Government fails business

| 27/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Cayman Chamber of Commerce(CNS): A Chamber of Commerce survey has revealed that almost 58% of local businesses believe the government has not become any more responsive to the needs of the business community in the past 6 months. Participants in the survey also said the main constraint to business growth was labour, including recruitment, work permit fees and wages. Despite the major concerns over crime, respondents cited the country’s business climate, fiscal management of the economy and education above public safety as areas of most concern. Although firms said they remain optimistic about the future, government’s planning for growth and the quality of the civil service were rated poorly.

Almost everyone who took part in the survey, which was distributed in March, said the local economy had got worse over the last 12 months and did not expect it to improve over the next twelve. 94% of respondents said they believe Cayman is still in the midst of an economic recession.
The most common reaction to the recession for business was to decrease prices and reduce staff. 72.9% of businesses reported no increase in profits in 2009 and most had lost revenue. More than half those surveyed said they did not feel that revenue would increase in 2010 and 72% of businesses plan to reduce (or continue to reduce) costs in 2010.
Of the businesses that said they compete or operate in other countries, 89% find that the Cayman Islands’ duties and fees are higher than competitor jurisdictions and almost half said the Cayman Islands are ‘less attractive than competitors’ when it comes to the regulatory environment.
When it came to government assisting business, 57.9% believe it has not become more responsive to the needs of the business community in the past 6 months.
Looking to the future, local businesses listed medical tourism as the best hope for diversifying the economy, followed by overnight cruise ship berthing, then eco-tourism. Only a handful of people surveyed said they felt the country’s future prospects were excellent, while around two thirds said the economic prospects were poor to fair and just under 80 of the people who took part said the prospects were good.
Two hundred and eight Chamber members responded to the survey, 65% of which were CEOs from a cross section of industry sectors and small businesses.
“The council wanted to connect with the Chamber membership ‘on the ground’ and find out how they were coping with the challenges resulting from the economic flat line,” said Stuart Bostock, Chamber president. “We knew the results from this survey would help determine the level of confidence that local businesses have in Cayman’s economy and the importance they placed on certain constraints and opportunities as we reach for a more stable economic future.”
He explained that the results would be used to inform the organisation’s plans for a national economic forum, ‘The Future of Cayman’.
“We have begun discussions with Cayman’s private associations and government departments so that all community sectors are represented. Working as a holistic group we are confident that we will be able to identify three or four key economic pillars and develop an effective strategic plan for their implementation,” Bostock added.
Chamber CEO Wil Pineau pointed out that the fees were a problem for business but he believed the results showed some optimism. “The survey results show that business operating fees are a main constraint for most businesses and almost 100% of businesses feel we are still in an economic recession. The good news is there is still a level of optimism from local business owners as 87.9% rated their level of confidence in the future of the Cayman Islands as fair to excellent,” said Chamber CEO Wil Pineau.
Results will be posted on the Chamber’s website and released in the upcoming issue of the CHAMBER quarterly review magazine.
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  1. FUZZY says:

    Bo Miller ,where are you ? Eddie Thompson ,where are you?It sure would be nice to hear from some of the candidates from the last election as they had some good ideas .Please guys don’t wait until election time we need to hear from you now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As an expat I realize there is very little realistically I can do to influence a direction for Cayman and so choose to live ignorant for the most part of what politically is going on, – with this I’m happy.  At the same I realize when it no longer makes sense for us to be here I can leave and find somewhere else, employment, home etc. – However it saddens me to know the vast majority of Caymanians are not able to fulfill that option. Be careful to understand, being truely honest in your self motivation.   

  3. soon come. says:

    Who besides those who are on the Governments payroll have not been failed by Government?  So Who does Government really represent?  THE people?  Or ITS people? It is sooooo obvious.  ITS people play while THE people pay and pay and soon pay more.

    Cayman Government is like a virus living off its host.  Cayman is getting sicker by the day while the virus gets stronger.  If not for medicine in the form of loans the island would be in a coma already.  The medicine will soon run out and then the Virus will feed only on the host.


