Local economy could contract by over 12%

| 27/05/2020 | 115 Comments
Cayman News Service
Finance Minister Roy McTaggart at Wednesday’s press briefing

(CNS): The Cayman Islands’ economy could contract by as much as 12.2% this year, according to Finance and Economic Development Minister Roy McTaggart. The gloomy forecast for the country’s short-term economic fortunes was not unexpected, but with the reality of a 19% unemployment rate, government will now need to create public sector jobs and fund local small businesses until tourism is back on its feet.

“It is disheartening for me to relay such bad news,” the minister said Wednesday. “Still, our government will continue to tell you the unvarnished truth, whether it be good or bad.”

McTaggart unveiled the broad parameters, though little detail, of the government’s much anticipated economic stimulus plan during the COVID-19 briefing. “The Cayman Islands Economic Assessment and Stimulus Plan” has been prepared by the Economics and Statistics Office with input from across both the public and private sectors, McTaggart said.

The minister indicated that the post-COVID economy will be heavily dependent on construction. A number of measures will be taken to streamline the project approval process for those waiting to get off the ground and more power will be given to the planning department to fast-track planning applications.

The minister said government will be expediting its own construction projects, such as the mental health unit, John Gray High School and the enhancement of the roads.

But he said there was nothing in this new plan that will help ‘green’ the local economy by encouraging environmentally friendly projects through special inducements to counter what could be a period of excessive development as government tries to fill the economic hole left by tourism.

Over the coming months government also plans to start a low cost loan programme for small business, create public sector jobs and make further efforts to diversify the local economy, with a focus on agriculture for domestic food security.

As well as expanding NiCE, the bi-annual clean-up programme, government will be creating work for local people directly with other community projects. However, the minister did not say how many jobs government believes it can create to replace an estimated loss of almost 3,000 that were held by Caymanians in tourism alone.

McTaggart said the government will provide very low cost loans as well as grants to save businesses. While speaking about soft funding of small business, he said that people would be given cash support to ensure no one goes without their basic needs and people keep spending in the economy.

The proposed economic stimulus plan will provide for those in need. But government has no plan in this stimulus package to restructure fees and taxes to take more from those who will benefit from the post-COVID economy, as opposed to those who have been hit hardest.

The government has based the plan on a best case scenario of reopening the local economy fully by the beginning of July 2020 then seeing a limited number of guests coming in October. In this scenario Cayman is expected to suffer an 11.4% decline in GDP with the unemployment rate rising to 11.6%. But if visitors do not return before the end of the year as a result of international economic developments, unemployment is expected to reach almost 20% among Caymanians and the GDP to fall by as much as 12.2%.

But if the measures implemented to date and in this plan work government could boost the GDP by around $184.9 million decreasing the decline to around 7.3%. McTaggart said.

The only economic good news the minister had, at least for the man in the street and small businesses, is the expected significant decline in inflation. Before COVID-19 landed on Cayman’s shores, inflation was rampant, running at a whopping 5.7%, which was making it very hard for many people even in the economic boom. But with the economy imploding, inflation is expected to drop to 0.4% this year, McTaggart said.

He said government would continue to evaluate and monitor the economy. “If other rounds of stimulus measures are needed, then we stand ready to do whatever is necessary to regain and maintain a strong economy,” McTaggart said.

“While the challenges are indeed enormous and may seem insurmountable, I would posit that our actions so far have left us in a strong position and well placed to eradicate COVID-19 from our community.”

The minister said Cayman had been safely navigating the single largest health disaster in a generation but government was committed to charting the next steps in the journey as well.

“We, as the government, will continue to be prudent while seeking out the best ways to impact the lives of our citizens in the most positive ways,” McTaggart added.

The ESO report is expected to be available to the public by early next week.

