MLA says Cayman Brac economy not sustainable

| 06/08/2011

(CNS): Sister Islands PPM representative Moses Kirkconnell has said that Cayman Brac’s economy is not growing in a sustainable way and programmes must be implemented to assist in making the island's economy more sustainable. The First Elected Member for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman noted that while Cayman Brac has all the tools it needs to become sustainable, it cannot be so at the moment. He also noted serious issues affecting the island, such as unemployment and the hurt that Hurricane Paloma caused to the island’s tourism product.

Comparing the two Sister Islands, Kirkconnell noted that Little Cayman is doing very well, with some employment being created there due to various construction projects, their hotels being at high occupancy and the fact that the island’s tourism product has grown because it did not suffer as badly in Hurricane Paloma as Cayman Brac. He also noted that employment on Little Cayman is “as good or better” than it was in 2010.

However, the MLA noted that Cayman Brac’s economy is down and that that, in theory, all the tourist properties on the island were “completely wiped out” after Hurricane Paloma in November 2008. As a result, he said, the tourism properties had to reintroduce themselves, and while they have done consistently better from shortly after Paloma to today, they still “have a ways to go”. He noted that the island’s tourist properties have a lot of inventory available and that they were discounting prices to attract guests.

“I feel that the tourist aspect [of Cayman Brac] after Paloma has stabilised and has done as much as it can do, but there are no new properties coming online so there is going to be very little new job creation from our tourism properties,” said Kirkconnell. “There is plenty of inventory from the tourism properties to sell and we need to continue to work on this. Hopefully, we can do this with more help from the Department of Tourism and a bigger budget from them.”

Speaking about the Cayman Airways direct flight to Cayman Brac from Miami, he said it is deemed an important part of Cayman Brac’s tourism product and that it gives the island a competitive advantage in tourism. He noted that people want to travel directly to their destination and if that was not possible, they would want their destination to be as accessible as possible. Furthermore, he said that Cayman Airways has been asked to look into providing another direct flight to Cayman Brac, perhaps from Tampa.

Kirkconnell said there is a lot of unemployment in Cayman Brac and that there are few employment options on the island, particularly for returning college graduates and high school leavers. While government’s 2011-2012 budget was strong and would continue to fund services on the island, it could not grow new jobs. With this a reality, he hoped that the private sector could step up to the plate and provide jobs and that government could relocate some of their mid-range jobs to the island.

“We have all the things that are needed for a good quality life on Cayman Brac,” said Kirkconnell, noting the good infrastructure on the island. “But what he don’t have on island are jobs and with government now moving into their new accommodation building [on Grand Cayman], they could look at bringing jobs in the Economic Statistics Office or back office accounting work that does not have to necessarily be done in Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac.”

Kirkconnell indicated that he agreed with a cruise ship port being built on the island. However, he said that the island would work best with small cruise ships coming in with 400 or less people on board that would like to visit “remote and unique” islands such as Cayman Brac. In regardsto cruise ships coming to Little Cayman, he said that Little Cayman’s population has indicated that they do not want or need cruise ships. However, he noted that the development of a cruise ship port on Cayman Brac would take up to a minimum of 5-6 years.

“Cruise ships are not going to go away, said Kirkconnell. “We are in the route that they take in the Western Caribbean so we should definitely look at it. However, it is something that is not going to be a short-term stimulus for Cayman Brac.”

In regards to his time in office from 2009, he said “I’ve worked hard. I’m satisfied with the effort and my thoughts are always with Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. I try to use all the tools I have at my disposal and I believe that I have done a good job.”

16-year-old Joshua Dilbert isa CNS summer intern.

Related article: Cayman Brac economy, a viewpoint by Linton Tibbetts.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Someone please explain to me why a private driveway on Cayman Brac has recently been paved? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    In my opinion I think incentives should be offered to people who can contribute to the economy. People that can't support themselves should not be allowed to stay . People that have enough income to buy land and build a home out of pocket brings pure money to the economy without burden to goverment. So I think they should be given  permanent residence at least to assure them protection of there investment.

  3. MER says:

    These people are PAID, and big bucks too, to bring about progression within the Cayman islands, why is it that when they FINALLY do their jobs everyone gets so delighted that they forget one tiny detail, it's their JOB! This is why WE hire them, no wonder when a politician gets elected we have to run about complaining that nothing is getting done, we do not seem to expect much from them so if they do nothing we say nothing because we expect nothing, if they do a little something it's hands in the air and they're labelled "God"! That is why McKeeva is getting in over and over again, he does enough to "get by" in Cayman politics! Raise your political standards people!

