Tourism sector stacked against Caymanians

| 20/06/2020 | 106 Comments

J. A. Roy Bodden writes: Bravo to the premier for finally realising that tourism is not an ideal pillar on which build the Caymanian economy. There is no need for me to repeat the ills mentioned by the premier as his catalogue is comprehensive enough. I must add, though, that the greatest hindrance is found in what the academics call “leakage”. This means that all the income derived from the tourism product eventually makes its way out of the Cayman Islands, as shown in the next paragraph.

The resorts, for the most part, are foreign owned, the senior management are foreigners, the food and beverages are imported goods, and to add to an already burdensome equation, which is stacked against Caymanians, is the fact that cheap unskilled labour is sourced outside these islands, thus forcing Caymanians out of the industry in all but token numbers.

During my presidency at the University College I had the responsibility of chairing the council which drafted the Hospitality School Curriculum and Plans. The committee was representative of the industry and was completed by other professionals. Over the course of four years a modern, attainable and robust plan was conceived.

In spite of my reservations, I thought that there was a great possibility that this time would be different. The minister of tourism seemed interested and supportive, the stakeholders who were part of the planning process seemed committed, and upon the appointment of a director and the recruitment of trainees, all the elements seemed aligned for a resounding success.

Then it happened, as it has always happened in this (‘us’ and ‘them’) colonial society. The rules began to change and the young, dynamic, eager and willing Caymanian graduates came face to face with reality. It was never intended for them to be more than tokens in an industry owned and dominated by an uncharitable expatriate elite.

But I was not fooled, for from the position of chairman I read the body language and the nuanced behaviour of those whose arrogance betrayed their true motives.

The council had many genuine members, and they will always have my respect. There were, however, too many whose motives were false, hypocritical and disingenuous, for they had no intention of elevating young trained Caymanians.

The minister, in my opinion, deserves some credit for his support of the initiative. His failure to insist that the young capable graduates get more than token employment, however, detracted from his earlier commitment.

The current disruption has been emphatic in its revelation that neither cruise nor stay-over tourism is suitable for us to build our economy upon.

The only way to control the future is to invent it. It is my studied opinion that we should use this current disruption to see how creative we can be in establishing an economy which is internally driven with the least dependence upon volatile, exploitative and uncontrollable external forces.

This comment was made in response to: Premier: Stay-over tourism a massive failure

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Category: Business, Tourism, Viewpoint

Comments (106)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What we always hear is what the worker has to do. Why don’t you have fewer children? Why with them? Do you realize that workers in the hotel, condo business work 6 days a week and make $4.50 per hour? People in that industry have a season. They work for 6 months and make decent money than 6 months starving half of what they made. The bills didn’t go down, in fact, they went higher. Why did they go higher? Because the owners of gas stations were foreigners? No. The grocery store owners were foreigners? No. Some were though and when they came here, they found cheap rent, cheap food, cheap beer. Why a studio in town was $110-250 per month and you were paid $1000 per month. So that was in 1979-1983.
    So you’re telling me foreigners not making an extra US$ 105,000 per year on income taxes saved per person? Come on stop the nonsense. Pay $10 per hour minimum and coordinated for different nonskilled and skilled workers. Say for domestic workers who get food, transportation, laundry, 2-3 meals, etc less pay. But workers working in hotels get free rent or half rent. Imagine people are now charging $2000-2500 per month and people working making $6 per hour? Disgraceful, not even in Mexico or Cuba is life this hard or ridiculous.
    The cost of living has to go down or wages up. It can’t work any other way.
    From the days of unions for seamen, it seems some of you don’t know, that National bulk Carriers ran from NYC also. NMU( National Maritime Union)fought for many Caymanians who went after US citizenship after WW2 while working for National Bulk Carriers. But when the time came those Caymanians said to their comrades’ no-no we don’t want to be ungrateful. Mr. Ludwig was nice to us. Well US ship companies changed how many crew members could sleep together, food got better, felt you were being abused union had lawyers phone numbers to solve any problem. The union also had training for any dept to improve yourself for a better license. Then after 20 years of work you had a pension. Why can’t we have the same ideas here done by Gov’t without having unions? Its time!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So I assume when the tourist is here and support local restaurants that does not benefit Caymanians? How about the “sourced labour” do they rent from Caymanians? Does the Gas stations and rental companies benefit? Does the airport tax on visitors benefit? I could go on but the conversation needs to be had about how the hotels and businesses attached are foreign owned when the law says all business should be 60% Caymanian owned. The complexity is manufactured by our own systems or lack there of.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “I’m a victim” mentality and culture at its finest. Gets you nowhere in a hurry.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t (in reality) a complex problem to solve and it’s not a problem that generates from overseas hotel owners, overseas management or overseas workers. The islands need inward investment and the responsibility for setting the framework of that inward investment is not with the investors but the government. The trail leads back to government.