See the full briefing on CIGTV below:

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Category: Economy, Politics

Comments (115)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Imagine where we would be, if covid had hit us when McKeeva almost bankrupt Cayman and the UK had to implement spending controls.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unless our Minister of Financial Services actually makes some decisions (for a change) which she has been advised she needs to make by both industry and other Government departments or autonomous bodies, there is a high risk we will not come of the black list in October 2020 and the the FS industry will be dangerously exposed to contraction and more problems for Government. Reliance on an industry without taking the necessary decisions to protect it seems more than a bit foolish, and eminently avoidable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You can have any thing you want in life but you can’t have it all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is months behind the rest of the world and still cowering in fear. New Zealand is already open, except for the borders which will soon be open to Australia. Whether Cayman likes it or not, the US and other competing jurisdictions will soon be open for tourism, without weird restrictions like shoving a q-tip down the back of your nose, or putting you in 14 days quarantine. There will be ZERO tourism here under those regulations, and believe you me, Cayman is not going to survive for very long without tourism. Its a tough world, baby, but better to open the borders now rather than have the borders forced open in a year because there is no more money in the kitty. This would also have the advantage of saving hundreds of millions of dollars for both government and the private sector. Just throwing all that money away, smoking the “vaccine soon come weed” and waiting for the bankruptcy freight train to hit is absolute foolishness.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The only reason we have this buffer is because Marco Archer had the fortitude and ethics to make sure we save during the good times so when the bad time has come (and it is here) we at least have a cushion to brace it. Mr. Mctaggert is also right and is in the perfect position and stating the obvious. We shut down our government and it’s going to be bad for a long time. I’m the end it was for absolutely nothing and we will have to live with that as a world just not a nation. Who stood to gain? Look to Asia for your answer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Leave Marco where he is please! The man had no compassion or empathy for poor people

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fast track projects, how much faster can it go? There won’t be a mangrove in sight by 2022.

  7. Common Sense says:

    Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cayman Islands Government pursued an economic policy based on three, perhaps four, principal pillars, namely: financial and insurance services; tourism; healthcare tourism and (at a stretch) innovative technology. Although hugely important, the construction sector is more transient and cannot itself be considered a “pillar”.

    While the Government’s economic policy was well intentioned, the financial and insurance services sector is essentially the only pillar left standing during this pandemic. All other pillars have been decimated for now.

    Whilst the financial and insurance services sector’s resilience should be much applauded, this sector alone cannot rescue the Cayman Islands. After all, over 60% of the gross domestic product of the Cayman Islands is not directly related to the financial and insurance services sector. And over 85% of the country’s population is not employed in that sector.

    The Government must identify an additional pillar or two in its economic policy for beyond this pandemic. Identifying resilient pillars is no easy task, particularly for a small remote nation as the Cayman Islands. It requires thinking beyond the box. Far, far beyond it.

    But an untapped pillar may lie at the Government’s doorstep. That new pillar would be based on solid public private partnerships and the creation of a sovereign wealth fund. Such partnerships would not necessarily require any cash investment on the part of the Government. And even if they did, it could be debt equity well spent.

    The new public private partnerships could relate to greenfield projects such as those concerning waste management, broadband transmission networks, and real estate developments.

    Equally, the Government should consider investing in existing businesses. For example, many operating licenses are soon coming up for renewal. The licenses granted in the electricity, water treatment, ICT and fuel sectors immediately spring to mind.

    Each of these licenses was never granted forever. The Government has every right not to renew them or to renew them on vastly different terms. Or indeed to renegotiate them where licensees are in continued breach of their licenses such as by continually failing to deliver promised services. CUC’s “exclusive” electricity transmission and distribution licence, for example, expires in 2028 thereby leaving much room for Government negotiations. It is not alone as Cayman Water Company’s licence renewal negotiations are ongoing.

    Much of the profits from these licensed businesses is transferred out of the Cayman Islands. These profits are substantial. Shareholders in CUC, for example, have enjoyed significant dividends for many years. Net earnings for 2019 increased by $2.3 million over net earnings of $26.8 million in 2018.

    The Cayman Islands and its people do not benefit once these profits are transferred to shareholders abroad. Why should such massive amounts of money leave these islands? Why should our people and country not benefit from such cash cows?

    Many will be shocked at the suggestion of public private partnerships or the creation of a sovereign wealth fund. They will argue that such partnerships or a fund will be politicised and corrupted. They will argue that its impossible for the Government to be involved in running a business. Licensees will argue you cannot take their licences away or renegotiate them.

    But each would be wrong. Many countries have established very successful sovereign wealth funds and public private partnerships. And have rolled out transparent mechanisms to ring fence these structures from political intervention and corruption.

    Many countries have also very successfully and effectively invested in national businesses. And many countries have revoked or renegotiated licences.

    Think about the overwhelming public benefits resulting from such a new pillar. To start, Cayman would be better protected from any future shocks beyond its control. Profits from Caymanian strategic assets would remain within the Cayman Islands. If its business investments are managed correctly, they could give off cash for the people of the Cayman Islands in perpetuity.

