Premier: Growth key to addressing inequity

| 19/01/2016 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin at Fidelity CEO, 19 January 2016

(CNS): The growth in the local economy since the Progressives came to office is the key to addressing inequalities in Cayman society, according to Premier Alden McLaughlin. Without the economic growth due to the restoration of confidence because of the PPM administration’s attention to public finances, good governance and transparency, government could not begin to address social inequities, he said as he delivered what has become known as the annual state of the nation address at the Fidelity CEO Conference. But there were no new announcements from the premier and little to stir up the audience.

Addressing the conference theme of the world’s widening inequality, McLaughlin said, “We know we cannot fully solve the problem of inequality. But we can, and must, work to dismantle the barriers to equality and strive for a culture and environment that fosters fairness and creates opportunities for individuals to help themselves. Opportunities for employment, for housing, for medicine, food and education.”

The role of government is to support the drive for economic growth, he said and pointed to expectations for annual growth of an average of 1.9% since the PPM won the election. That figure included lowered expectations for this year, given the economic concerns, and was “acceptable in today’s post great recession economy”, he said.

The premier also claimed that unemployment figures, which increased recently from 7.9% to 8.3% among locals, were expected to fall when the new statistics come out in another month or so, suggesting the rise was a seasonal problem.

With economic growth being the answer to the problems of inequity, he said that stabilizing government finance meant it would be able to finance social initiatives in the coming year, but it was government’s support and enablement of major private sector investment that would create jobs and drive long-term economic growth.

Pointing to the same list of projects that have been expected to boost Cayman’s economy for several years and turned up in most of his national speeches over the last three years, the premier illustrated the government’s reliance on uncertain development for the economic fortunes and employment issues of the wider community.

Of the list that he reviewed only two projects have actually started – Dart’s Kimpton hotel and the government’s airport renovation. The St James Point Resort in Beach Bay, the renovation of Treasure Island, the Hyatt site redevelopment, the Ironwood golf resort, Dart’s second hotel, the CEC campus and the extension of Health City are all still proposals, none of which have created any jobs yet.

The private sector is the driver of growth but there is a role for government, he said, as he pointed to current infrastructure investment. Alongside the renovation of the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac and the expansion of Owen Roberts International Airport, he said government was committed to cruise ship berthing but was less emphatic than previous speeches. He spoke about the need to reduce the environmental impact and ensure a guarantee on passengers to repay any financing package.

While government is also spending public cash on roads in the capital, there were no indications where the George Town revitalisation project is going. He said the plans were “being strengthened through a positive dialogue with businesses” but offered no further details.

With so few of the capital projects identified as key to the future growth providing any work and the persistent problem of local unemployment, the premier again called on local businesses to employ Caymanians.

“In a growing and successful economy we should not accept a position in which Caymanians who want to work, and are able to work, find that they cannot get work. Both government and business should find this unacceptable and agree that if this issue is not aggressively tackled it will create more inequality and cause division in our society. Government must do more and business must do more. In my view, we need to do more together,” McLaughlin said.

Asking local employers to find a way to employ capable locals who are out of work, he outlined the plans to launch the ‘Ready2Work.KY’ jobs programme, which he said would make it easier for businesses to hire Caymanians and train them.

“It will be a government and private sector partnership, with government covering the costs of the employee’s salary and benefits during the training period,” he said. “The initial cost will be $1.7 million and will be one part of an overall plan that will seek to provide paths to employment for Caymanians experiencing barriers to work.” He added, “We will do our part as a government to prepare our people for the future economy, but we cannot do it alone.

“We expect the private sector to do its part too. And we expect our people to do what is needed to maintain jobs and continue learning. At the end of the day, we expect that those Caymanians finding jobs will give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” the premier said, as he urged bosses with a job to offer, to make a Caymanian their first choice.

Premier’s adress at Fidelity CEO conference, 19 Jan 2016

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Seeing This once wasnt enough had to repost!!!
    PREACHHHH!!!!