    The islands don’t produce the food, drink, beds, chairs, tables (the list goes on) that people need and want to stay here which means they have to be imported and those imports, in attracting duties, provide income to the government.

    On the issue of low wages. That shouldn’t be an issue: if minimum wages were significantly increased by government the hotels and related wouldn’t go away but pass that cost on to visitors and that wouldn’t be a huge difference in what they pay now. That’s back to government. How does that impact on overseas workers? Well, that’s back to government too.

    Mr Bodden is quite right. This is an internally driven matter that can be so easily be remedied internally and, at the same time, attract even more visitors. This ought be to the good of us all to whom these wonderful islands with our overwhelmingly lovely people make our homes together.

  5. Anonymous says:

    KY$6. Seriously? When I and a few buddies go out for dinner the check is always North of KY$300. That’s a KY$45 tip minimum as long as the service is up to snuff. Serve 6 tables at a shift…..
    You can add up right?

    • Anonymous says:

      You do know the top doesn’t just go to the server. Right?

      • Anonymous says:

        Doesn’t matter. With your American tourists tipping 15-20% there is plenty to share with the busser and seater. Why do you think all the 20-somethings from Canada and EU act so happy all the time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Too proud to realise that your own people have sold you out. From the land owners to the elected officials who should be providing future generations with the tools to succeed but don’t.

    It hurts but you can turn it around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our people you say? You mean paper Caymanians?

      • Anonymous says:

        Paper caymanians? Divisive comment. Get over it caymanians whether e paper or lineage do contribute to building this country.

        Ask yourself, what have you done lately?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cry me a river, cry me a river! I can just hear the song… Nothing is or was stacked against Caymanians, other than short-sighted politicians who sold out this country on the cheap. No matter which government was in charge, the CIG always flew by the seat of its pants – including the one that you were part of. No vision, no long-term plans, plenty of corruption, and looking for ways to make some quick money to fill in the gaping holes resulting from poor stewardship, governance, and did I say corruption?

    Juxtapose this with Dart’s meticulous approach, which although seems very cold, is entirely professional and clinical. You want to talk about vision, there’s vision. You want to talk about quality, there’s quality. If it’s Monopoly he’s playing, he’s got far more pieces of the board than anyone else. Slow, strategic, thoughtful expansion… CIG, completely clueless regarding their next move. Need one say more?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Roy, first you (the politicians) sold your country, now you’re selling out your kids. There is lots of money to be made in the tourist and trade industries. Instead of farming out the jobs to the lowest bidder you ought to have taught and trained all those who did not become accountants, lawyers or doctors to do respectable jobs (with pride). Blaming things on invisible “colonial masters” may serve you well when trying to sell books, but does little to solve problems. The blame lies not with others, but with your relatives who shaped this country, with yourself, who had a chance to make changes, and with your countrymen who did the same. Passing the buck, crying foul, and looking for excuses is lame, lame, lame.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tourism sector and Aldart stacked against Caymanians…hope you’re still getting paid..oink oink

  10. Anonymous says:

    All jobs that require you to actually show up every day and put in a full days work, week after week, month after month, are stacked against (a certain group of) Caymanians. Tourism jobs are all about customer service. Be nice. Be courteous. Show up every day amd put in the work. It’s not rocket science. This is the land of opportunity. Sincere appologies to the many hard working Caymanians who have to listen to this BS about “Caymanians” in general.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a Caymanian Retiree after 40 years with two sick days on the job, doing exactly what you mention at first part of your comment!

