Minister refuses to reveal more of tech hub deal

| 14/11/2018 | 30 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The minister of commerce has declined to reveal any more of the very heavily redacted deal he signed with TechCayman because, he said, it was a confidential agreement. After CNS received a largely blacked-out document in response to a freedom of information request, we requested an internal review. However, in response to that Minister Joseph Hew backed the earlier decision, saying that the agreement he signed this summer “contained highly sensitive information” which could negatively impact business and undermine the competitiveness of the Cayman Islands.

The request to reveal more of the document centred largely on what the government might have offered or is obligated to do for the private sector company, which has said it wants to develop a digital hub in Cayman.

When the deal was signed in August, the minister said it would pave the way for the Cayman Islands to become the “Silicon Valley” of the Caribbean. But during a press conference to announce the deal, the nature of it was not made clear, and the press was not told what exactly the Cayman Islands Government had agreed to.

CNS therefore submitted an FOI request for a copy of the deal, but two months after that request the ministry released a document that was largely blacked out. The limited parts of the document which were unredacted revealed little about the venture being spearheaded by local businessman Gene Thompson and US-based technology entrepreneur Samir Mitra.

Following the release of the redacted deal, CNS followed up with a request for an internal review which was conducted by the minister. The findings of the internal review were released Tuesday and Hew said that any further disclosure would “constitute a breach of confidence” on the part of government.

CNS has now appealed the decision, as we still believe that it is in the public interest for government to divulge details of any waivers in fees or work permit concessions it has granted as well as any benefits that CIG expects to receive as part of this deal, and we remain unconvinced that this would negatively impact the private sector company’s business interests.

Mitra, who was one of the people involved in the creation of Java programming, said at the August press conference that he wanted to encourage local people to begin building a digital sector here by offering to help start-ups with business and legal advice, and to also provide education for Caymanians who want to learn about software development and related fields.

Hew said the agreement included work permit concessions and changes to legislation that would enable the creation of new technology-related businesses. But no details were revealed in the redacted document about the potential inducements.

The unredacted areas of the document include some information about the principals of TechCayman and a vague description of the vision to establish technology start-ups, but how that will happen and what “certain undertakings” the parties have agreed to also remain under wraps.

See FOI Request re TechCayman deal – Internal Review Response, 13 Nov 2018

See the original press conference below:

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Category: Business, ICT, Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why sign something that disenfranchises anothers business, ?doesn’t look good.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How is anyone to operate a tech company in Cayman when the internet is third world quality?

  3. Anonymous says:

    No surprises here. If CIG publish all the details it might reveal who is getting all the kickbacks from this deal.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can’t take the government of the country which is literally drowning in its own $hit seriously.
    The latest fiasco with NRA toxic sludge just confirms how dumb they are.

  5. Anonymous says:

    lodge secrets….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Secret bureaucracy, it’s just a lie
    The devil’s henchmen, in suit and tie
    A sacred brotherhood, an ancient rite
    Politicians and the double lives they hide

    Violate your rights, no more equality
    Surrender freedom, your Social Security
    We the people face unconstitutional lies
    In greed we trust, in revolution we die

  7. Anonymous says:

    Seems to me all the government has to say for anything they don’t want the public to know is that it is ‘sensitive’ or ‘confidential’. The government conveniently forgets they are working for the people and nothing about this tech hub needs to be a secret.

  8. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  9. Clickbait - 4 - Me (#Too) says:

    There is a difference between “Open Government” and “Conducting All Future Negotiations With Your Trousers Neatly Folded Over Arm”. Oh well. At least locally produced “clickbait” drives traffic away from Fox News and Mail Online……..

  10. Say it like it is says:

    We seem to be suffering from delusions of grandeur. Becoming the “Silicon Valley of the Caribbean”, and reducing the amount of landfill input by 95%!.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This Unity Government has to go. They are only for the rich and to make themselves richer!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Secret deals for the rich while the rest of us get screwed!! This PPM/unity government is rotten to the core! I can not believe that Roy Mctaggart sits by silently while this is happening. I thought he was a man of integrity.. Guess I was wrong!

  13. Anonymous says:

    We are getting to a point where it will only be the non-connected suckers that pay fees to CIG. We already have a Special Economic Zone, CEC (Kirkconnells), Health City (Thompson), and now Tech City. It is no surprise they don’t want to release details.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Java has to be the clunkiest software ever written.
    It is no surprise that it is not used in any time-critical applications such as life support, avionics or manufacturing.
    Java requires a JVM and as such, the code is quite far from the hardware.
    If I had been involved in the development of Java, I would not put it on my CV.
    It has to be the worst language ever and the first one they teach in school.
    There was never anything wrong with C and it is bloody close to the hardware. No wonder aviation, medical and military swear by it.
    Of all the software that I support, most of the issues and performance problems are related to Java, its clunky webserver, its clunky and finicky RTE and its incompatibility with acceptable standards.

    It reminds me of teenagers being let loose with text speak to get their message across.

    This is just typical of Cayman and its ignorant government. Over the years, they have never put anyone with technical expertise on any of their boards or regulatory authorities and those that they did lasted nanoseconds.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am tired of this left wing socialist government.
    The elite get richer and the poor get screwed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Left wing? How?

      • Anonymous says:

        Didn’t you get the memo
        Anything remotely bad is automatically left wing or part of a leftist agenda (despite both parties and most independents in Cayman being to the far right)

        Anything good is automatically right wing and if a government claims to be conservative but does bad things it is actually left wingers in disguise

        The right can do no wrong, takes no blame and is always the party of the people
        Despite being bought and paid for by big business
        Or so I am told

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. President is that you?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Joey Who showing his true colors

  17. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Typical ppm always operating in the dark. Giving concessions but do no think they should be held accountable for any decisions even though the campaigned on transparency.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Minister is completely ‘out of order’.

  19. annonymous says:

    the nerve of him!

  20. Anonymous says:

    How is this not political corruption? Ministers (carry on like they do, but) do not have the authority to redact public agreements. That is the stance and behavior of despot regimes.

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