Immigration policies support an increasing unemployment rate

| 08/08/2012

“I am pleased that the labour market has improved last year, and I expect it to further make progress this year,” Premier McKeeva Bush said recently. After reading the recently released Labour Force Survey Report (Fall 2011) I do not share the premier’s optimistic outlook for the local economy.

In fact, I am increasingly concerned that the  actions taken by the government and the lack of any real visible economic recovery policies and plans has resulted in a bleak outlook for these islands and has created a situation which becomes increasingly difficult to remedy if the current approach to managing the economy is not addressed immediately.

Simply put, a high level of unemployment signals that the economy is operating beneath the production possibilities curve and the economy is not performing at full capacity. This is significant, as suggested by Okuns law, because for every 1% increase in unemployment, real GDP decreases by 2%.

Cayman’s unemployment is largely structural in nature and some local employers are not able to source specific skillsets, training and experience from within the local unemployed labour pool, leaving them with no alternative but to turn to foreign labour in order to meet the demand for labour generated by their individual businesses. In addition to the almost 10% overall unemployment rate, perhaps the most startling statistic revealed in the report is the fact that the unemployment rate for individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 is currently around 20%.

This is alarming, to say the least, because individuals from this group represent high school and university graduates who are the future of these islands and the statistics indicate that for whatever reasons these young people are facing increasing obstacles finding employment. It is also concerning that a significant number of these individuals are ending up in the court system. Twenty years ago high school graduates in Cayman were faced with a multitude of employment and/or educational opportunities to choose from, but the situation today is dramatically different and it is obvious from the survey results that many are graduating with no opportunities ahead of them.

There are also much wider concerns that cannot be ignored. Cayman is in the rather unique position of being able to import labour from outside the country with little difficulty, mainly because work permit fees are a major contributor to government revenues. This imported labour serves to effectively replace, and causes employers to ignore, the local unemployed labour pool, i.e. the approximately 10% overall unemployed Caymanians, allowing the economy to continue to operate boosted by the external labour supply. The 10% unemployed Caymanians then become a cost to the country as they have to rely on government funded social programs to survive and as the importation of labour continues to proceed unchecked, the unemployment rate can only continue to increase.

The irony in this situation is that as government revenues increase from work permit fees, the increased demands on social welfare caused by unemployment will drive up costs faced by the government. The net effect may well be that government revenues are not being effectively channeled into the most appropriate and constructive initiatives. This creates a vicious cycle which becomes increasingly difficult to reverse. Recent examples of where government has spent public funds assisting the unemployed are numerous but unfortunately become increasingly necessary as more Caymanians encounter difficulty obtaining employment.

Ideally government should direct its economic policies towards keeping unemployment amongst Caymanians around 3% or less, and because we are in the unique situation where the majority of our employment force is non-Caymanian, immigration policies play an important role in controlling the rate of unemployment. The ideal strategy therefore would be to tie our immigration policies to our economic policies in order to effectively regulate the supply of non-Caymanian labour. By doing this we will be effectively controlling the level of unemployment. Left unchecked, our rather generous work permit policies will continue to cause an upsurge in local unemployment as the labour force survey has confirmed is the case today.

It is critical that our education efforts and focus for both local and overseas students be crafted to ensure that these missing skills are being addressed via formal education programs and initiatives. It should also be a clear policy that when these skills are available via the local labour supply, priority will be given to sourcing employment for these individuals, and government must be willing to halt or slow the grant of work permits within these specific areas until the local labour pool has been exhausted or the 3% or less limit has been achieved.

The University College must continue to adopt the highest possible standards and begin to offer a diverse curriculum which is crafted based on the needs highlighted by the local labour market and this can be easily achieved by adopting a consultative and cooperative approach with the private sector. It is therefore more effective to offer educational opportunities to prepare students for careers that are in highest demand. For example if the top 5 careers within the private sector are lawyers, accountants, technology engineers, corporate administrators and fund administrators, these need to become the top 5 educational opportunities available to our students. By taking this approach we align the local labour supply with the local demand for labour.