  4. CaymanQT says:

    Cayman Brac's wealth lies in its environment.  What has been squandered on other island destinations has not yet been destroyed here.    We need proper planning rather than rampant unrestricted development.   Eco-tourism can bring many jobs to  educated Brackers, including high tech and IT jobs.   Nature education is a wide-open field.   Construction and destruction (clearing) of our land does not employ Caymanians.  Let's opt for healthy development that will pay off in skilled and professional employment for  Caymanian high school graduates and returnees from college.

  5. Paradise Lost says:

    Why must every discussion break down into a pi$$ing match between UDP and PPM?  Helping Cayman and Caymanians is not a UDP or a PPM issue it should be a Caymanian issue.  Pitiful partisan politics will benefit no man.  Cayman should be better than this.   



  6. truth says:

    What in Grand Cayman Government is sustainable?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr Kirkonnell, please lobby for incentives to be given to investors and developers like it has been done in Grand Cayman.- eg: Dart agroup, the IT Park etc. That will create employment.

    As it stands now, the Government by itself cannot do everything to provide employment and build the infra structure.

    So the bottom line is that the business people on the Brac have to openly welcome and give some control to  business investors thereby also helping their businesses too. Right now the general feeling is that it is not happening.

    Best wishes in your efforts Sir.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mon, 08/08/2011 – 06:50 –  If anything, our Telephone infastructor (LIME atleast) is the only service ready for any development on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

    The countries that are excelling in the creation of code-related intellectual property  are located where the cost and speed of the internet supports this industry. A graphical analysis is provide here:-

    Below are  few comparisons to consider

    Cost of internet access.

    Finland – $2.77 per 1mbps with broadband speed of 22mbps

    Korea – $0.45 per 1mbps with broadband speed of 46mbps

    Japan – $0.27 per 1mbps with broadband speed of 61mbps

    Cayman – $13 per 1mbps with broadband speed of 8 mbps

    We need high-speed internet at an affordable to support a software development industry in Cayman Brac. Similarly, this would be needed to support any viable back office or call service industry.  If we could bring the cost down (and to speed up) to be in line with Finland…..  Well!  now we’re talking! What a boom time Cayman Brac would see!

    • Anonymous says:

      The price and speed of the internet is the same in all three islands.  With the high price in Cayman, it makes you question how those guys from Dubai that are promoting Enterprise City in Cayman think their idea will really work?

      • Anonymous says:

        don't ask awkward questions!

      • tim ridley says:

        Yes indeed. And equally when those who might go to the SEZ do the budget for their electricity costs…..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Brac will never be able to sustain everyone who is born there.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have always said that POLITICIANS should be more than a PE teacher and no experience in Business. A good Politician is usually a good experiencrd Business man such as Capt Mose. Now a days everyone wants to get in the ring because there are big bucks to be made. It dosent  matter where the money comes from for the campaign as long as they can get some. This is so unfair to us the Public. Then dont mention when they get there those of us who had sense and did not support them all suffer. These XXXX people are not the people to run the Island. Where there is no VISION the people suffer. Then when the calculate how long they need to be in in order to get a good fat pension is a criminal act. Lets hope that some of the good ole business minded Bracers  will return home and throw in their towels for the next Election. We are tired of and embarrased, especially of the VINDICTIVNESS.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As a long term visitor and home owner on the Brac my only comment is this: Why has Mr. Bush not fulfilled his promise, made well over a year ago, that he would take action to sort out the dreadful situation at Divi Tiara?. Here you have what could arguably be one of the best hotel sites in the Caribbean!!!, Divi still use a photo of Tiara on their main page on the net!!, it's crying out for re-development. All the hot air that's been blowing around the Brac over the last few years, about huge Hotels, golf courses, spa's etc. etc. all due to start "very soon", and then nothing happens!!. Well at Divithe site is there!!!!. Now that building regulations are being more strictly followed a new resort would stand up to storms more effectively, but more importantly it  would employ 30, 40 or 50 people and bring revenue into the Island, I'm sure Divi kept there money in the States!!!. That's just my take on one aspect of the situation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac is going to jump on that just after he fulfils his promise to take a 20% pay cut.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right about Divi, get something happening.  But as a home owner I am just so tired of having to maintain guttering, clean my cistern, my pump, then still have to buy drinking water because the cistern is not too clean to allow my family to drink the water that was clean before it came to my house. Electricity to run my pump. Julie and Moses need to get together to allow the piped water to get to people's homes. In fact, my support is going to be with whoever gets piped water here.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is is relatively no unemployment in Cayman Brac. There are school leavers who want jobs however this has never really been available in the Brac – they are inexperienced and it has always been the case that they do not find employment here. What is Mr. Kirkconnel saying that someone should just keep opening businesses to hire these graduates each year. I thought that that was the whole idea of the UCCI campus here that these graduates would attend university here and not have to travel to grand cayman or overseas and then after qualifying seek employment. Most of these graduates want to dictate to the few employers here when they can work and this just is not feasible in Cayman Brac. Why dont we see how many of these Caymanians that are unemployed does Mr. Kirkconnel have working in his businesses or he would hire to work in his businesses – his statement about unemployment is just plain untrue.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don't know him because if you did, you would know that he hires people to do little jobs and pays them for it.  They are all Caymanians that don't have jobs.