    More unskilled Caymanians must be prepared to start from the bottom and create careers for themselves. The number of unskilled labour permits on this island is huge and almost any Caymanian can do them. We claim we cannot live off $6 an hour, but all those spited Jamaicans and Philpinos not only manage to do it, but also save enough to send home, so their children (that by law they cannot bring) can eat.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He is using that term incorrectly…inequity is not more Caymanian’s working at minimum wage..it is more Caymanian’s working in accordance with laws that were developed over decades by smarter men/women then him

    • Anonymous says:

      . . which is incompatible with growth.

      • Anonymous says:

        “growth” needs to benefit the people of the country….not merely investors and foreign workers…if it doesn’t why bother?

    • Anonymous says:

      Raising the minimum wage will not put more back into the economy, if anything it will do more damage then good. Companies will have to raise their rates now of course we have to pass it on to the consumer. Yes there should be a minimum wage, but i believe enforcement of the people who are being paid $3.00/$3.50, etc should be looked at. The Chamber of Commerce expressed their opinion on this, yet Alden is moving forward. Give it more time Alden, $1.00 more per hour isn’t going to make that much a difference but it will make a difference when you have 100’s of companies passing this on to the consumers!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is in trouble in the long run and key directions are needed.

    Tourism for most of GC should be grown, the rest rebrand as ecotourism and advertise. Look at Jersey for the trouble on relying on one financial pillar.

    Capital is highly mobile and the end to most of KY’s financial sector could end fast.

    Cayman has to look at cutting costs, either gov jobs or salaries, but those let off have to be picked up by private sector, and work will be involved to transition.

    More unskilled Caymanians must be prepared to start from the bottom and create careers for themselves. The number of unskilled labour permits on this island is huge and almost any Caymanian can do them. We claim we cannot live off $6 an hour, but all those spited Jamaicans and Philpinos not only manage to do it, but also save enough to send home, so their children (that by law they cannot bring) can eat.

    Many here need assistance in budgeting, and the more locals working the richer and more equitable Cayman will become

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with all you say apart from one thing. FS here has many pillars despite the best efforts of CIG and CIMA, not because of them. There seems to be a concentrated effort going on to really screw it up. Real professionals are needed to sort out this mess at government level, and certain people people need to understand that they don’t understand anything and step aside.

  4. WaYaSay says:

    Thats the ticket Alden, more groth and more work permits handed out. Numbskull, we have already created twice as many jobs in the Cayman Islands, as there are Caymanians to fill and your solution is to create MORE jobs. You just dont get it, do you?

    You can only afford $500,000 to hire the unemployed at a living wage but you can find $1,700,000 to pay out to the private sector if only they will agree to hire Caymanians. What happend when that money runs out? Caymanians getting fired by the thousands? They can always go back to hiring cheap foreign labor on a work permit after they have taken your money and their cut off the top.

    What happened to the provisions of the existing immigration law?

    There are work perits issued in every strata of the workforce; the solution is not as difficult as you make it appear to be!

    • Anonymous says:

      Your version of economics worked so well in Venezuela, North Korea, Soviet Union that they collapsed. Careful what you wish for.

      • WaYaSay says:

        How do you even know what my “version if evonomics” is? I certainly have not laid it out in my post. Please stop scare mongering.
        …… you sound like Alden.

        You sound very familiar with the countries you listed. Did you run here from one of those?

        My economic vision for Cayman is far more in line with most democratic, first world, prosperous countries around the world. Employ your nationals first and have them participate in the success of the country before pandering to keeping them unemployed and disgruntled with a 50% imported workforce.

        I will not give you a list of the successful countries who cater to employment of their citizens………google it for yourself, then get back to work and justify that paycheck.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s great, if your “nationals” are fully qualified, willing and capable of running a multi billion dollar finance industry. Currently, that is not the case, so your dream falls apart. Do I agree that more could work successfully if they got the correct education, training etc? yes I do, but Cayman could still not fill 10-15,000 jobs in that sector, there simply are not enough of you, and certainly not enough to fulfill all the CEO/CFO roles. So like those countries I mentioned who incidentally all had wonderful economic plans, they never succeeded because reality crept into the equation.