    Further, a part of these profits could be annually invested in healthcare and education initiatives, while the remainder could be carefully invested in a largely untouchable sovereign wealth fund.

    The Government should look closely at the opportunities that lie on its doorstep. Worth a look at least.

    • Anonymous says:

      Innovation technology is a joke in the Cayman Islands. Simply not realistic because we do not have the education system.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Did you buy an expensive piece of real estate for example a condo on South Sound in last 4 or 5 years

    Please insert your comments in the thread below

  9. Anonymous says:

    Did someone forget to inform the real estate agents of this?

  10. Anonymous says:

    What is interesting is what was not spoken about openly at the meeting. While the MOF stated that tourism accounts for 20% of the economy the ESO’s own reports indicate an on island spend of CI $733,200,000 for 2018 from both stay over and cruise tourism. When you grow this for what is already known about in 2019 (+8% stay over, relatively static cruise) and expected for 2020 it then becomes well over CI$800 Million or a Billion US$, yes a Billion!!!
    If you remove Q1 2020 then we are likely to lose something like CI$700 Million in on island spend from tourism if we don’t get tourists back this year. Think about the overall implication of that and what that means for both individuals and businesses here.
    These numbers do NOT include money spent by foreign nationals (mainly visitors) on buying Cayman real estate which is a significant driver of our construction industry and which both the MOF and Premier have referred to as being very important.
    Yesterday’s briefing was more about the government’s finances and less about the overall impact the governments approach was going to have on the general economy. Yes GDP reductions were discussed but these become less meaningful when talked about as a percentage number. Removing CI$ 700 million from on island spending in hotels, restaurants, taxis, water sports operators, retail establishments and other support services is much more understandable and impactful.
    There needs to be an open debate about the holistic impact the governments strategy is going to have on the whole population. Rather than use a more incremental approach as to when to decide when tourists could come back, the Government, without any consultation with the private sector, have unilaterally decided to close all ports until September 1st. The Premier is now on record as saying this date is looking doubtful. This is all happening at the same time as comparable countries are talking about opening up in June, July and August! It is time for the Government to stop acting in a unilateral way and to start serious consultations with the private sector about when it will reopen the economy to tourism and other services which require foreign travel.

    • Anonymous says:

      I find the 12 percent projection is way off the mark…. Tourism is headcount intensive so are are the attached services to tourism. We are talking about a loss of revenue to CIG that will be at least well within 40 percent. The loss of tourism will severely impact revenue from duty , hotel room tax and business licences all. If our present CIG was reasonable it will not keep people unemployed locked on the island. At this point this government is making decisions based on FEAR and is giddy with the power it grants them over the population (one of the reason they act in complete disdain of the population while donning the mask of compassion). I a few weeks this government will have no choice but to acknowledge the damage some of the policies has wrought and i would not like to be in their seat.

  11. Anonymous says:

    free (or money making) solutions:
    legalise casino’s in hotels (only allow non-caymanians entry if you are worried about locals being corrupted)
    create weed tourism(only allow non-caymanians access if you are worried about locals being corrupted)
    reduce either civil service salaries or job numbers by 10%. this can be reversed as economy improves
    treble all speeding and dangerous driving fines…this will save lives too.
    allow full sunday trading….this will also help ease crwding at supermarkets on other days.
    sell turtle farm
    sell cayman airways under strict condition that a purchaser must maintain airlift capabalities in times of national emergency.
    revise sunday liqour/dancing laws. not allowing tourists to dance on a sunday is beyond belief in 2020.
    bring in uber/lyft. easy money making job for unemployed locals and will end the rip-off taxi cartel once and for all.

    • Anonymous says:

      create weed tourism(only allow non-caymanians access if you are worried about locals being corrupted) drop dead sh/t for brains.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you want to see money laundering from China take off here just establish casinos. They are the perfect vehicle for a Chinese money laundering as places such as Vancouver in Canada have discovered the past few years.

      We certainly do not need casinos here.

  12. Vera says:

    A sobering report by a realist – nice to watch someone who understands their subject and does not politicize anything. Minister McTaggart is probably quite upset that the fruits of all his Ministry’s hard work and fiscal responsibility have been destroyed in a matter of two months.

    Despite proclamations of being different for the rest of the world and planning to lead the way in extinguishing Covid from our borders, we seem to have pretty much copied the rest of the world in terms of locking down our citizens and destroying our economy.

