Archive for December 10th, 2012

It all boils down to trust

| 10/12/2012 | 51 Comments

The next general election in the Cayman Islands will be the one that defines our future and will go down in history as maybe one of the most important. The voters will be tasked with deciding who will lead our country forward and out of the current economic slump we are facing. They will have to decide which party, alliance or independent they think is best suited for the job.

Before answering the crucial question of who is best suited for the job, we as voters must first understand the current financial and economic position the country is in and most likely will be in for some time.

The Cayman Islands as a country has found itself in the most peculiar stance that it has ever been in during its history.

From the economic standpoint, the three pillars that we have depended on for so many years are suffering tremendously due to the global recession. Tourism, construction and the financial industries are slower than they have been in the last 10 years. With the exception of a few proposed projects recently (good or bad, depending on how you see it), none of the pillars listed above seem to have much predicted growth in the near future.

From the government viewpoint, the country is in debt by over a half billion dollars and has no savings to help keep it afloat through this global recession. The government is now also troubled by the limited borrowing power it has due to the restrictions put on it by the mother country (UK). Unlike many other countries, we do not have the privilege of borrowing our way out of our woes until the recession has passed.

If you acknowledge and or agree with these viewpoints, the question is then, what can the government do to stimulate the economy if it has no access to any finances other than those that it needs to pay its day to day expenses (all the costs related to the general running of government)?

One must conclude that the only option we, as a country/government, have is to use our assets as leverage to entice investors to the country to create major development, which in large part will then stimulate the economy.

Therefore, the legislators selected to run this country come May 22 next year will be tasked primarily with the following three objectives:

1. They will/should be creating, amending, or deleting legislation to create a clean, honest and obstacle free environment for development, but at the same time be mindful to try not to compromise the moral and ethical codes of the Caymanian people.

 2. They should construct ways to cut the cost of running government in a planned, managed and strategic way that will least effect the people of the country. For example, non-essential travel for ministers. (This topic warrants an article all of its own and will be addressed soon.)

3. They will also be tasked to negotiate the people's assets (duty exceptions, waving of fees, land transfers, et cetera) with investors to come to a balanced and transparent agreement for the people. The negotiators, ministers in cabinet and sometimes even junior ministers, will need to show value for money (from the "people's" point of view).  They will also be expected, legally and morally, NOT to indulge in acts that may be deemed as corruption if presented to them, as it often is in such deals and negotiations of this magnitude.

In closing my synopsis of our country's current economic and financial position, I believe the key characteristic that the voters should and must pay most attention to is trust. In points 1 and 3, trust plays the biggest role.

Definition of trust: Assured resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle, of another person; confidence; reliance.  Trust means being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.

In the selection of who you think will best represent you and the Cayman Islands, it will all boil down to trust.

These viewpoints are not a reflection of the Progressives (PPM) but solely my own.

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Mac rails against UK red tape

| 10/12/2012 | 24 Comments

macCopy (238x300).jpg(CNS): During last week’s Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London the Cayman Islands premier told Mark Simmonds, the UK’s overseas territories minister, not to strangle the overseas territories with red tape. In a release from the premier’s office, officials said that McKeeva Bush made the case for Cayman to Simmonds during the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) meeting, asking the UK to help defend international financial centres from unfair attack and not to “strangle the territories with the red tape”, which was being cut in Britain. He also called on them to realise that entrepreneurs had made Cayman an international success story and infrastructure developments were vital to maintain that progress.

“I therefore have a plea for the UK Government; we don’t want aid or hand-outs but we want you to speak up for us in Europe and other international fora,” he said echoing comments made by British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who said, “We are all in this together.”

According to the release from Bush’s office, Simmonds said that he agreed entirely and that he was determined that the UK Government would do more to help the small international financial centres, which were a great success story.

Bush and the other heads of delegation to the JMCalso met with Cameron at 10 Downing Streetafter the close of the JMC on Wednesday, and the Overseas Terrirory (OT) leaders each had an opportunity to speak briefly with the PM. Bush pointed to Cameron’s recent speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a presentation which the Cayman premier has referred to often over the last few weeks. He told Cameron that the Cayman Islands operates on the principles of international best practice through its laws, and he did not want the same strangulating bureaucracy as the UK was cutting.

In addition to the two-day JMC meeting, Premier Bush had a busy schedule, meeting with Minister Simmonds and separately with other ministers, attending a business event at the FCO where presentations by a government minister and British business interests were made, networking with the OTs and joining a Cayman Islands Reception.

The premier also signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Italy, marking Cayman's thirtieth such agreement, which now covers all seven of the G7 countries.

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