      I don't see the other elected official doing this? Well, she does pay them, through social services but that's a different story.


  13. Anon says:

    Two questions

    1) How many Bracers are unemployed?

    2)How many work permit holders are there?

    I think we need an education/retraining program.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sir, the development that is required to keep CB growing is not happening. We have LIME instaling a 4G network, we have the power & light doing a good job but where is the Water Authority with piped water. Look at North Side in Cayman after mains water was installed, it is flowing with residential and commercial development; no water on the Brac = slow/no development. Press to have water throughout the Island, we need it desperately.

  15. Young Bracker says:

    I am Caymanian and I live and work in the Brac.  I was truly a UDP supporter for the past few years.  However, the PPM last term seems to be a joyful period when compared with this term UDP government run.  

    Lord, have mercy on us.  We need mercy today and forever.  A new government or at least a change in the runnings (how things are run) is needed badly!  Amen.


    • Anonymous says:

      And from your statement above you seem to be employed so what exactly are you complaining about the UDP government for. What is now not joyful for you.

  16. anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands (all of them) do not have a Sustainable Economy!! We do not have natural resources( other than a beach here or there) nor a truly local economy. Simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a worldwide irony, friend. Europe has far less natural resources than Africa, but they enjoys a stronger economy. Same goes for the US and Canada as well as Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. It's not about how much you have, but how well you manage and sell it.

  17. 4th CLASS CITIZEN says:

    Things will get better if they get rid of Juliana who follows every direction of Mac. She is not very bright but she is Mac's puppet.

  18. Anonymous says:

    High speed internet access at an affordable cost is woefully absent from the infrastructure of the Brac (and Little Cayman).  We cannot begin to attract back-office services to the Brac without this.  Also, UCCI could try to establish a nexus with CalTech, or other highly respected instituion, to teach our young peole how to write code for which there is an ongoing and enormous demand.  This too would require high speed internet access.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the powers that be can't control it, they don't want it.

    • Anonymous says:

      JuJu's travel buget could fund free Internet.  If Julianna would stay home and help her people, instead of traveling all over the world and making us pay for her first class trips for at least 2 (usually more tag alongs)  we could fund free Internet for several years to get a high-tech job market going.

      Remember she is making us pay all the expenses for her bodyguard to go on all these trips too.  First class plane fares, hotels, food, taxis ….. Oh, and we even pay to provide them accommodations when she is at home in the Brac.

      Every trip is a lost opportunity for a Caymanian to get a job.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to Laugh at this one.  We have the same internet access (and soon 4G) available on the sister islands as available in Grand Cayman at the same price!!  If anything, our Telephone infastructor (LIME atleast) is the only service ready for any development on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are still the best of these three islands, keep it protected from becoming a concrete jungle.  Mass development is never good, it will change your way of life forever and once the tranquality is gone you can't get it back.  If development is necessary just do what is necessary and remember future generations.

  20. MER says:

    Nice article, AND just in time for elections too!! MLA's are built with campaign timers! This (maybe its just me) is the first public statement I've seen published from this man since election!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Dont worry BLUE EYE BOY as you are affectionately called by the little bare footed girl, you will be the first elected for Cayman Brac again. Somebody will cry again.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Brac economy is stagnated big time.  I have a few suggestions as well: 1. Water Authority have been here so many years and yet there is still no piped water anywhere except West End.  That is not acceptable. 2. The shipping company is another thing.  They either need competition or we need a better dock.   We have had a barge coming here for many years and when there is bad weather we can't get our groceries.  3. Another recommendation is that the merchants get together and get a cargo flight.  These prices we pay for food is ridiculous. 4. The television company needs competition too.  A few channells and two drops of rain and you have a blank t.v. but they won't give you a break on your bill.