      • Anonymous says:

        And you, sir or madam, are not the problem. You exemplify the kind of hard work ethic your generation was known for. However, some (it’s a significant number, though probably not the majority) of the younger generation are not like you and feel entitled to earn a good living without putting in the work in school or on the job. Instead of the kind of tough love these people need (and probably didn’t get from their parents growing up), politicians pander to them with empty promises and ego-stroking lies because they vote.

        The o

  11. Anonymous says:

    Still beating that ‘Colonial’ horse… ehh Roy!
    Some of us with a grain of sense understand that it took the collective efforts of foreigners and Caymanians for us to all have the high standards of living that the majority of us enjoy.
    As the post above said so well.. when are we Caymanians going to stop throwing out the baby with the bath water.
    Get real and chase your dream regardless of sector and success is likely on your horizon.

    • Anonymous says:

      And to the point, Dart is now (and has been for a while) a Caymanian, and owns more than 50% of the hotel stock. Which rather torpedoes Roy’s claim that tourism is foreigner/colonialist dominated. Roy Bodden is either not recognizing the legal reality of Dart’s status, or he is resorting to some visceral, dog whistle view that Dart is not a real Caymanian, perhaps not incidentally because of the colour of his skin.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Uncharitable expatriate elite? What a steaming pile… It’s not the expats who are the problem, it’s this kind of small mind that holds locals back. All the locals I’ve met who have an ounce of initiative are successful in whatever they try. The victim hood and siege mentality is the disease, not a symptom.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It only took you 4 years to conceive of a plan? We need to get this crack team dealing with the dump!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t hold your breath… unless you’re driving or walking past the dump, then by means, hold your breath.

  14. Justus Grumbleigh says:

    Every Caymanian resort is conceived of, planned, cconstructed, commissioned and staffed with one objective in mind- the ROI that is worth the trouble and risk. With REVPAR and other revenue metrics indicating ROI prior Covid-19 to be well north of 15%, any Caymanian resort, when offered for sale on the market, is eagerly sought after (if Dart hasn’t already purchased it)

    Caymanian interests need to step up to the plate and acquire these assets if the return on investment is to remain in Cayman and not exported. A consortium of local investors and which should include the Cayman Islands Government (or an equivalent sovereign investment fund). Like Cayman Airways, the investment should bring security to the local tourism industry and should underwrite the development of local hospitality expertise at managerial and technical levels- as co-owners of resorts, local staffing is no longer ‘lip service’ but is part of the strategic vision for the Caymanian tourism product.

    If though the Cayman Islands Government is not interested in an active participation in the assets that comprise the revenue generators of the industry, then they should be content to reap the fees generated and leave it at that- but should also inform Caymanian society just why they cannot ensure a deeper penetration of the hospitality industry by local managers, technicians and artisans…

  15. Anonymous says:

    As usual, it’s somebody else’s fault! How about you start by not telling your kids that trades jobs and hospitality are inferior types of jobs? Caymanians have basically handed out the hospitality industry to foreigners and if you think for a minute that its low wages they get paid, you haven’t checked the gratuity pools and the tips that concierges, personal attendants and many servers and others get.. trust me they drive Audi’s and live in 2 car garage homes. As for the trades people that Caymananians so often farm out their $$ to daily to fix all their stuff.. yea they drive BMW’s and make often times in excess thou$ands weekly in most cases. Yuh fooling yuhself….

    • Anonymous says:

      @ Anon 4:35 pm. That’s the more intelligent Caymanian youth. Unfortunately, the great majority of young Caymanians aren’t interested in work! They want to be well off but would rather party and maybe smoke a few joints to fog their brain. I believe that the biggest stumbling block is poor parenting while they are young. They do not get much, if any, guidance from parents that would prefer their offspring to “go somewhere else”. Apparently the schools aren’t doing a hell of a lot to prepare their students for adulthood, either……. but they COULD, if the schools would make an effort to help them become the movers and shakers of tomorrow! Does anyone care?????

  16. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians selling off Cayman and it’s other people’s fault. Same old, same old.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to know how much the industry pays in permit fees, import duties and tourist taxes and how many Caymanian civil servants that pays for. 2000?

