Time for a Minister of Financial Services

| 22/11/2008

(CNS): The suggestion that Cayman should have an elected Cabinet member responsible for and devoted to the financial services industry has found traction and support among leaders in the private sector and local media and also in certain political circles  outside Government.

 

So it is time to add some flesh to the bones of the idea.

It bears repeating that the financial services industry is critical to Cayman’s continuing economic success. And that the industry is under serious assault and challenges from various outside sources. For the Islands therefore not to devote much more focus, energy and resources (both human and financial) to the defence, wellbeing, nurturing and promotion of this cash cow is surprising and disappointing. After all, many Government programmes and projects will be very impaired if the revenues from the industry are not there to fund them.

To bring the necessary focus and produce the necessary action and good outcomes, a new approach should be taken. But first, it is important to appreciate that financial services are not the same as the fiscal policy and finances of the Islands. They require different talents and a different approach.

So, the Portfolio of Finance and Economics (PFE) under the Financial Secretary (ex officio Cabinet member) should remain in place and continue be responsible for the fiscal policies, budgeting and revenue and expenditures etc of the Islands (and government companies and statutory authorities). That is more than a full time job for the Portfolio, as can be seen from the continuing issues with securing current and accurate accounts for the Islands as a whole (it is noteworthy that there has been no published Annual Report for the Islands since 2005).

A brand new Ministry or Department of Financial Services should be established and properly structured, resourced and staffed and report to the elected Minister of Financial Services who will carry the flag for the industry at Cabinet meetings and elsewhere and have a vested political interest in its success. Those officers and staff in the PFE who currently deal with financial services matters (there are remarkably few), including the Secretariat and the Communications division should transfer to the new Ministry/Department. Clearly, greatly increased resources will be needed than at present to deal effectively with the local legislative needs, the international initiatives, the competitive challenges and the defence and promotion of the financial services industry.

It is not difficult to identify what is needed structurally (the Government has a long history of rejigging Cabinet descriptions and responsibilities to suit the times) for the long term good of the Islands and it need not wait upon any constitutional change, but is there the political will to make it happen?   

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a few questions to ask the Caymanian Public and the PPM Government below !!!!

    We have a very brilliant man amongst us in (Mr. Tim Ridley) who is trying to think outside the box and prepare us to ride out this "Financial Storm" that will likely hit us with a force similar to Hurricane Ivan, bearing in mind all that is going on the US, UK and other parts of Europe, in relation planned pressures to be leveled against offshore financial centres etc etc…

    Tell me though, WHERE IS MR. ALDEN MCLAUGHLIN COUSIN, CARLYLE MCLAUGHLIN, THE NEW DIRECTOR OF THE MONETARY AUTHORITY ???? WHY HAVE HE GONE SILENT AT A TIME LIKE THIS????? WHERE IS HE I ASK ????

    Why is it that I’m reading so much important information from Mr. Tim Ridley to address these future problems but not hearing "NOTHING, NADA, ZIP" from the new chief of the Monetary Authority whom was duly selected and "Ushered In" by the PPM Government ????

    There is no way all this type of B_ _ _  S_ _ _ that is happening in the Cayman Islands today, would ever happen under McKeeva Bush as our Leader of Government Business. NO WAY JOSE, NO WAY I SAY !!!!!!!!

  2. Appletosh says:

    Sorry for a dumb question, but I really can’t get, what BIG is?…

  3. Anonymous says:

    This Government has more important things to worry about than protecting the industry which underpins the economy of this country.  Important things such as protecting the Cayman Islands from homosexuals who are apparently the single biggest threat to the people.

    The failure of the government to show any proactive talent whatsoever in the financial services industry is jeopardizing the long-term future of the islands  The PPM have increased the costs of working here and have slowly weakened the quality of the work-force and the Cayman product.  When job retraction occurs in the coming months this will only worsen.  Spend a few nights in Nassau and see where the PPM is leading us.  Many good workers on GC think that it is already too late, I know that many resumes are being typed up at the moment.

  4. Gailya says:
    There is no better or more appropriate time than the present.  The Global impact on Cayman is beginning to be felt but will increase in the next quarter and year and we need to be prepared to not only be aggressive but defensive of our positioning in this new economic scenario.
     
    It is time that the emphasis is placed where the monetary support originates–Tourism and Financial Services.  The cabinet will need major restructuring if it is to meet the needs of the future and the suitable persons must be wisely chosen to see us thru these tumultuous times. 
  5. Anonymous says:

     

    Well said Mr Ridley,

     

    Right now it looks like it is a free for all ,

     Do we really have to ask where is Cayman  Going ?

     

    The old people have a saying !the get up and go has gotten up and Gone!

     

    When will we wake up and see what is happening around here! Do we have another Nigeria on our hands? maybe we should change our name from the Cayman islands to Little Nigeria, with all the plundering that is going on here it is most fitting.

     

     The Ritch get Richer and the Poor get Poorer!!!

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. To an elected member with responsibility for Financial Services in the Cayman Islands. One only has to think back to November 2000 and May 2005 to see what quality of financial wizards were elected. Thank God we have a FS who cannot be swayed by every wind or foe.

      When elected Politicians can think straight on their feet without outside, BIG DOLLAR, influences  then we may want to amend our constitution to have MOF and a MO Security put in place. 

      The People Cayman need to elect are people with a backbone and a Fidel CASTRO’s management style.