Investment ministry to kick off with CI$3M budget

| 17/12/2018 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service

Hong Kong

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has confirmed that the new ministry he promised at the start of this administration has been given the green light by the UK, and also that work to open the Cayman Islands Hong Kong office associated with the new government department has already begun. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly Monday, he said the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs would have an initial annual budget of $3 million, which will go towards employing the necessary civil servants and the marketing required to promote Cayman overseas.

McLaughlin told his parliamentary colleagues that there are costs and, indeed, potential risks associated with the decision to come out of the shadows of the UK and pursue the Cayman Islands’ interests directly, with a push to increase trade and investment in Asia. But, he said, these are “extraordinary times”, given the constant threats to the offshore sector and Brexit.

“This represents a considerable investment when we are well aware of the other potential calls on government funding,” he said. “However, we believe the benefits I have outlined are significant enough to justify the investment; an investment in the future and prosperity of our people and our islands,” he added at the end of a statement outlining what he believes Cayman has to gain with the new ministry.

The premier did not say which of his Cabinet members will take over the new ministry, which will contain new areas relating to the direct promotion of Cayman globally, with the aim of opening more offices on a case-by-case basis, but would also include some elements currently under the commerce ministry headed by Joseph Hew, some from the financial services ministry headed by Tara Rivers, and some elements from the premier’s own ever-increasing portfolio.

Explaining what it will cover, he said the ministry will advance the economic and political interests of government, the people and the local business community, making it easier for potential overseas investors to do business here and help enhance Cayman’s reputation. It will also improve the coordination of the jurisdiction’s activities internationally across numerous areas.

The ministry will take over the direct responsibility for Cayman’s London office, the Department of Investment, the Shipping Registry of the Maritime Authority and the Aircraft Registry but not the regulatory functions of the Civil Aviation Authority or maritime regulation.

The ministry will, it is hoped, improve the reputation and promotion of Cayman with key opinion-formers in overseas governments and institutions and in the private sector. It is intended to increase inward investment, open up more opportunities for tourism and financial services, as well as place a renewed focus on growing the aircraft and shipping registries and helping with economic diversification.

The new ministry will also oversee the new Hong Kong office when it opens. McLaughlin said he had already received the letter of entrustment from the UK approving the venture, and he said the governor and the UK Consulate General in Hong Kong would provide advice and assistance to get the initiative going, including seeking approvals from the Hong Kong Government.

“While it is perhaps extra ordinary for an administration to create a new Ministry….these are indeed extra ordinary times,” the premier said as he explained why he believed the move was necessary.

“What we continue to see …is an ever-changing landscape as regards the required regulation of the
financial services sector, requirements that are no longer European Union-centric but are becoming the international standard – and so Cayman must move with the times if we are to maintain a vibrant Financial Services Industry,” he said.

“But the landscape will continue to change and the Cayman economic model will continue to face external threats, particularly as a result of the widespread misunderstanding of the Cayman Islands, our financial services industry and the regulatory regime that underpins it.”

With even Britian misunderstanding the offshore sector here as well as the uncertainty of Brexit and the challenges the UK will face after it leaves the EU, the premier said that the Cayman Islands “must do our bit to lessen their burden and at the same time …step out of the UK’s shadow and stand up for ourselves when it comes to matters of international trade”.

Generally, foreign policy or external affairs are functions reserved to the governor under Section 55 of the Constitution. “However, that section also recognises that in the discharge of their normal functions, key ministries will necessarily need to relate to overseas governments and institutions. The Constitution therefore provides that, in consultation with the premier, the governor may delegate responsibilities for external affairs to elected ministers, which then gives them freedom to act within certain prescribed limits.”

At present, he explained, this is piecemeal and not coordinated, making it difficult for people overseas to do business directly with the Cayman government. “Opportunities to present a coherent and consistent approach to other governments and to potential investors and partners are being missed. The new ministry will provide this coordinating function,” he added.

Over time, the government expects the new ministry to develop a network of international offices in locations where their establishment would enable it to better achieve its stated purpose. “Proposals for such offices will be brought forward on a case-by-case basis, and as I have mentioned previously, the first business case, for the establishment of an Asia Office in Hong Kong, has already been developed and approved.”

Hong Kong was chosen as the best location because of its existing links to Caymanian businesses and government as well as its position as a gateway to other Asian markets.