  18. Anonymous says:

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. When will Caymanian politicians (and former politicians) accept the fact that hardly any Caymanians want to work in the hospitality industry. It’s harder work with longer hours and lower pay than being a civil servant or working most office jobs. You also often have to work weekends and nights and accept the scorn of your friends because you’re working a job that’s considered servitude. To work in hospitality, you really have to be a “people person” who enjoys making others happy. In that way, it’s more of a calling than a career choice. I totally agree that there should be more Caymanians working in the hospitality industry and I think we as a country should do what we can to encourage more young people to enter the field. But Cayman is NEVER going to come close to being able to provide the necessary workforce for the hospitality industry. We can’t do it now and the situation is only going to get worse when the four or five planned hotels come on line.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Agree with most of what you’ve said.

      There was a time — perhaps 20, 25 years ago, where both the diving industry and hospitality was dominated by Caymanians. At that time, even most of the hotel housekeepers were Caymanian. What has changed?

      I’ll tell you. [Some] Caymanians have discovered that they can offer long hours, hard work and low pay and in that way acquire only expats. That is the way they want it. People from elsewhere can work, self-sacrifice, send money home and eventually go back and enjoy the spoils of their sacrifice. They are not the enemy, but the current salvation of our private sector business.

      We need to make the minimum wage a living wage, that Caymanians who live here and intend to stay here can live on! I can live simply, but would have a difficult time paying my bills with $6/hour. That’s $48 per day, and less than $300/week for a six-day week. Would you work for that? I would if I had to to feed my family.

      The other thing that has changed is that government depends upon banking those work permit fees, and project ahead regarding their capital projects, based upon projected fees.

      If we increase the minimum wage, everything will go up. What will also go up is Caymanian beneficial employment, and people being finally able to finance their own lives, buy their own homes and live without need of the NAU. Kudos to the NAU for a thankless job well done; it’s no shame to need help. Able-bodied folk that become comfortable on it need motivation.

      Increasing the minimum wage involves growing pains, increased grocery costs, and other personal costs. If we want to help Caymanians and empower them to take control of their lives, this is the way.

      • Anonymous says:

        I wish we could raise the min wage, but with the cost of living here already so high, I feel it would it would only drive up the costs when higher so that raise would be nullified as well as drive other industries and workers away.

      • Anonymous says:

        Beau – the biggest thing that has changed since 20-25 years ago is the number of hospitality workers needed. Back in the mid-90s there weren’t nearly the number of hotels and restaurants here because there weren’t as many tourists and there weren’t as many residents. There are still Caymanians working in the hospitality industry (Comfort Suites and Beach Suites both had mostly Caymanian employees). I would even guess that in raw numbers, there are no fewer Caymanians working in the hospitality sector now than 25 years ago. And that’s not counting the taxi/tour bus operators. However, the percentage of Caymanians is much lower because there are so many more people working in the industry.
        Your point on minimum wage is accurate though; CI$6 with the cost of living here is ridiculous

      • In says:

        Prices do not need to go up. So many suppliers are robbing us with their mark ups. For example we pay $16.99 lb Cayman dollars for a choice striploiin, not even high end USDA prime. In the states that is $5.49 lb in US dollars. Or $4.50 CI. Say the duty is 25%. That makes it $5.63 CI. So let’s say their mark up is 40%. That makes it $7.87. How did it get to $16.99? I am going on the price of an American grocery store, so the Cayman vendor would get it cheaper from wholesale and by buying bulk. So my point is the local Caymanian is robbing us and laughing while we say people should work I. Hospitality for $5 per hour! That is what is wrong, our own people pushing us down. Shame!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Over the years Caymanians have gravitated to jobs at all levels in the booming financial industry. There are not enough Caymanians to work in both industries so it is likely that if we did not have a thriving financial industry, Caymanians would work in the Tourism industry. But which is better for Caymanians? In my opinion, it is the financial industry where the workday is 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and they can spend time with their families in the evening. The Tourism industry work hours are much different and the jobs not as appealing since most of the jobs are physically demanding and fewer desk jobs/back-office jobs are available due to the nature of the business.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Please explain why the Kirkconnell family sold Royal Palms to Dart? Why didnt they invest another 200 million and build a hotel to employ Caymanians? The Cayman merchant class has sold out to foreign interests with the help of Cayman’s political class. It all started with the conversion of the Holiday Inn to the Ritz Carlton and all the low end players involved. Slippery slope.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe, but the Ritz-Carlton is the #1 best thing that ever happened to the Cayman Islands tourism market to date. The openings of the Holiday Inn and Hyatt Regency both had enormous impacts in eras when they were built, but neither had anywhere near the lasting impact the Ritz-Carlton has had both in terms of destination recognition and the culinary awareness it has brought to Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:48 I think you mean to say employ Caymanians ONLY, EVEN YOU, KNOW THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

      • Anonymous says:

        Well for a start it would never happen because the Caymanian workforce is just not large enough, even if they paid astronomic wages for what is usually a blue collar service industry. Whichever way you skin the cat, you cant replace over 25000 work permit holders with a few thousand Cayman unemployed.