There is some degree of cyclical unemployment, or not enough jobs to go around, which is partly due to the current recessionary conditions, and in many instances a high level of skill and or training is not required for these positions. Government reaction to this must be to seek to reduce the number of work permits within the relevant areas, allowing the local unemployed labour force to become employed and productive. Cyclical unemployment is perhaps the easiest to address, and least costly, and only requires a clear policy and direction when it comes to the granting of work permits in areas where there are qualified but unemployed Caymanians.

Looking forward, Caymanians must accept that for the foreseeable future there will always be a need to hire foreign labour and that we cannot expect to find sufficient Caymanian labour to operate the economy at full capacity given our indigent population level. It is also clear, however, that there is a direct relationship between the level of unemployment and the subsequent negative effect on government costs and the negative impact on the local economy this creates.

Carefully balanced economic and immigration policies can be utilized to achieve the perfect balance between foreign labour and Caymanian labour.  What is required, however, is sensible and responsible management, clear tertiary educational objectives,  less pandering to one group of individuals over the other and adopting a more scientific and analytical approach to managing the economy.

The end result will be a reduced local unemployment rate, higher education and training standards among Caymanians, a stable and united workforce and a much stronger economy and government.

This is not a quick fix approach and the benefits will only become evident in a few years, but it is clear that taking proactive steps now will prevent further increases in unemployment, reduce the burden on government to “look after” unemployed Caymanians, reduce the divide between expats and Caymanians, both socially and economically, and stimulate the local economy by putting disposable income into the hands ofCaymanians without taking it from the government coffers. 

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  1. long term expat says:

    Let's be fair – London, NYC, maybe LA

    require the best of the best in order to compete for most jobs. In the rest of the world you are only competing against the locals in the region where you reside.  Not so for Caymanians – for the lowest paying entry jobs young Caymanians have to compete with applicants from the Phillipeans, Jamaica and Hondoras. For accounting jobs they compete with the huge influx of Canadians, for attorney positions they compete with the UK and all common law countries. The government is not protecting their own in the same way that other governments do because work permit fees are such a big part of the national budget. 

    Anyone who has lived here a while can think of the 'poster child' as to why Caymanian unemployment is high but if they tell you they can't think of a Caymanian with a great education, who would be an asset to any company, who cannot find a job here, they either haven't bothered to get to know Caymanians or they are lying to you. 

    Please, be fair.

  2. Coach Pantusso says:

    As an expat, I read these pathetic self-pitying whinging posts with derision.  For such a small population with an awful education system, Caymanians cannot expect to produce more than a handful of decent lawyers and accounts in any one year, and of those only a few will be top class.  Yet the expectation is that every wannabee lawyer or accountant has what it takes to make it to the top.  Pathetic. 

    Every local makes it at least as far as their talent takes them, and in many cases far beyond that.  The moaning students who thought a poor law degree entitled them to articles with a top firm were a good example of a complete lack of reality in the expectations of the local workforce.  Get a grip.  Get real.  Get grateful.

    Caymanian unemployment is a myth.  There are those who do not want the many jobs available to them, and those that are unemployable by reason of their own decisions to commit crimes or to consume too much drugs or drink.  No Caymanian needs to be unemployed for more than a month.  Yes, you might not get the job your momma told you you would get.  Well wake up and smell the coffee, it is a big bad ugly world out there and you momma lied.

    Do you know what stops places giving Caymanians a chance?  The labor laws.  Once one hires a bad Caymanian worker it is so hard to get rid of them, that in the end one becomes defensive with Caymanian hires and cannot afford to take risks. 

    • Caym'anstaying says:

      I'd stop 'biting the hand the feeds you' Coach Pantusso or you may find yourself returning to your own Country to Coach – Feeding into the Ex-Pat/Cayman divide is an unproductive way to show your gratitude to a Country which has opened it's doors to you – be thankful that you have a job and keep your hateful and misinformed remarks to yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

         It makes a HUGE statement when so many Caymanians are willing to join/support Ex-Pats as a voice AGAINST 'Ex-Pat VAT' (Community Enhancement Tax)., so why don't we try less  of the 'tearing each other down' and appreciate the good instead.