    Our projected larger economic contraction than other Worldwide and Caribbean nations, could be due to our longer than average lock down and the very slow stimulus response to the government’s shut down of our economy. Either way I hope cayman don’t use it as a badge of honor and pretend that we are a better nation than others as we exit the recession.

    In my humble opinion, any recovery will come from hard work, out of the box policies and financial responsibility and the time for comparison with other nations can come later.

    The government is responsible for closing Cayman’s economy down and they need to lead by example with the help of (rather than reliance on) the private sector going forward.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If all the displaced had been given some competent career guidance, and maybe educational loans a couple months ago, they’d already be halfway through the first of their online vocational courses. The number of online universities, vocational schools, and technical institutes offering accredited certification classes online is staggering. The Cayman Islands needs better career guidance channeling and at an earlier stage in life. Not everyone should be getting full CIG subsidy for their doomed CI shot glass and oven mitt business model downtown. Many of these should be allowed to go out of business.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Dump The Dump is what would bring all residents to their knees. Once the fire gets out of control. It was just practicing in preparation for The big bang. This is not scaremongering. This is chemistry and physics 101. Was it located on the farthest end of the island with prevailing wind out to sea, it would have been a different story, still ugly, but not as bad as it’s now

    • Anonymous says:

      If we have another Hurricane Ivan THE DUMP will bring us to our knees. The bomb is ticking. Only a matter of time.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Roy duckin’ so he don’t need to worry. Don’t panic though, we have Saunders to save us.

    • Gray Matter says:

      Now you tell me how is the Minister Ducking… when he is putting out the bottom line of gloom and doom…. NO ICEING ON THE CAKE. You must be ignorant.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your comprehension is remedial level. Check back in 11 months and see if Roy is running.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wages will go down, prices will go up, all to benefit the wealthy. Using covid as an excuse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Real estate prices will drop for a few years before they stabilize again.

      • Anonymous says:

        People said this after last financial crisis. Never happened. You will actually have to open for business though.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Boi u smart😂

  18. Anonymous says:

    Okay here is one put up.

    Turn Grand Cayman into the Caribbean Las Vegas. Build it and they will come (referring to our beloved US visitors).
    Here is what Cayman can build:
    1. Casino’s of varying degrees – ie 3 star, 4 star, 5 star ratings
    2. Strip clubs (for both men and women)
    3. Allow slot machines to be played in gas stations, restaurants, shoppes
    4. World class buffets
    5. Gift shops.
    6. Various World Poker Tour events
    7. Sports gambling
    8. World class magic shows, concerts, etc
    9. International sporting events (ie host an American football game,
    have an English Premier league match, host an NBA game)
    10. Think big, build it and the Americans will come back.

    There, now that I have saved the Cayman economy, let us get on with life.


    Mo$e$ Trump wannabee

    There now I just saved the economy

    • Anonymous says:

      God no

    • Anonymous says:

      ha ha

    • Anonymous says:

      🤔😮hmmm…you get my credit for being bold.

      At least you’re thinking outside the box instead of waiting for a miracle that would get you back to the outdated tourism model you’ve been running for decades.

      My suggestion is to turn your islands in a playground for rich nd famous by going green, as green as you possibly can. Set a new trend for as ecologically pristine environment as it could possibly be under the circumstances. Charging triple won’t be a problem for them.

      For that to happen the Dump must be gone and Ultra modern waste management system implemented. Japanese do that. They’re second to none.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice idea but we don’t have enough “nature” to pull of the “ecotourism” model. We are good on the beach and diving front but not so good on the flora and fauna front.

    • Anonymous says:

      An Island already tried to become the Las Vegas of the Caribbean in the 50s.
      It ended poorly for the elites and those in charge.

    • Anonymous says:

      You had me by # 2 .

    • Anonymous says:

      Bring in the Chinese money laundering with casinos. Really dumb idea.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Anybody in the tourism sector that has a cayman passport and a bank statement should get a CI$2000 per month payout per month from Government per couple. Especially tour operators and taxis operators over 60 years old. There is no job they will be good for except seating down. They don’t need it, they can sign a document saying they have money. Young people need training hopefully in the construction field. If Cayman Enterprise city is going well they must be something from their side that can open technology or medical pharmaceuticals. It’s time to make it easier to get help from gov’t for elderly.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Was the ‘rise’ in monthly payments plus a retroactive payment for Jan-May for government pensioners included yet others still have to live on a little over 1,000 a month and the government cannot do anything in influencing the private pension providers. Well deserved for tbose government pensioners who deserve it but how many others like McKeeva and list goes on. Will they give it up? Are all citizens not supposed to be treated equally? Huh?