          • WaYaSay says:

            You certainly drive home my point thst there is no need to create new jobs in the Cayman Islands when there are no one to fill them.
            You pretend that there are 10- 15,000 CEO/CFO positions available in the financial industry but there are hundredd of middle management and assistant manager as well as PA, office support staff, secretary, messenger and other support staff on work permits that could be filled by Caymanians if not for the prejudice of people like you.

            The hundreds that applied to Government for the clean up jobs were not looking for jobs in the financial industry yet we give out work permits to garbagr collectors, lawn cutters Car washers, gardeners, landscapers, farmers, mail carriers, and you name it.

            As I said to Alden, the solution is simpler than he, or you care to admit.

            While not everyone is cut out nor qualified to be a CEO/CFO, they are certainly qualified and willing to do something in our society. One thing is certain, whatever they are qualified to do, we are giving out work permits for that particular position.

            • Anonymous says:

              Wayasay, if you could read properly, you would be dangerous. I never said 10-15,000 CEOs…or are you just twisting to suit your needs? Saw and expression the other day “never play chess with a pigeon, as you will win but he is going to shit all over the board and strut around like he is right”…

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is more growth is not emotionally satisfying. How the economy actually works and cold facts are difficult to deal with and sometime accept. This is why is much simply for some to just point at work permits and automatically think less work permit equals more work for Caymanians which in actually, pure emotional nonsense. Growth must include more people spending for a more diverse set of services and goods. Demand must diverse and grow for employment to “Grow”. That cannot be achieved with a shrinking amount of people asking for those products.

        As long as people think that people will come to this island, hand them a wad of money to leave with a little as possible, are basically economical morons.

        The reduction of work permits == more unemployment. Also when more work permits are issued to meet demand, that does NOT mean that the demand is only growing 1 job per work permit, morons.

        Seriously… get book, got to a class on basic economics.

        • WaYaSay says:

          Your arguments fall flat on their faces when you fail to admit that Caymanians who are employed and paid equal to an expat on a work permit, spends far more in the Cayman economy than an expat on a work permit, who is taking his job and sending home 50% of their paycheck………to say nothing of the reduction in cost to Govt Social Services ….
          simply because that person is now employed.

          We do not need to import consumers, we need to empower Caymanians to be consumers by giving them a job!

          One gainfully employed Cayman national is worth 3 expats on work permit when it comes to the benefit to the economy. They will spend 100% of their oncome here and no longer require a Government handout.

          As I said, the solution is simpler than you chose to acknowledge.

          • Anonymous says:

            So if a Caymanian has a house or interest in the US he is not going to spend money there?? Like someone wrote, get some basic economic lessons will ya?

  5. Anonymous says:

    What has this latest disingenuous regime actually done to challenge the lodge oligarchs, increase local competition, protect consumer rights, and lower the cost of living on imported essentials? Fuel? Groceries? Unadjusted Shipment and trucking margins? Rampant fraudulent over-billing?

    They can’t even run themselves or hold their own departments accountable. Immigration BSPs? Unfunded pension liabilities? Hospital and other CIG receivables?

    Yet this maxed-out credit funded regime “found” an extra $3.7mln in last two months to suddenly validate a long perceived talk show unemployment problem – while the “top priority” and rotting JGHS project started two election cycles ago remains incomplete; small business loans are suspended, and an unlined and over-capacity dump leaches dioxin and PCBs into water table and north sound.

    • Lily says:

      Thank you! A thousand times; you should have wrote more! Tell me, were you there to hear the Premier’s speech? It was like watching grass grow mate!

      • Anonymous says:

        “….you should have wrote more”. And you, Lily, should have studied more. Poor English like that is why too many worthwhile Caymanians do not get jobs in companies where the use of standard English is necessary. Just for the record, you should have written, “you should have written more”.