    • Anonymous says:

      WE ARE THE GOVT.; it is simply that WE have chosen the wrong Govt./Govts. over the years. It is time we realize that in a  Democracy (which we may not be for much longer), WE are (supposed to be) the Govt..

      • SOON GONE says:

        Most of the people who are contributing the most to governments purse can not vote and have no say in how the money is spent.  If all the expats on permits, the retirees with homes here, and the people who have their money in Caymans financial system could vote I doubt they would let their money be spent on something that gives nothing to them in return.  Namely the turtle farm, Cayman airways, Bloated Civil service welfare system and overly payed and compensated but incompetent leadership.  It may be a Democracy for Caymanians butit is a Banana republic dictatorship to expats and businesses.

      • Anonymous says:

        It would be nice if the present Government would admit that they have failed and cannot handle things and step down.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Government continues to be mainly interested in its own health,
    while ignoring the health of the private sector which is its only support.

    Is there something wrong with this picture?

    Does Government understand what will happen to it if the private
    sector crumbles and its income disappears?

    Assuming that it does understand this, then why does it
    continue to delay meaningful action?

    Clearly, Government must substantially reduce
    its load on private business.

    And to allow business to recover, it must immediately cease
    its interference in, and micro management of, business employment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As one of the few making a step and acyually opening a new business -Within 6 month we had to change the plan and budget so many times that 3 month before "launch" the initial investment increased more then 16% adjusting to local "politics". On monday a 25% fee increase for building is put in place – no chance to get anywhere if you are a small business owner !

  6. Marek says:

    I will say this, any permits we’ve put before immigration have been dealt with in a matter of days.

    I am encouraged by many of the comments made here, about looking ahead and adapting to the exciting changes coming to our islands.


  7. Anonymous says:

    All good things must come to an end.  Unfortunately for Cayman that time has come now. 

    It’s been a great ride but I am now destined for another land.

    Abu Dhabi here I come!


    Thank You so much Cayman and especially the girls at Sunset House.

  8. Anonymous says:

     I am so sick and tired of reading about these politicians we have running OUR country. The sun does not revolve around them. The less they do is better.The only hope of saving this country is through employers and employees, the government should get the hell out of the way.It is time to speak UP!!!

  9. noname says:

    You managed to kill my business, doors closing after 5 years, thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      So sorry to hear this has happened to your business. Details, please.

    • Anonymous says:

      I empathise with you as I too have suffered. But surely you refer to the Government present and past as, though I am anti-both/all, I don’t consider that the present Govt. is the only one responsible for the present conitions. The reality is that this state of affairs is due to the decisions of the past many Govts.. In fact, the reason we have been saddled with the present incompetent Govt. is because we rejected the previous Govt. which was seen as unsatisfactory.

      It is time for the Govt. (which is basically "we the people") and the Chamber to recognize that we are taxing the wrong base. We must either revert to where we were before The Turtle Farm/Boatswain’s Beach, and Cayman Airways, so as to reduce the losses, reduce the Civil Service, and stop building more roads & schools, OR FIND MORE REVENUE. Since I know that we will (and perhaps cannot) do any or all of the cost-cuttingmeasures,  we must recognize that if we continue to tax the smallest base for the greatest amount, we will be a haven only for name plate companies to save on their taxes.and absolutely destroy the people and utimately the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are not alone for as this Govt destroyed my business and is the cause of more Caymanians being out of work. Govt. and immigration is running private sector business and this is the root of our problem.

      Increased unemployment – this is what Govt is responsible for as they have no clue of how the real world in the private sector works.

  10. Kent says:

    New industry is the way out!  As noted in the article there is much hope for the new hospital to bring new life into Caymans economy.  I fully agree with this view.  We are seeing a paradigm shift, and we need to recgonize that leaning on the same industries to support our standard of living is not going to cut it.  We need to make ourselves attractive globally.  We need to not put limits on what we can achieve.  Who is to say we can’t be a technical mecca? We have one of the highest Blackberry saturations in the world! Who is to say we can’t be a major sporting destination? We are perfect for off shore racing, we have only touched on the potential of Kenny Rankin’s Jet around Cayman.  Bob Daigle has started putting Cayman on the map in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (which is the fastest growing sport in the world).  Why can we not have a PGA event here? I could go on and on, the truth is that we are only limited to what we think is our limits are.  If we make ourselves attractive to new industry, we can make security for our citizens that goes beyond today, tomorrow or next year.  We can give our children’s childrens the gift of security.  We just need to take the bull by the horns today.