“Asia will create a focal point to promote all aspects of the jurisdiction in an increasingly significant market,” he said. “It will strengthen and deepen business ties and provide a gateway for future trade and investment in Asia. It will also facilitate the development of cultural ties between Asia and these islands.”

McLaughlin said the primary focus will be on economic benefits and supporting the economic pillars of tourism and financial services as well as the diversification of the Cayman economy.

“A physical presence on the ground in Hong Kong will mean that the office can provide certain real-time support services, such as certificates of good standing, dealing with immigration-related queries for Asian visitors, and potentially company incorporation and funds registration in a same day and time zone convenient manner. This will add tremendous value to the efforts of Cayman-based firms already operating in Asia, and in particular in Hong Kong,” he said.

Although previous attempts to establish a Hong Kong office were unsuccessful, he said times had changed and the new Asia Office would provide a springboard for improved business for Cayman. This time, he noted, the UK is “geared up to assist us to make it a success”.

He said the ministry and Hong Kong office would prepare Cayman for changes ahead, as international issues will become increasingly important to the well-being of the Cayman Islands.

Premier’s statement in the LA about new ministry, 17 Dec 2018

Tags: , ,

Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (53)

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  1. Dennis Smith says:

    About time. Hopefully they get it right.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well I guess Eric Bush is now set! Timing is incredible as he has already announced his return for next year! Watch this space. Its unbelievable how this man continues to climb the ladder when less then a decade ago he was a police officer!

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    • Anonymous says:

      7:21. Thats exactly how it should be for a capable Caymanian. Stop being jealous. Its call upward mobility and succession planning for caymanians.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Lodge?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    What are the performance metrics of this investment? ie. If the public is paying out $3mln, it should return $3mln plus interest to the public purse, or someone’s butt should be on the line.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      What they say , a picture is worth a thousand words . That’s not a cat boat or Cayman schooner in the article photo . You look good and you will see mr chec on the deck of the ship .

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Andre Ebanks would be make a good chief officer for this new ministry.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    He is being prepped so the power stays in the family. We need independent thinks to solve problems, not hacks to keep the status quo.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else notice that Alden and this Government is now continuously doing the same exact things that they criticized Mac of doing years ago. Mac and his team of little fries had the foresight but they were soundly accused and criticized and now everyone seems happy with Alden and crew doing the same things. Cruise Dock, China Harbour, purchasing new airplanes, traveling around the world staying at 5 star hotels with a large entourage, Shetty hospital concessions and support, Cayman Enterprise City, rushed meetings of the LA with little opportunity for debate or public consultation, Dart control. The more things change the more they remain the same including the overspending by the PPM government which led us into significant debt

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  8. Little China says:

    Hope the environmental laws to protect our lands seas animals and fish are watertight. We know who’s just 1 step behind Hong Kong. Next headline “big trouble in little China” will be a reality as our sharks stingrays and fish populations are decimated by overfishing and pollution, and our remaining open land is covered in low cost high rise concrete blocks. My concern is the gov focus on $$ investment but at what real cost to this country. Research on what has happened in other countries getting cozy with foreign partners should be taken seriously.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes that is what we need, more ministries, more civil servants, more more more.

    At the end of the day, the UK will still control Cayman, like the puppets we are to them. But thank God the UK is still involved, can you imagine Aldart, Mo$es trump, mcchina bush running our country.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So right.

      More civil service bureaucracy created on the heels of the new WORC black hole to which another “girl friday” was appointed due to political connections.

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      • Anonymous says:

        What happened 3.24? Backed the wrong politician and now feeling disappointed and envious?

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        • Anonymous says:

          You’re so right!

          Don’t believe in using political connections to get ahead.

          Sorry, just me – you lazy sod!

  10. Just a question says:

    I see there is no mention about the new office in Washington supposedly opening as well.
    When in the UK the other week, the premier at the dinner for friends announced all of this, so I think it is funny he is now only telling the house and us.