        • Anonymous says:

          So yuh a de man me hear bout!
          Ah yuh dem seh dah teck
          Whole heap a English oat seh dat
          yuh gwine kill dialec!
          Meck me get it straight, mas Charlie,
          For me no quite understan
          Yuh gwine kill all English dialec
          Or jus Jamaica one?
          Ef yuh dah equal up wid English
          Language, den wha meck
          Yuh gwine go feel inferior
          when It come to dialec? Ef yuh cyaan sing “Linstead Market”
          An “Water come a me yeye”
          Yuh wi haffi tap sing “Auld lang syne”
          An “Comin through de rye.” Dah language weh yuh proud a,
          Weh yuh honour an respec
          Po Mas Charlie, yuh no know se
          Dat it spring from dialec!
          Dat dem start fi try tun language
          From de fourteen century
          Five hundred years gawn
          an dem got More dialec dan we!
          Yuh wi haffi kill de Lancashire,
          De Yorkshire, de Cockney,
          De broad Scotch and de Irish brogue
          Before yuh start kill me! Yuh wi haffi get de Oxford Book
          A English Verse, an tear
          Out Chaucer, Burns, Lady Grizelle
          An plenty a Shakespeare!
          When yuh done kill “wit” an “humour,”
          When yuh kill “variety,” Yuh wi haffi fine a way fi kill
          Originality! An mine how yuh dah read dem English
          Book deh pon yuh shelf,
          For ef yuh drop a “h” yuh mighta
          Haffi kill yuhself!

          Miss Lou – Jamaican poet

          • Anonymous says:

            There is a difference between a dialect and poor written English, your response dealt with the former whereas the issue with the earlier post was the former. But at least you know how to cut and paste from the internet. Well done.

            • Anonymous says:

              And there it is! That Colonial sarcasm often referred to as the lowest form of wit. So, tell me is it wrong to cut and paste? Incidentally it was from an e-book to be specific (The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg). Would you have rather I typed it out again and claimed authorship from Mary Lou? Come now, I think you should reflect lightly on this. By the way, your riposte does not make sense with the use of the word ‘former’ twice, but I judge you not, for we all maketh mistakes do we not kind Sir? My point is really to embrace local dialect which may well present the ‘incorrect’ use of words to you, but by what standard can you judge by? After all, is it not the meaning that should be conveyed?

    • Anonymous says:

      And what did The Romans ever do for us?

  6. Sharkey says:

    This issue make me think that the premier is a little disappointed ,and wants the unemployed caymanian to think that he is doing something to help them , while he is been guided by the rich ,which would protect their own interest.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I wonder almost daily whether our elected members actually live on the same Island we live on:

    This is what I see daily:

    – resumes of people who just landed on Island and are looking for jobs through a Temp Agency
    – people wandering up and down Eastern Avenue which should probably be at work or have no business being on Island
    – ever increasing grocery cost
    – never decreasing gasoline prices
    – increase of littering all over the place
    – whole neighborhoods dilapidating more and more cause people either don’t give a shit any longer or can’t afford to maintain their homes
    – increasing amount of “gardening” companies who don’t even seem to have a properly licensed vehicle/trailer, never mind having a trade and business license.

    This is just a very small list and I could add easily another 50 points, such as general lawlessness, animal cruelty, child neglect etc. etc.

    Point is, the Government is completely out of touch with reality. But that seems to be the order of Governments across the world these days.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Unemployment is 5.6%, per ESO office and as at Sept 2015. Mr Premier, is this CIG Dept of 20 a total waste of our money? How could the professional Statisticians be off by almost 3%?

    • WaYaSay says:

      I agree 100% with the point you are making, however, I think you meant to say the ESO is off by 3 precentage points, which equates to a 55% error by the ESO.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is a deliberate misrepresentation by the Premier. Deliberate repeated attempts to rekindle xenophobic party core, secure political support, and campaign money in final year of office.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      The figure you quote is overall unemployment, the one Alden quotes is Caymanian unemployment. However, neither of them is based on a list of unemployed people.