    • Anonymous says:
      • Anonymous says:

        I could not agree more!

        Expats love to belittle Caymanians in our country…no more! I'm tired of expats coming into my country and feeling like they are better than us, or that they automatically deserve the same things we are entitled to. Instead of trying to make Cayman a better place, and encourageus to be a better country (which some expats do) Coach Pantusso wants to put us down for aiming high and wanting our fellow Caymanians to do the best.

    • Anonymous says:

      13: 17


      As a Caymanian, I couldnt agree with you more, you hit the nail right on the head…so damn true.

      I have nieces, nephews,  sisters, and brother, that went off and got their degrees, some stayed here and went back to college and got their degrees.

      Two sisters been on the same job for 35 years. you know why? when the caymanians back then, were saying, you came by plane! i came by pain!. They didnt get envolved, they continue to do their job deligently, and  with pride. ( good attitude)

      Today my sisters  are retired with a hefty retiremnent. The others started from the bottom now they are managers in these same expats companies. old grandma used to say,good manners and attitude will get you far.

      Wakeup you, you are not entitle to nothing! don't you see we have lost that entitlement long time ago, now move on, pretend you are in a big city ( New York)competing with the rest of the job world.

      I have to agree with 13;17 again,  in regards to the labour law, when that was implemented, it  was the ruination of the Cayman islands. it is exteremly bias and only look out for lasy workers.

      By a true born Caymanian, with vision, truth, and common sense.


      • Anonymous says:

        To  true born Caymanian, with vision, truth and common sense.  Thank goodness your sisters did so well, 35 years ago was an entirely different society from today.  Even 7 years ago Cayman was a different place.  I  pray that the same will happen for your children, grand children, nieces and nephews if you have any.   I would advise you to read about the Bantu and Xhosa tribes and I hope that their experiences will give you enough vision, truth and common sense. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well written yes but not stating actual policies. What are your specific suggestions for unemployment? Are you willing to 'educate' foreign workers on the fact that WE are continually told/reminded of the fact that some foreign workers will always be required. That does not mean all expats here should be made to feel they should not  or cannot be replaced.


    We all know that as long as politicians keep stroking the sensitivities of expats and their cries of entitlement they will say, 'Awww he/she is such a nice Caymanian, so articulate and educated'. SO what do you think they say when even more educated and experienced Caymanians stand up for policies or even state opinions, (like I just did)? They call us uneducated, xenophobic etc etc because of their fear of losing their jobs and the fact that some of us can step aside and look at the situation in an objective manner.

    As usual, give the thumb downs because I am asking politicians/essay writers to also say to foreign workers that our policies may have to control their numbers, may have to refuse renewing some work permits. ou know what will happen right? They will tear us down, 10-9-8-7……

    Sad that foreign workers see us in this way and only 'reward' the Caymanians who make statements to 'keep us in our place' for their benefit. Everyday I keep reading the lack of respect for this country and its people and the 'young, edcuated' who want to get somewhere feel it must be at the expense of refusing to be fair to all.


    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians created this and can only blame themselves.   History is only being repeated andto have so many tools available for us to do research in this 21st century and to be so ignorant of the facts is frightening indeed.  Any Society that is unwilling to learn from the past is doomed to repeat  the mistakes of others at a much higher cost.  Caymanians this is nothing new.




  4. Anonymous says:

    "For example if the top 5 careers within the private sector are lawyers, accountants, technology engineers, corporate administrators and fund administrators, these need to become the top 5 educational opportunities available to our students. By taking this approach we align the local labour supply with the local demand for labour."

    That is spot on, but I would add that the business sector needs to inform UCCI (main Caymanian trainer) what is needed in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years.  Since that may or may not happen perhaps immigration could inform UCCI what are the major categories of employment (top 5 possibly).  UCCI then should spend 90% of their time training for those.  One issue with UCCI is that they try and be everythign to everyone, and in a small setting that can not work.