  21. Anonymous says:

    6.16pm How about telling government to listen and move forward rather than telling posters to put up or shut up!

  22. Anthony Smith says:

    The issue of eradicating COVID is not a short term goal. Learning to live with it and adapting to the new normal is the way to go. Massive public education on how to live with this pandemic is a must. We must promote health and safety and also economic survival. We have to ride and whistle.

  23. Anonymous says:

    so 8 weeks later…this is the economic recovery plan???
    toiurism ..you’re screwed..we have no plan
    financial services….finger crossed you’ll be ok
    construction… keep going and we will make things easier for you. however what happens when demand stops in construction…which happens in every recession?

    • Party Politricks 101 says:

      Joey Hew is clueless and unqualified to lead anything including the PPM party. He believes construction politics is the key to establishing him as the next leader.

      Yesterday’s press briefing showed us all the PPM actually have a candidate to lead the party that has those characteristics with a sobering presentation which demonstrated his professional competence and leadership qualities. His name is Roy McTaggart.

      Minister McTaggart should be the front runner to lead the party ahead of Joey Hew, Moses Kirkonnell, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Tara Rivers but is not, for reasons only Alden McLaughlin and Kurt Tibbetts can explain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep. Going to throw all our resources at a sector which has short term demand to build on partially constructed projects because they are financed and being built against stage payments, but has no medium term prospects – kicking the construction unemployment can down the road 3 to 6 months. And in doing so adding to what is likely to be significant oversupply in the housing, retail and commercial space given the general 11% reduction on the economy, and exacerbate problems for landlords and those living off rental income.

      By McTaggarts admission its because they see that the sector has the highest propensity to spend – most of the money gets recirculated into the local economy – so its an easy way of providing short term economic stimulus without the government having to spend a bean. Bit like the pensions giveaway – let the private sector spend money to try and prop up local demand. Unfortunately both initiatives have the same problem – they are temporary stop gaps to prop up demand, with longer term consequences.

      What we dont see if government intervening to help other business adapt or survive. Where are the moratoriums against debt enforcement, where is the revision to the Companies Law to allow restructuring as an alternative to liquidation – that’s been pushed for by the private sector for over 2 years and was supposedly a priority after the virus hit, where are the retraining schemes for Caymanians in the hardest hit sectors, where are the support schemes for those hardest hit (because the construction industry trickle down sure isnt going to be evenly distributed), where are the fuel duty interventions to reduce the single largest cost of doing business and cost of living on the island?

      All that costs money, true, but it seems the governments use o fiscal tools to stimulate the economy is limited to paying the majority of the civil service to sit at home and the RCIPS to spend money like water ( anyone else notice how many SUVs with rental plates are now driving around, let alone the constant helicopter flying to ensure people aren’t on the beach and all the overtime guarding the supermarket queues. That is, until the money runs out, bat which point the government wants to borrow another $500 million so we can repeat. Some money spent on longer term solutions like retraining and sufficient funds to moth ball tourist businesses until normalcy returns might be a little more complicated to enact but have longer term effect.

      • Anonymous says:

        Award winning comment. The currency of politics is power. Cant have power without God or money. They won’t have much of either in 12 months time.

        Most pension funds will be out to reinvest in real estates markets that don’t try to screw the last investor to prop up hardware stores and Govt finances.

  24. Anonymous says:

    i want this asked at next press conference:
    why wasn’t civil service reformed in line with recommendations in miller-shaw and e&y reports?
    if it wasn’t done before ..surely now is the time to bring in these reform measures.

    and the excuse of ‘we can’t lay-off locals’ is pure garbage that runs counter to basic principals of sound financial mangement

    • Anonymous says:

      @10.05 Bobo, that gravy train ain’t stopping for no-one!

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately the civil service makes up a large portion of the voting population

    • Anonymous says:

      Civil service reform as outlined in the Miller-Shaw and E & Y reports is certainly required. Problem we have, is that excellent reports are done in so many areas such as this and solving THE DUMP but there is zero political will in CIG to pay any attention to reforms.

      That is why I am somewhat depressed about our future here.