    BTW, Mr. Moses shop is one of the most reasonable ones on the island so it's stupid to knock him for that.  The way I see it, he must be losing money there.

    One thing is for sure we have many people out of work now and it's very hard to get a job.  Things have to change.  My sons will be going away to college and then what?  There won't be jobs for them here when they come back.

    Thanks Mr. Moses for what you have done.  I know for a fact that you are very passionate about helping the Sister Islands.

    Juju what have you done?  How about the changing the Hurricane Hilton to a school?  What about the unfinished sports field?  A nice covered bleacher and some lights not operated by a generator would be nice.  Instead of buying the Daycare some shade for outside, you bought them toys.  

    CNS: Has the daycare got their covering yet?  

  23. Anonymous says:

    I have lived in Cayman Brac for many years and have seen some real progress made during the years when Mr. Kirkconnell was the MLA. During the time I have been here I saw tourism increase, and UCCI come to the Brac and the the start of Brac beautification project
    and the football field was completed so our children could have a good sports program.
    The news article shows the concerns and vision of a good MLA!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    He has done so much for this island.  When he had support from the government (before the UDP dictatorship days) we were really coming ahead.  He brought UCCI, and a branch of the Investment Bureau and a branch of the Development Bank and built a Daycare Center and added a hospital wing to the Aston Rutty Center …… and the list goes on.

    Thank you Mr. Kirkconnell for all you do, but mostly thank you for being a good role model for my son and his friends. 

  25. Anonymous says:

    The Brac economy should be a top priority for the party in power – UDP, but unfortunately they are wasting money on a hurricane shelter we don't need and paving private driveways.  I applaud Mr. Kirkconnell for speaking out.  I hope this shines the spotlight on how poorly our Minister (Julie) is handling our issues.  She doesn't care about us, just about getting votes for herself for the next election.

    When Mr. Kirkconnell's party was in power there was a lot of progress in the BRAC, oh I wish for those days back.  I remember when we were building affordable homes for families in need.  We need Mr. Kirkconnell to be in charge again.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Kirkconnell is a good man.  My family and I are thankful for all that he does for the people of Cayman Brac.  We are especially appreciative of his hard work to bring a UCCI campus to Cayman Brac.  No previous MLAs… NOT Ms. Julie, NOT Lindon, no one else was able to make that happen.  It allowed my niece and cousin to further their educations.

    He was also the man that finally got CAL to put in the direct flight from Miami…. thank you, Mr. Moses!  We are behind you all the way.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The sooner Cayman, AS A WHOLE, gets together as one, the better.


    It doesn't matter if you're 8th generation Caymanian, expat, Christian, Muslim, White, Black, Gay or Straight.

    Lets stop the division, labelling, finger pointing and gossiping.


    We all live here and enjoy living here, we need to come together as one and forget what divides us and build this country for the next generation and their children.


    This is a cry to battle, a battle against crime, a battle against job loss, a battle for our childrens education, a battle for our environment, and a battle for our economy.

    Tomorrow, why don't you start by saying "Good Morning, I hope you have a great day" to a stranger. Pass some kindness on, help someone.

    Remember, what goes around comes around!!!

  28. Cayman Brac Investor says:

    Now I'm really worried.

    If the kirkconnell's and Tibbett's are complaining of the problems on the Brac-things must be really bad.

    I love Cayman Brac and hope to make this my home one day.  If this "war" on economics does not pan out soon, WOW! Sorry that's all I can say, wow!


  29. Anonymous says:

    Moses # 1 will always be GO MOSE GO MOSE

  30. Jab-Jab says:

    Well done Joshua on your article(s) it was well written and we encourage you to write many more and explore the vast subject of journalism. Thank You CNS for helping to encourage a young Caymanian to explore the profession of journalism.

  31. PEEVED BRACKA says:

    Obviously the poster's of the comments at 14:20 and 14:47, don't live on the Brac.  Because if you did you'd swallow those shallow comments about our 1st Elected Member.

    I personally know of not one but many, many occassions when he has helped people that are out of work and can't provide for their families.  He continually helps any service club or organization that calls on him without so much sometimes as a thank you to him.  He is the one that will sit and talk with the people of Cyaman Brac and actually acknowledges that there are issues and tries to help.  But unfortunately he has little power and the one person who has all the power to do something for Cayman Brac; does nothing, does not listen to her people and does projects that at times seem contrite and a huge waste of money.  