    CNS, we would like to know the total cost of the Premiers last trip (including everyone),.
    I was told they stayed in the Conrad Hotel for 10 ten plus nights (for those that don’t know, this is one of the best hotels in London), I did some research online and the cost per night is around $600 per night, now there was the Premier, Tara, Roy Tatum, Al, Ezzard, Joey, the AG and a couple of others, we know that Al, Ezzard and Joey wasn’t in the UK for the hole time but my calculations show that approximately $35000 was spent just in hotel rooms, why do our officials have to stay in five star hotels at this sort of price.
    I mean if they’re going to spend that sort of money on hotels I wonder if they also had private transport for everyone or did they take the underground train?
    If a private car it would cost approximately another $500 per day per vehicle (now thats fo a crappy car). What was the budget for their meals and drinks?
    I’d also love to know the cost of the dinner for friends night, I here there was two hundred people invited for a three course dinner and free booze flowing till 1am with a DJ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      3:25am stop lying!

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    • Anonymous says:

      No mention is made of job creation under guise of consultation in another main Ministry. Job creation for an expat. No advertisement of the post. Nepotism runs rampant especially for favoured expats.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Austin the new Minister??????

    Oh Lord, My God!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe it will be Barbara or David!. One is angry all the time and the other is frightened all the time. I guess they have to use something to cover up their inefficiencies. Cooyah!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many books, pencils, paper and other educational needs this would have purchased.
    Alden and this greedy money grabbing bunch of sh1ts on both sides don’t care about the education of our children who are the future of this island.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    They need crappy overpriced cctv in Hong Kong?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Alden and Franz are preparing Eric Bush to be the next Deputy Governor of Cayman after he serving as the new Chief Officer of this ministry. God help the Cayman Islands

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    • Anonymous says:

      8:17pm, it could be worse – Franz could stay on beyond the next election and don’t run in West Bay after all😂

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      • UnCivil Servant says:

        Eric Bush is not qualified to hold current or previous posts in the civil service. He does not have a university degree and professional qualifications. Shirlaw’s courses do not count. How did he get those jobs besides being a Masonic brother? Another walking example of double standards promoted by Franz Manderson as Deputy Governor part of his vision for a world class civil service.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Uncivil stop being jealous and do some work. All fake news!!

          Eric has done an amazing job in London. I hope he returns and works in the new Ministry.

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          • Anonymous says:

            The point was he is not qualified. That is usually the basic criteria in any HR hire or promotion.

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            • Anonymous says:

              5:12. Fake news. Eric has a degree. His experience in London makes his more than qualified to lead this Ministry.

              • Anonymous says:

                I agree. I should also be promoted immediately to a job I am not qualified for, so that I will be qualified for the job above that one by virtue of previous experience.

        • Anonymous says:

          You hit the nail on the head….secure your lodge brother through thick and thin…..

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        • Anonymous says:

          Durk Banks, has a lawyer degree with honours, he will make a great chief officer

      • Anonymous says:

        8:17 stop the fake news. Thank you DG and Premier. Cayman is the envy of the caribbean and soon the world.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Best 5k in the world BoBo!

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          • Anonymous says:

            5:52. Absolutely. Maybe you should get out and run and give back to the community. Shame on you for making fun at Charity 5k that just help feed thousands of Caymanians. Shame shame on you.

            Thank you DG.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    And when Mac tried to do this they all but equated him to Lucifer.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s time to play the music
    It’s time to light the lights
    It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight…..

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  17. Anonymous says:

    It would have been cheaper and more effective to hire Maples & Calder and Walkers to carry out this work for CIG in Hong Kong. Both have large well established offices there and built in contacts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you read the Premier’s statement you will have seen that the private sector was involved in the decision making – including Maples and Walkers. So this is supported by them.

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      • Anonymous says:

        7:50 Not the same thing as having the 2 firms carry out the work. What makes you so certain that they supported this decision?

      • Anonymous says:

        Are they not the power behind the throne? They run things. See who the government consulted with re the 3 laws on Monday. Meanwhile the opposition was given one week to read the Bills.

    • Anonymous says:

      So…they’re so successful they need public money? Are you a Kirkconnell by any chance with that kind of thinking?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hey – why are you making fun about the Kirkconnell’s. They only spend money when they know that they are going to make a profit! So you should not be mad at them because of their savvy business skills – you go Moses, Gerry, Bryan and JT Kirkconnell!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      But it would not be the cover they need to do business with CHEC.

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    • Anonymous says:

      6.27pm So that’s what it’s all about eh, feathering your own nest?

  18. Anonymous says:

    So much could be said about this.

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