  25. Anonymous says:

    simple solution if…if your income is down by 15%…reduce your expenditure by 15%.
    why cig is proceeding with road projects is total madness. even in the best of times, their road expansion works have achieved nothing.
    bottom line is cig is willing to let expats in the private sector go to the wall at the expense of preserving the local social welfare programmes(aka civil service)

    • Anonymous says:

      So true- in any business , if you are predicting a reduction in Revenues then Expenditures have to be cut by a similar amount otherwise the result is bankruptcy. Pretty obvious I would think but I heard absolutely nothing from our Finance Minister re. cutting expenditure! I’m sorry but we can no longer afford 5 1/2 thousand civil servants sat at home receiving full salary. Either numbers or salaries have to be cut ( or both) isn’t this so obvious?

      • Anonymous says:

        yep..ppm spent us into bankruptcy before….looks like they have not learnt their lesson

        • Anonymous says:

          Not a civil servant but its one thing Govt is doing right. They need to borrow money now and start giving it away. Like the EU, like the US and even Jamaica. They need to give away the surplus instead of hoarding it. If they stop paying civil servants that would be bad probably take out the credit union and then Cayman National. Capital project important roads OK, school better airport good.. Goverment needs to spend spend spend… They can cut some of the salaries at the top though.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. If income is down by 15% you should reduce expenditure by 20% to allow some wiggle room in case income declines further (because it will)!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Just gonna leave this here.

    “The minister indicated that the post-COVID economy will be heavily dependent on construction. A number of measures will be taken to streamline the project approval process for those waiting to get off the ground and more power will be given to the planning department to fast-track planning applications.”

    Laugh laugh, fast track more projects, are you saying it was slow before?

    I personally(My job) can tell you products for construction and in home products are in short supply manufactures can not produce appliances and essential items for homes any more.

    Even if you build more housing the supply will not be there. Fast track more low quality high pricing housing/condos isn’t the answer to the solution.

    It’s the answer because it’s massive amount of income for the CIG in a short term outcome.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well they will be able to produce those products soon and will, what are you smoking?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think people forget that theses product take hundreds of parts to produce one product. Soon and will? Have you spoke to manufactures? the supply is shutting down because manufactures in china have shut down. Where currently operating on reserves that were in warehouses around the globe.

  27. Anonymous says:

    So good to see an educated professional as a minister of government.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Roy, your numbers are optimistic. There is no prospect of ANY tourists this year. There is an inevitability of running short of funds that will be desperately needed by the Caymanian people. The civil service is already overinflated. What is government doing to save wasteful expenditure that does not directly assist the population? Can Alden really not afford a 20% pay cut, and why the hell are we paying Mac anything?

    • Anonymous says:

      His numbers come from the ESO, an organization unable to determine with any accuracy something as straightforward as how many people live here! They also take no realistic account of the thousands who, despite still having jobs, are receiving no or substantially reduced wages.

  29. Anonymous says:

    This is unfortunate news but if things keep progressing the way they are and some tourism returns by the end of the year things might be better than many people had expected. Will it be a recession, yes, but perhaps the duration will be limited and unemployment will return to reasonable levels relatively quickly.

    What I fear is that the government will try to raise company, partnership and regulatory fees to try to reduce the shortfall. The problem is that while this might provide some help in the short term, in the long term it will have disastrous effects on Cayman’s financial services industry. With the negative publicity from the blacklist, economic substance legislation, beneficial ownership registers, more costly and cumbersome regulatory oversight, limited banking options and a constantly changing AML regime we are barely hanging on to our international clients as it is. Raising fees would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    I hope the government and its advisors realise that this would be the wrong way to try and make up budget shortfalls, but I fear it will be an easier option and more palatable to the electorate than imposing a property or payroll tax. Of course no one wants those either. Some tough years and difficult decisions ahead.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Too little too late. The suggestion is to go down the voter registry and cut cheques of $5,000.00 each and every and $2,500 for every child under 16.

    They want people to spend they say. Got to helicopter it not give it to the people who will only pay their rents.

    250 million should go in now! Not setting up a line of credit for $500 miilion and waiting and seeing. They need a psychologist or a behavioural scientist… People not going to spend if they see suffering around them, doesn’t make spending comfortable so they will hold back savings rates will soar.

    Even Jamaica introduced direct payment to all not just the impacted.