      They are statistical estimates based on the survey of approx 1400 households done last year. The accuracy of the number is subject all the usual problems with statistical estimates, including whether people told the truth! (lie because you are embarrassed and the number is going to be too low, lie because you don’t want the government to know you have a job because you are also claiming benefits and the number will be overstated). Its also 9 months out of date, and no firm basis for CIG making policy pronouncements and decisions.

      CIG really needs to get their act together if they are going to have an accurate picture of who the unemployed are, the trades they are qualified for, and how the numbers are moving, rather than relying on statistical estimates produced intermittently by ESO. Imagine driving a car and relying on what your passengers tell you the view out of the windscreen 10 minutes ago was to make course corrections. If they made registration with NWDA a precondition to receiving social assistance they would have an accurate and up to date at any point in time list of people who needed assistance in obtaining or were reliant on public funds, which is where you think CIGs focus should be.

  9. Anonymous says:

    But the best way to encourage growth, while also reducing cost of living issues, would be to free up foreign inward investment into the Cayman market. But that would step on the toes of Cayman’s prime capital owning families who like their little oligopolies, so Alden will lack the spine to take them on.

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM cancelled CDB and small business loans to coddle the oligopolies and their donor families. These Caymanian families don’t want competition or to pay living wages to fellow Caymanians when Philipine Peso exchange is almost 50:1 on USD, and those workers will work 10 hrs a day in 34’C sun $6/hr or less with no health or pension complaints.

      • Anonymous says:

        Allowing investment from non-Caymanians would probably end most of the unemployment problem in a few years. But Alden won’t upset the rich families. He is good at talking about problems, not so good at doing something about it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The 900 lb gorilla in the room is that most of those “unemployed” are very happy to work part time for small money, sponge of there relatives and the goverment and live a relaxed loss stress life.
    We should be happy for them, they are happy.

    There about 3 people in Cayman who actually go hungry and that is only because they are to busy drinking beer and nobody is freezing because the weather is lovely.

    So Premier relax your people are for the most part fat and happy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    More ramblings of nothingness from a Premier who proves that he is out of touch with reality

  12. Fantasy Island says:

    Alden McLaughlin and the PPM are in complete denial about the current state of affairs in the Cayman Islands.

    They are detached from reality and seem to live in their own bubble surrounded by like minded robots who remind each other constantly how good things are and how beautiful and brilliant they are individually. A world full of rainbows, fairies and unicorns where life is great because they drink from the fountain red sweet cool aid that strengthens their belief in the nonsense they spout. Ironically, Jim Jones created a similar fantasy world in the jungles of Guyana in the 70’s but that didn’t end in too well either

  13. Anonymous says:

    seems like he borrowed from tara rivers speech writers…..so many words…so little action….
    btw…after 3 years you can’t even change a few speed signs on west bay road….#cigincompetence

  14. Anonymous says:

    ppm decoded:
    we have done nothing but maintain the status quo since elected…..
    spineless fools…..

  15. Anonymous says:

    i feel sorry for you…trying to ride on the coat-tails of a buffoon like mac………..zzzzzzzzzzz

  16. Anonymous says:

    What in God’s name are you smoking Alden? You’re talking as if the economy is booming when in fact it is barely growing!

    If economic growth is key to addressing inequality why don’t you do something to make it happen?!

    • Anonymous says:

      He was too busy working on paving the way for work permit holders to walk the streets of gold and the unemployed to remain jobless. When you formed your government you should’ve jumped on unemployment not work permits, and TELPS. Seek the success of your people first and let them enjoy the fruits of their land. Unfairness and injustice will haunt you.
      Stop changing laws to empower the haves and lowering the standard for the have nots.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can go around blaming everyone as much as you like. At the end of the day you elected these people. If you don’t like it, vote in other ones next year. But please choose very carefully. Bahama’s elected people who wanted rid of expats, and they are not in a good space now. Bermuda did the same and now trying to unscramble that. They lost all their income.

      • Lily says:

        Well said! @5:46am

        AMEN!

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