  11. Kent says:

    Open your ears and listen!  The information that is in this breif article is invaluable.  It says volumes.  I believe that even as deaf as our government seems to be, they have got to hear and understand that the people involved in this survey are the real heart and soul of Cayman’s economy.  The Government needs to assist the private with vigor to bolster or even increase the confidance that these business leader have in our future.  Their outlook is essential to the duration of our recession.  If they have a government that is willing to help (instead of hinder) in these stages, I am very confident that the contraction of labor and expendatures will be far less than they have been and will be if they continue to be squeezed by the bloated had of the CIG.  If they feel confident that they see the light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how small or weak it may be, you will see them making preperations to take advantage of the upturn. 

    I guess at the core of what I am saying is that the Government needs to work with the private sector in was never seen before inorder for us to bein control of our future, rather than us floating which ever way the wind and currents push us in this global economic storm.


  12. Anonymous says:

    You have to be reading this Mac…lower the permit fees to start, cut the redundancy in the Civil Service please…

    • Wally says:


      I am no JFK. Want to know what Mac and our government is doing for me, including the PPM and civil service. Sick of hearing about rich people and deals with big this and that. What are you doing for the Caymanians!
      Remember we vote and when we do sometimes, all the money and brains in the world can reverse the outcome of an election.
      Mac, sit, ponder, reflect and remember you have been where we are now on the bones of our …
      What are you going to do for us?
  13. Anonymous says:

     Is it government, or Immigration "policies" or both?

    • Anonymous says:

      Immigration policies are made by government – so they are 1 in the same!

      • Anonymous says:

        Apparently you have NOT been paying attention to the news. Immigration Laws are made by Government. Immigration Policies are made by the Boards. They are quite different, often conflicting. Read the bit about Jamaican Nannies on CNS. But thanks for writing with such certainty.   

        • Anonymous says:

          The immigration boards are supposed to be an extension of government, despite the fact they are freestyling and making the rules up as they go along.

          Business leaders are making it pretty clear that they feel this is an issue that government needs to address. We could sit here all day pontificating and having pathetic arguments over whether the immigration department is or isn’t part of government or not. But at the end of the day. We all pay our fees to one section of the government and expect a degree of services from other sections of government, including immigration.

          When business leaders complain that government is doing a bad job, they do not limit that to any specific section of government but at the public sector in general which is all funded by our fees and charges and is supposed to provide sevrices to and for the "fee payers".

          So thanks for trying to muddy the water but next time get a grip of yourself and stop being a patheticinadequate little eejit.

        • Anonymous says:

          AND WHO APPOINTS THE BOARDS? Government … to carry out the governments position so they cannot blame anyone else. That’s why there’s a huge board turn over at every election.

          Please – one thing is certain – even the decision made administratively immigration will tell you they are just following instructions.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes government appoints the Boards. The change over is to get friends in hoping they will think alike. However, MLA’s don’t sit in meetings and make no decisions at the Board level. In fact, as one Board member told me – "These MLA’s think they can tell us what to do, but that is illegal." So Boards can, and do act on their own. Decisions are based on majority rule and no MLA has a vote.

            If, however, what you are saying is true, then taking the Nanny example, it must mean that Mac, Arden and Cline all told the successive Immigration Boards to implement and follow the policy. Its been ten years. If you are correct, then maybe their recent uniting is really to get rid of the policy because Human Rights is breathing down their necks.

            Time will tell. It always does.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually, the Boards do make their own policies independently of the elected govt. In some cases this is because the govt. has failed to exercise its own powers to make policy and they Board view this as an exercise of their discretion.     

      • Anonymous says:

        You call Immigration, you get a recording, you leave a message… one calls you back.  So what else is new!!!