  5. Anonymous says:

    We import poverty just as the USA outsources jobs to China. In the private sector, competition demands that companies use the cheapest labour and lowest cost of production in order to enhance profits and stay competitive. Wal-Mart shelves are loaded with goods all from China because they cannot be produced as cheaply in the US.


    Since we do not have a minimum wage in Cayman, it becomes beneficial for companies to import labor from poorer countries in order to pay them less than what Caymanians are willing to work for. It is not necessarily a matter of ego or pride by Caymanians, it is a matter of not being able to afford to meet expenses in their own country for the wages being paid to foreigners. To a foreigner, the low wage being paid is welcome and is usually sent to their homeland where purchasing power is much greater than in Cayman. As you can see we are in effect importing other nations poverty when we hire foreign workers at less than what should be a standard minimum wage that is fair and useful to unskilled Caymanians.


    I recall a story on TV last year showing a small group of young unwed Caymanian mothers marching at Heroes Square demanding jobs. Who were they demanding them from. Obviously from government since the private sector does not hire under force of threat. They have been led to believe that government is the job creator due to the precedent set of hiring half of Caymanian workers as Civil Servants.


    We need to overhaul our system of government and iimplement rules or laws for good governance. Many duties being undertaken by politicians especially in areas of finance and development need to be moved to administrative bodies in order to remove politics from our vital economic policy structure. Not doing so allows a new party coming into office to totally change policy in mid-stream to suite themselves. This has always been the case and is the reason we don't have a concrete development plan in place for our future. Our development plan should be something that politicians cannot change or manipulate every four years.


    For the present, implementing a miniimum wage that allows the poor unemployed a wage they can survive on will allow more Cayanians who want to work, to enter the workforce. This presents a new problem and at the same time a solution. The problem is that a minimum wage will increase the cost to employers which will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. The solution is that governemt will have less unemployed people to care for and will reduce it's need for revenue which would allow government to ease back on certain taxes and fees to help keep the cost of livng unchanged or even lower. As the Premier said in his speech at Mary Miller Hall, he will not do anything that hurts the ordinary Caymanian. In fact, he has our money set aside to assist the poor and unemployed. This is not the way to help people or government. An honest wage for a days work is what is fair and what is needed.



  6. dreamer says:

    YES understand the need for foreign labour.

    When will businesses be made to understand that yes they have a moral, ethical and corporate responsibility to hire and train Caymanians? why have we let foreign workers feel so entitled that they have convinced our leaders the laws are meant to reward and protect them?

    Will the next government (or current) enforce our immigration laws and have the GUTS to finally have the Employment Law 2004 assented to despite cries from businesses and civil servants on contracts who benefit unfairly compared to other expat workers (in terms of laws being applied across the board)?

    What 'policies' would you advocate Mr Suckoo? You state the need for policies but have not suggested any.

    As an educated Caymanian myself, it's all fine and good to write articles that will not rock the boat and trust me I do understand if a Caymanian wants to be a politician many appear to seek the approval of businesses and expats, whether they come from jamaica or canada. But what policies would you support?

    Are you willing to have an immigration board, not politically appointed that has access to unemployed Caymanians and their qualifications so that they can refuse work permits, no exceptions for certain businesses if there are Caymanians qualified to take up those posts?

    Would you support a moratorium in some categories, for example legal sector (junior associates, administrators, secretaries and receptionists) until there is zero unemployment by Caymanians seeking jobs in those areas?

    We need 'expats Caymanians' to work together and accept that YES employment of local people here must be able to obtain opportunities, even if it means foreign workers have to return home at the end of their contracts.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Suckoo, I disagree, I believe discrimination of Caymanians in the work place has to do with the unemployment big time!  Those who feel it, know it.

    • Nice Viewpoint says:

      If you believe that unemployment is only caused by discrimination we are lost. Yes it is there, but it is not the only cause.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfair Discrimination begins as soon as people come here to work and are surrounded by people who do judge Caymanians unfairly.

        Unfair Discrimination continues with the false adverts, then maybe biased interviews and if hired continues with inadequate training. Be honest!