    The infrastructure works projects are helpful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very true, I have money to spend and I’m holding on to it. With so many suffering, I’m not rubbing it into anyone’s face the new car I was planning on purchasing or any other major or for that matter minor expenditure. Sorry retail, unless something is broken and I have to replace it, I’m not spending any money in the short to mid term.

      • Anonymous says:

        12 thumbs down on the last post shows why we have the leaders we have.

        And the planning laws, they have allowed so much shit lots of neighbourhoods look like a real dump.

        I’ve been riding my bicycle again, and over the last 10 years they’ve let people build on smaller and smaller lots or they just haven’t Enforced anything.

        We went from sand filled yards and cottages to ricktey shanty towns mere half miles to mansions.

        Place looks like a dump. Maybe they should pass some laws to knock down some of this crap that has sprouted up and reinstitue minimum lot size to. 25

        Might be a good idea to move some people and Govt workers to BRAC

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t know why this got so many thumbs down. It’s basically Keynesian economics – transfer money From government to those with a high propensity to spend to maximize reflationary effect. The Premier as much as admitted that’s why they are not cutting civil service pay even for those that are doing nothing. It’s a fiscal measure to inject consumer demand. Of course, it only works if people spend the money and spend it locally – doesn’t help if they order stuff on Amazon or put it in the bank.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Finally there was someone who was expressing sensible information instead of the constant rubbish that keeps coming out of the three stooges at every meeting. Hope this will be a regular thing going forward, perhaps the Premier and Health minister could just go do some work as they have so much to do anyway and our Governor can keep arranging flights. Keep the Doctor, Police Commissioner and the Hazard Management office. Please don’t bring in Joey and Julianna anymore.
    Thank you Minister McTaggart.

    • Anonymous says:

      yes, at moving forward, we should have MoF at every meeting instead of the MoH.

    • Anonymous says:

      Keep Alden, Jon-Jon and the travel agent Gov in their offices and let Minster McTaggart do the briefings along with the doctor and Hazard Management. Ms. Bush can rely questions for the others to them and they can answer in writing.Was a breath of fresh air yesterday until Alden started talking about iguana culling! Forget Jon-Jon as that is always just a load of manure.

  32. Anonymous says:

    And where has he been hiding for the past 2 months while we’ve had to listen to dross about Mary and Joseph and a donkey?

  33. Anonymous says:

    I have a Masters in Economics, so I am really looking forward to seeing the detail on the predictions that suggest that we will still have inflation, albeit at very low levels, despite losing 12 % of GDP and in the face of a massive increase in our largest cost driver, fuel, and a likely massive reduction in rent.

    The economics world has always found stagflation – the concept of stagnant GDP growth being accompanied by inflation, which reflect demand exceeding supply, – surprising and an intellectual challenge despite clear manifestation in Japan. In Cayman we are going to break new ground in ,macroeconomics and have positive inflation despite losing a ninth of our GDP and a huge drop in primary cost drivers. That is either inconsistent forecasting assumptions or something horribly wrong with our markets (to be fair we know that when oil prices drop oligopoly here ensures that is not reflected in pump prices), but either way if its correct rather than just crap forecasting its the basis of a Nobel prize for someone who can work out how Cayman defies the generally accepted principles of economics.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Why is Cayman predicting a greater drop in GDP than other Caribbean nations with a far greater reliance on tourism, and many without a financial services sector? Noting as well that the benchmark being used are completely independent studies by the IMF, ass compared to home brewed ESO predictions. 6:00 p,m theory of embellishing bad news now, so subsequent results look good by comparison, may have some legs.

    • Anonymous says:

      They plan to open. We don’t know if we will open because the ethos is the government protects everyone from risk no matter what it costs.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the price of food will come down because we are all broke.

  36. Anonymous says:

    The planning department is the last department that the government should put in charge of fast-tracking anything. They have difficulties responding to basic email queries and keeping their voicemail messages relevant.

    I also can’t understand why there is nothing in this new plan that will help ‘green’ the local economy. The removal of import duties on battery storage solutions would go a long way to new opportunities for employment and help residents reduce their electricity bills and become more energy independent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lead by a joker at the top #JOEYWHO

    • Anonymous says:

      The NiCE teams should be deployed to paint the bike corridors blue, stencil, and drill in the bollards and anti-vehicle humps. West Bay Rd/south church, ETH, and LPH for starters. These were promised by Hew, long ago budgeted and paid for in the NRA master Road Plan 2015-20. Get mad Cayman! We need to ask why our broke gov’t needs to borrow $500mln to pay for things three times!