    It'll be a sad day when you see she comes looking for votes for 2013 because I can safely say there won't be none from me or my family.  I have very little faith in her now and am shamed to say that I put an x for her, I thought she was a "for the people lady", guess I was wrong!!  Once bitten, twice shy…because it sure won't happen again!

    And great Job on your reporting, Joshua!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      "He has little power" That is the most ridiculous statement on this board and the esteemed MLA would be the first to disagree with you. Just ask any other elected member. The Kirkconnells control the Brac. Period. And a good percentage of Cayman. Stop being silly please.

      • Anonymous says:

        You must not understand how UDP politics works.  For your education, Ms. Julie is the Minister for Distict Admin, and the Minister for Works …. so she controls the budget for EVERYTHING in the Sister Islands! 

      • Anonymous says:

        There's a certain attitude and theme to this poster's comments that reeks of bitterness.  Wonder if this is someone who might have lost an election.  He certainly doesn't help what's left of his credibility by bad mouthing the First Elected Member.  Brackers know who's been there for us, who has the intelligence to deal with our challenges, and who we can truly count on in time of need.  We need more public servants like Mr. Kirkconnell in office and fewer self-serving politicians.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Since 2009 what would you say are your greatest contributions to the Sister Islands Mr. Kirkconnell?

    Perhaps I am obtuse but I read nothing newsworthy here.

    It5 would have been nice if this MLA would have shared his concerns about the huge governmental hurricane project prior to its building.

    Perhaps the money could have been redirected to more worthier causes.

  33. Anonymous says:

    You have had your chance to make a difference on Cayman Brac and in my opinion, you have totally blown it. I hope that the people of this precious island wake up to that fact. No one is better off except perhaps you. SMH

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you made a difference in Cayman Brac? Or did you only help yourself as you accuse Mr. Kirkconnell of doing?

      One easy example of the good Mr Kirkconnell did is the Daycare facility, do you think he has any kids to attend Daycare?

      Another is the Ann Tatum ramp/road. You know that does not benefit him. It was something the Eastern districts were waiting on for years. But even when both MLAs were from the same party and also from the Eastern districts nothing was done. In fact now that I think about very little was done at all in Cayman Brac between 2000 and 2005.

      Remember not matter how many times you repeat a lie it stills remains a lie and the person who spoke it a liar.

      • Anonymous says:

        .0.0000000001% of 100 is not much.

      • Anonymous says:

        The difference I am making is opening the eyes of the people to the massive injustice that they suffer under the rule of these dictators who on a democratic platform promise change and deliver pain.

        Good night!

        • Anonymous says:

          You are right you did open a lot of eyes just maybe not in the way you think.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Moses, so you’ve “worked hard,” have you? Your people are punishing with the exorbitant cost of living, you make a profit on almost every cent that they spend and you are ,”working hard”.
    Yes, sir. You are working hard, for yourself. Come on Brackers, wake up!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are too funny, do you really think business people should not make a profit? Don't worry Brackers awoke in 2005 and were even more awake in 2009 by 2013 we should all be wide awake……

      • Anonymous says:

        I was not intending to be funny. Are you family to this man? As he lives in his ivory tower on the bluff, most of his constituents are suffering under the harshness of the economic climate. Business people should make a profit, yes, but don't crush the simple, humble working man under your powerful fist.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not family in any way and I am from all the way in Spot Bay.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sounds like sour grapes to me are you a wannabe MLA? or a ex MLA? by chance?

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the suggestion of a business class at UCCI campus on the Brac is a good one, but a quick search the internet should enable you to understand that not every business can operate on the same model as JuJu's Free Paving Enterprise.

    • Sleepless in Savannah says:

      Andif he closes down his businesses do you think that will improve the Brac economy? Go take a business class at UCCI, nuh!


  35. Anonymous says:

    Well done Joshua.

    Thanks Mr. Kirkconnell for all of your hard work. A special thanks for arranging the CAL direct flight from Miami to Cayman Brac. Regardless of who may try to claim credit for this flight and the many others things that you have done Brackers know the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and someone has to pay for these empty planes to fly. Don't worry, the people in Grand Cayman will subsidize your shopping trips.How dare you? How DARE you? 

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry about that, we know that each and every CAL  to and from Grand Cayman is always full.

        • Kill CAL says:

          So we are all agreed, lets get rid of CAL aka Cayman scareways.

          • Anonymous says:

            What ignorance. I feel a lot safer travelling on Cayman Airways than American or the US carriers. It has served this Islands well and will continue to do so.

  36. BracFan says:

    Thank you MLA Kirkconnell.  Very well written.   Let's all pull together for the Brac.