        Our labour law is so inadequate any mediocre employer can avoid violation or worse, Caymanians are usually too reluctant, intimidate or stressed to begin the process of a lawsuit.

        Today I personally ask Caymanians who think they can find another job comparable to the one currently occupied, to send out their resumes out to see if they will in fact get a job offer within one month. Some people have no understanding of what is really happening regardless of a perfect resume submitted or education level.

        I know of persons with one Caymanian parent and the other from other countries (for eg one was from USA and the other from Jamaica). Tye didn't get employment until they stated nationality of the 'foreign' parent. This is real Caymanians!! Don't get so comfortable in theillusion of lifetime job security. Everyday your fellow expat worker is encouraging their friends to come here to work and we all know it does depend on WHO you knwo in Cayman. Just be real and honest and stop patronising Caymanians, trust me we have had enough.



    • Anonymous says:

      I believe the Discrimination of Caymanians in the labour force begins with their resume.   

      For all you job seekers, please note that your resume is your potential employer's first impression of you.  For first time applicants, either attend the Chamber of Commerce's resume writing course or enlist the help of a trusted friend/past English teacher or family member who you know is equipped to help you.  Also, there is no harm in using spell-check and is highly recommended for all applications!

      In addition, when a picture is requested please do not send the latest scanned copy from Facebook or your phone out at the club or beach.  Instead put on a nice solid print shirt or top, comb your hair, smile and have a friend take it for you against a blank wall.  Then, and only then, print and send with your newly revised resume.

  8. Anonymous ;-) says:

    Al, looking at CNS this morning and reading your article, there is not even a ray of optimism in it. Are you so pessimistic?

    • Nice Viewpoint says:

      You obviously cannot read

    • Anonymous says:

      I  would not label Mr. Suckoo a pessimistic.  He is a realist and not living in LaLa land like so many are.  Some of us are so used to hearing soothing scenarios that will never materialise that we have forgotten how to  think and analyse the pros and cons.  That is one reason why we are in the mess we are in now.  A careful  thought process is necessary before action. Until we all can get real and call a spade a spade there will never be any impovements.  I am sure Mr. Suckoo must have some great ideas and when the time is right he no doubt will bring them forth.  I think it is  quite an enlightening article.  Keep it up Mr. Suckoo.

  9. Nice Viewpoint says:

    Mr Suckoo,

    I note the Premiers "Speech" if you can call it that focused quite a bit on this topic and at times he even seems to take your advice on-board. I wonder if he read your article prior to giving his address? Coming from you this is a breath offresh air but from him it is too little too late. I commend you for this viewpoint and I hope that you consider representing the people of this island in May. Smart, educated, experienced, articulate, refined and strong leaders such as yourself are needed now and it is clear that the UDP fails miserably when it comes to those qualities.

    Do your thing bro us young Caymanians are behind you 100%, we need someone to represent us!


  10. Anonymous says:

    Forget the 'University College'. What we need is a Community College.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The beauty of economics is that it is a science, not an art. If you try to stretch the rules or ignore them altogether, eventually the science wins in the end by forcing need changes that were for so long ignored. In Cayman, even the Premier admits government (specifically Civil Service) could use some trimming but refuses to allow any reductions for humanitarian reasons and not reasons based on sound economic principles. This is where non-economic & political thinking fouls up the works.


    In the end, downsizing of government will take place either by force of economic science or by choice. Since borrowing is no longer allowed, eventually the money WILL run out and government will become smaller simply because no one wants to work for free. There will not be enough money to make payroll at the current levels. The problem with waiting for this implosion is that there will likewise not be any money for social services to help those who find themselves out of work. It is a somber scenario and could be avoided with prudent cutting now instead of calamity later.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Being articulate and coherent, he is already far ahead of the current slate of bottom feeder idiots we have now

  13. Anonymous says:

    As I assume that you will be a candidate in the next election I would like to hear clear concrete actions to address the Caymanian unemployment issue.

    Your lengthy discussion seemed more of a discussion paper than solutions to a longstanding problem.

