because those companies need both to be staffed and serviced, increased economic activity on the island leading to greater business for local companies, and the safeguard that SEZ companies cannot trade on the island so cannot compete with local companies.

      It really is a win win situation

      • Forelock says:

        Rollover has to go too for this to work long term, and for the same reasons as you have provided.

        In other words, so that it is a legitimate long term commercial venture that resides in the Cayman Islands and where the people who are imported to do the highly specialised work that will be done there can stay as long as they like.

        • Anonymous says:

          the zone gets exceptions….aka the rollover and all immigration terms do not apply…..read in between the lines….

          "SPECIAL"  means special laws

          "ECONOMIC" means money for those involved

          "ZONE" an area where locals do not benefit

          • JTB says:

            There are no immigration concessions planned for the SEZ

             

            I'm afraid you'll have to take your racist paranoia somewhere else

      • Knot S Smart says:

        Thanks JTB. This looks like a good project from what I have seen and I hope that it goes through.

      • tim ridley says:

        This is all very odd. Surely these benefits are the reason that Cayman has become such a successful offshore centre in the first place. Over the years, I like many others here, have helped offshore businesses establish physical operations in the Cayman Islands. Some of them are still here, some of them are not. 

        If Cayman has become less attractive to such operations setting up here, surely it should not require a SEZ to reenergise  Cayman's attractions. So why not reduce the red tape, improve the work permit rules and cut fees and duties for everyone, and not just those who go to the SEZ?

        Tim Ridley

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bush, I am neither UDP or PPM.  I disagree with most of your other proposed projects, but I completely and utterly support this.  I hope others can demonstrate that its not about politics its about Cayman and that we do actually support the odd idea we're not against it all!

    This is the kind of diversification Cayman needs.  It is likely to generate a plenty jobs and it doesn't destroy the environment, coral reef or mangroves, etc.  I hope and pray the knowledge based jobs in this park give some inspiration to our youth, and get them studying and achieving better in school in the hope of an excellent career there.  

    I am so glad you signed off on this ONE!  When it comes to diversification please do more of this and forget about the rest!

  20. Jack N Meoph says:

    Thumbs up, let's make this work.  FYI, I am NOT UDP, I just want the best for Cayman.  We really do need the confidence of foreign investment – even if we have to adjust our expectations…

  21. Anonymous says:

    I, like most people, like the idea, but excluding bio-tech and laboratories is very strange. What exactly will the research entail??? Without experimenting, you can't generate the new big ideas that create cash inflows or streamline old ideas for added efficiency.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Shetty…..

    • I miss Marius says:

      There are several steps in the research process.  Among the steps, is the incubation of an idea and the raw research.  The raw research generates loads of data that then needs to be analyzed.  The raw research and analysis is likely to take place in "real laboratories" that will not be in Cayman.

      The analyzed data, then needs to be "warehoused" and labeled as "intellectual property".  This "intellectual property" is then sold or lisenced to private enterprise.  Private enterprise pays for this "intellectual property" and uses the knowledge to create new products.  These products are then sold commercially.  When these new products are manufactured (somewhere else) and sold, the owner of the "intellectual property" is paid a lisencing fee.

      The "intellectual property" is generally warehoused in jurisdictions that do not tax revenues and Cayman is an ideal place for warehousing this type of "intellectual property".  These types of "intellectual property" warehouses require staff (usually some very bright people) to properly manage the lisencing of said property.

      I hope this answers your inquiry.  This project makes a lot of sense for Cayman because there are very few "tax free" jurisdictions in this time zone.

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

         Finally some-one has explained how this works! Thanks!

      • Anonymous says:

        Bravo, makes sense, CNS should embed this response in any upcoming related article…

  22. Anonymous says:

    again this is not news…it's just another soon come story…… i guarantee that construction will not begin in early 2012…..

  23. Anonymous says:

    Excellent project! Good job!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Now if they would only remove duty from computers so every home can have one, that would be pro-tech.