      • Anonymous says:

        No we need to stop these social welfare programs. What needs to happen is that money that we pay NICE needs to go to NAU or after school programs. What we truly need is community service.

        DUI, no insurance, excessive speeding, dangerous driving, Parking in the middle of the road (which I saw someone do on the bypass around a corner).. the list goes on for traffic offenses.

        Other offenses like criminals serving a life sentence should be out doing community service. Anyone released on parole should be out doing community service.

        Poachers? Make them clean up all the litter on every beach on island.

        We have a chance to actually help our island become quite beautiful but also showing people we mean business when it comes to breaking the laws.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      If you are talking about alternative energy storage, those batteries are already duty free.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the feedback. Code 8541.10.00 has a 0% rate (i.e. solar panels for residential use). However 85.06 (in particular 8506.50.00) attracts a 22% rate (i.e. lithium batteries). These are the rates provided by CBC so if you have a reference to something different please share it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lets make it clear , CUC does not like anything it cannot control … and at the present time the CORE program is dead in the water and there are no plans for storage of the production of the CORE program , meaning you are left out with going EDR or off grid, hardly coherent with the lofty goals of making the island autonomous and resilient in terms of its energy needs is it ?

  37. Anonymous says:

    All the Minister has to do is ask CNS posters for ideas for a stimulus. come on posters. You have the solutions to every problem. You have been second guessing the Government for years. Now put up or shut up.

    • R U Kidding Me says:

      The Minister most likely has been told by our Premier that CNS posters are the most brave and stupid. Listening to the people is definitely not their MO

    • Captain Obvious says:

      They should follow their usual course: raise customs duty on everyday items, squeeze some more out of golden goose aka financial services and hope it keeps laying golden eggs, increase travel taxes, and make it difficult/expensive to hire from overseas to get globally competitive
      staff. Don’t cut the civil service! But I’m not so sure we can count on competing jurisdictions to screw up as much as they have in the past.
      Also, I am not sure foreigners who purchased property here are happy to endure a 14-day quarantine or wait until 2021 to enjoy the benefits for which they have invested their money in Cayman. Assuming there is anything left to do here for fun once the island is reopened. Good thing we Caymanians are good seamen as there are always jobs in the merchant marine.

      • Anonymous says:

        ha, ha,

      • Anonymous says:

        Best seamen in the entire world!

        • Anonymous says:

          Not at all, 11:34, they were just the cheapest to employ at the time, a role taken over nowadays by Filipinos, Indians and others from very depressed economies in the world.

      • Anonymous says:

        Think all the jobs in the merchant marine were taken long ago by Filipinos, Indonesians and Eastern Europeans. Not sure you could compete with their wages if your family and home is in one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

      • Anonymous says:

        The foreigners who bought here better be in for the long haul if they want to finally see a return on their investment. 4 or 5 years and prices will come back again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, open the economy fully, open the border, protect the vulnerable. Stay at home if you are high risk. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, right. The economy in the U.S., which provides about 90% of Cayman’s tourists (stayover and cruise), is in such great shape that hoards of tourists are going to flock to our expensive island and solve all our problems.

        • Anon says:

          Actually you would be surprised at how many people in the US still have money to spend and cant wait to escape particularly in cities…

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ll be surprised when I see “how many” it is. I’m sure there are some rich folks that know Cayman and who will come, but the numbers won’t be anywhere near what they used to be and they’ll get us nowhere near solving our economic problems. Now, if we strategically decide to abandon our desire to attract cheapskate cruise tourists bringing COVID-19 and every flu known to man to our shores virtually every day, and start catering to high-end tourism (including boutique cruises, which is going to be BIG in the future) in the long run, this could work out. But that’s a long-term solution to an immediate problem.

  38. Anonymous says:

    A fair presentation by the minister but the contraction of the economy will not be nearly as dramatic as he has suggested. I predict the govt will break even for 2020 vs the $200M deficit he is forecasting. Next year is election and the PPM are positioning to boast of their exception skill in achieving a substantially better performance than anyone (except me!) could have imagined.

    • Anonymous says:

      Based on what revenue? With no tourism apart from the direct hit to government revenues, there is the billion dollar spend and all of the associated work permits for next year. The Cayman Government will be bankrupt in less than nine months, along with all of the tourism businesses.

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