    Expanding the employment options and identifying and changing the Caymanian bias against working in the service and trade industry would go much farther than trying to focus on the 5 top careers in the private sector.

    The demographic bell curve within the Caymanian employment population would show a small number of high end achievers just like every population when trying for a world class industry one realistically accepts this reality.  Small businesss entrepreneural assistance and expanding the middle class to allow vibrant individuals to pave their own way. 

    The Immigration and economic policies have been worked upon for my 20 years in Cayman so that idea has been tried and tried.


    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure your 20 years ago in Cayman was far different from now, most Caymanians held 2  jobs a primary job in the financial industry and a secondary job in the tourism industry.  We worked night and day.  The financial industry needed us then because it was not as easy for them to recruit from overseas.  In my opinion young Caymanians are now unemployed due to the lack of leadership by the government.  I will bet my bottom dollar this would not be allowed to happen during the James M. Bodden era in government. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this very clear Viewpoint. I agree with most of what you havewritten but would like to add that your proposals for remediation need to take into account that there are many in the younger unemployed group that have been failed by the education system. This seems to be particularly common for younger males. This group will need to be motivated to re-enter education or training schemes that will provide both employment and life skills. That will take significant resources.

    In my district there is a disturbingly large percentage of young Caymanian males not completing secondary school and many of those that put in the time to complete the government secondary school programme come out with nothing that allows them to be useful in the workplace. Some do not even have basic literacy and numeracy although they have school leaving certificates. Of course there are many that do well in school and proceed to do well in life, but what of the rest? We cannot just treat them as disposable.

    I am Caymanian and I try to employ other Caymanians whenever I can. Some are excellent and have been with me for a long time.  However I am troubled by those that have no usable skills and no desire to do what is necessary to get usable skills or even show up when I go out of my way to offer employment at $15 – 30 per hour. 

    We need a programme that will both get those that are employable back to work as quickly as possible while at the same time bringing those without employable skills or meaningful work ethic up to the standard that will enable them to obtain employment, keep that employment, and be able to advance in their chosen field. This will require innovative approaches to both immigration/labour policy and adult education policy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here's a progam to motivate the unwilling: stop paying them not to work.  When the chips and soda run low, they'll be motivated!

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually they'll just start robbing us again at that point. But I definitely see where you are coming from on this.

        • Diogenes says:

          what makes you think that the thugs dont take social security AND rob people/deal drugs?The social is free money, but not enough to afford a lifestyle they aspire to.  

        • Anonymous says:

          They will start robbing us again, you really take this for a joke, buddy the joke is on you.   I want you to go into certain areas in Cayman and speak to their young men and women who are pounding the pavements looking for a job in this their county and is told that there is non for them.  You my friend should not make such a joke because if this continues to happen you will not be so happy and I don't want to see my country people become murders and robbers. Caymanians will never become economic migrants so if opportunities are not available to them they will create their own economic opportunities pray that they do not choose a life of crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      ..Don't ever  you (we) forget that… Nation Building STARTS at HOME in the family unit!!!..The government is ALWAYS SECONDARY in the formula for creating good citizenry ..and that includes equipting individuals with the basic "lifeskills"  (my Mom taught me my ABCs..and ridimentary counting and the like.. BEFORE I went to school!!…failing at school was NOT an option, and just in case there had been "failure", it was understood in no uncertain terms that I would STILL HAVE to find.. A JOB..some JOB…ANY JOB!!!… staying at home because I "could not find" a particular job I thought I somehow deserved .. was DEFINITELY NOT AN OPTION!!! . Obviously the emphasis was on how important it was for the individual to recognize that JOBS/CAREERS and the ensuing sense of purpose and accomplishment one feels from helping oneself was due to HARD WORK and PERSEVERANCE, and that indeed there WAS a certain GLORY in WORK!!)  like respect for law and order, the environment, oneself, and one's fellow human beings etc that will usually enable them to take full advantage of all the legitimate job and career opportunities that our society (and the rest of the world!) affords…Although there has been short periods in my life when I was unemployed, it was simply because I CHOSE to be that way…and therefore had NO ONE else to BLAME for my lack of income..

      Fellow Caymanians…if you/we have to…mimic the competition!!..Don't you see that some of our new migrants who came to these shores just a few short years ago, penniless and working in the most menial of jobs, are now reaping the benefits of their initial years of sacrifice, humility and austerity!!..(and you had better believe that the ONLY reason they have NOT DONE BETTER is due to the "stumbling blocks" (work permit and other fees, time limits, business ownership limitations etc) we have artificially placed in their way, so as to supposedly give US locals a fighting chance to do the same!!).The world as we knew it has changed, and we need to be aware of those changes and what they can mean for us.Ignorance is sometimes refered to as the recipe for a blissful state of mind; however I prefer to subscribe to the edict that states that it is oft times the reason for undue suffering…As Mr Marley so eloquently informed us many years ago in song.."in the abundance of water..a fool goes thirsty.."


  15. Anonymous says:

    In the real world your recommendations are correct and indeed do work. However, we live in fantasy land otherwise known as Cayman. Most Caymanians would rather work for government or not at all since government productivity standards are far lower than those in the private sector where keeping one’s job or advancing is dependent on their performance and not just showing up.This is true in most countries where the ratio of Civil Service jobs to private sector jobs is disproportionately high.

     In the past our public high schools set a very bad precedent by graduating students based on attendance rather than academic performance. This hardly prepared them for the rigors of the real workplace. Government jobs are seen as a means of securing one’s future without the burden of having to be at your best and striving to do better, kind of like coasting on easy street.


    The biggest hurdle in implementing any of your suggestions is that the money is controlled and often given away by politicians for political purposes even though they can show that such giveaways of public money are for a good cause. Of course the good causes would not exist if the economic policy were healthy in the first place. Our government pays for beautifully crafted studies and recommendations such as the Miller-Shaw report that really do offer solutions but then proceeds to ignore this valuable and costly advice. It is more than clear now that our public money should be handled administratively rather than giving elected politicians the ability to spend it unconstrained. Individual Authorities and Government Departments should for the most part be self-sustaining in terms of their budgets. In other words, the price of water should not be increased to make up a shortfall in funds needed for airport security. Excess money produced by an Authority should not be used to prop up a department that is operating at a deficit. Exceptions do and should exist as in the collection of work permit fees and import duties to go to Treasury for general spending for government. If entities like the Turtle Farm, Pedro Castle and Cayman Airways to name a few money pits are not able to sustain themselves then they should be allowed to fail. Anything less results in the huge amounts of revenue needed that result in high cost of living and high unemployment across all sectors of the economy.


    In 2008, figures show our GDP at 2.25 billion dollars. With government running at an annual budget of about half a billion dollars it means our government requires about 20 to 25 percent of our nation’s GDP to operate. That doesn’t sound so bad when you look at tax rates in the USA and UK which range from 28% to over 50% on personal income.  Government is making plenty of revenue for our needs; the problem is the way it is being spent. Our cost of living is high enough to act as a block to economic growth and outside investment. Any measure that could lower this would act as a stimulant to the economy and employment. Our politicians have to stop acting like Robin Hood and allow a non-political body to manage our money and set policy to help implement the items you suggest as well as those in the Miller-Shaw report.


    I have an 8 year old BMW. It has lots of problems. Every time I use it I wonder if I will be able to get back home or have to call a tow truck and pump more money into it for repairs. The obvious solution is to get rid of it altogether rather than discuss what went wrong and how to avoid such problems on my next trip. Same goes for this current government.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Much is accurate in this post….trouble is Cayman's "leaders" have been "talking" about this for four decades….but behaving as if the gravy train could/would never end…or even slow down.

    With the vast amounts of money and expertise that has gone through Cayman during the past four decades we "should" have addressed these concerns by way of a National Plan (enshrined in the Contitution). Instead our leaders were more concerned with enshrining "Christian Nation"….while behaving anything but Christian!…and obstructing Human Rights!

  17. St Peter says:

    Nice to hear a new voice in the crowd…