  21. Anonymous says:

    For someone so learned you would think you might offer a suggestion on how to creatively develop an industry in Cayman that is somehow insulated from the fortunes or misfortunes of the rest of the globe? Or, at least suggest a new industry that might employ a good portion of this elite workforce you supposedly shepherded through a glorified ruin of something vaguely resembling a post-secondary institution?
    People love to talk and are eager to point out the problems and difficulties but always seem to be short on any reasonable and well thought out solutions.

  22. Julie says:

    The negativity surrounding stay over tourism for local employment is not helping to encourage our youth to enter the industry. Yes the minimum wage is low, but with the gratuity system staff in hospitality can make a good living. Hotels share the gratuity among staff, so it increases salaries.
    In independent restaurants serving staff have a great opportunity to make extra/side tips.
    Of course our guests to Cayman (going to be a while until they are back) would love to be served by a local. But they also are paying top dollar for their experience and have expectations of a certain level of service. It’s not an easy industry, working all hours including weekends and holidays, working in outdoor environments, hot sun, rain, etc. But there is a great opportunity to make a good living. Having been in the hospitality industry for over 22 years in Cayman I have had the pleasure of working with many awesome Cayman staff who have thrived in our industry.
    Hoping we can encourage our youth to explore hospitality as a rewarding and lucrative option. There are a lot of Restaurant businesses here wanting to hire and train locals.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is becoming plagued by short-term thinking, which amounts to people squabbling over who gets which part of the current pie.

    What Cayman needs is long term thinking, taking into account the following:

    1. The financial services industry is under tremendous pressure, and may disappear entirely in 20 years. Just try opening a bank account at a local bank to see all of the roadblocks being put in place.

    2. Health tourism is a great idea, but powerful political forces in the US are arrayed against it. It may not come to fruition.

    3. Tourism may be the only long term stable industry for a small island of 70,000 people with no natural resources. Furthermore, the tourism industry could grow to a point where it would replace financial services. This is where the focus should be placed. Develop new attractions like Stingray City (which was created, not discovered). Figure out how to berth super-yachts in the North Sound. Develop the eastern districts.

    The problem is that these attractions/features take many years to design and develop and need to be started now, when there is plenty of capital.

    • Anonymous says:

      # 3 is Utopia.
      Tourism would never replace financial services even if the latter ceases to exist. Cayman is not Cuba or Jamaica or Barbados. Tourism would always remain ‘supplemental”, unless you learn how build artificial islands.
      The rich and famous need only one attraction: SUN, SEA AND SAND in environmentally pristine environment, away from mainstream so called “attractions”.

      What you need is NEW ideas, the engine of progress. You are offering to keep beating the dead horse.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why couldn’t tourism replace financial services? Seven Mile Beach is only marginally developed. If every condo development was updated to fifteen stories, billions of dollars would be made. Why not build an island in the North Sound. It is a vast, little used area. Why not create a channel in the reef and bring in mega-yachts? All of these ideas would make vast and sustainable amounts of money over time for Cayman, and ensure that if financial services disappear that Cayman is still a lovely island. (Spare me the non-sensical environmental concerns – without extensive canal re-engineering and refilling of land, the mangroves would still be producing enough mosquitos to suffocate cattle)

    • CB says:

      Tourism is the only solution you see because you have no vision. For starters the church of England is pumping millions into medical marijuana but oh no, we can’t grow it here. Our premier dismisses innovation on agriculture because he has his head buried deep in the soil he farms and seemingly has little to no knowledge of modern farming methods and agtech. We play around with children’s education and have abysmal educational stats, yet nobody looks at and learns any lessons from Barbados and other Island nations with excellent literacy rates. Our reefs are bare but nobody has thought of fish farming to replenish the fish stocks, provide food to restaurants and fish for the fishermen to catch and sell. We’re not embracing solar power as we should be because a certain element prize their CUC dividends over and above health and the environment. The problem we have here is lack of vision and innovation.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Getting PR in Cayman if you have the money is easier than most think. Come here and get a permit and set up a company. Pay the government it’s fees. May or may not employ people. Rent for a year/6 months then start buying property. Pay your stamp duty and get a mortgage here. The interest and money spent on purchasing land gives you points towards your Pr. More fees to government and purchase money probably going to another expat who owns the land or built the complex. So hardly anything goes to the island via government and you have another paper Caymanian and the government doesn’t care because their fees were paid but Caymanians lose out due to selectively hiring (if they hire) business owners and higher property prices. Ask anyone who write mortgages in Cayman and deal more with Expats. They will tell you the see it every day and these people will come out blatantly and tell the mortgage officers this property is for PR purposes.

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you babbling about? The mortgage counts against you for PR. For PR only your equity in the property counts. Equity = value – mortgage.

    • Anonymous says:

      You dont get pr points for paying interest. Lol. The opposite in fact. Wow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you really that ignorant or are you just trolling?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yeah really easy. You missed about the bit about actually living here for 9 years, and maintaining a WP for the whole time. And paying the WP fees for that time. And then paying the same fees even though you have PR for another 6 years, assuming the Board can be bothered to review your status application. Not saying that it should be easy, but to pretend that it is is also complete BS. You better be committed to Cayman long term if you want a chance of PR or status (assuming of course you dont have so much money you can just parachute in and get a status grant from Cabinet).

  25. Anonymous says:

    Your argument is weak XXX. Agriculture here on island would prosper with government support. There is a motion for authentically local, yet it is not pushed to the forefront by government. The education at Ucci is below high school levels world wide. Cayman owners so chooses to import what relates to solve labor in the tourism industry. Cayman landlords charge absorbent commercial rents, causing Caymanian business owners to charge outrageous prices for mediocre products delivered by foreigners delivering inferior service as you get what you pay for.
    Please take responsibility for your lack of vision in building the industry

    • Anonymous says:

      There is barely any dirt or rainfall. Vegetable plots are the most you can expect, and exactly who is going to do the picking? Answer—more Hondurans.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Ugh. Because this tiny island could excel economically in what other ways? How many Caymanians drive taxis? Operate busses? Work at or own shops that cater to tourists? Operate water sports businesses? What a foolish argument.

  27. Anonymous says:

    First of all it’s incorrect to say that Caymanians don’t own hotels and condos that tourists rent. They do. Paper Caymanians as well as generational ones.

    Food and beverages are imported? Seriously? And not even entirely true. Plenty of tourists want to eat authentic local food and drink. You think they don’t drink Caybrew and Tortuga rum and eat at local-owned restaurants?

    You think that locals and foreigners alike don’t spend their wages and profits in the local economy? You think that all the money is sent abroad? Even if you don’t consider Mr. Dart to be a “real” Caymanian would you seriously argue that he doesn’t put money back into the economy?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please. If you’re going to tell me that Caymanians reap 50% or more of the stay over profits, please do explain how or shut up.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, if you considered Dart Caymanian, the answer is he owns Camana Bay, liquor stores, the Ritz, the Kimpton, Comfort Suites, etc… That plus whatever the rest of the Caymanian ownership of restaurant, tours, transport and other local businesses that benefit from tourist dollars (and we have know way of knowing). I would say it’s easily over 50%. I am not counting indirect benefits to Caymanians in the form of civil service jobs that are funded through tourism taxes.

        So I don’t need to shut up.

        Now, if you want to leave Dart out, could you argue that there aren’t enough Caymanian (using whatever your acceptable generation of whatever a “true Caymanian” is)owned businesses? Could you argue that there aren’t enough quality senior-level jobs available to Caymanians in the industry? Sure.

        But the industry is there for the taking. Yes, the beach land has been sold so you can’t just rock up, buy land and develop a hotel. But are there other opportunities for Caymanians to make a killing off the increased tourism traffic? Of course.

        Nobody forced the Caymanian owners to sell Royal Palms to Dart. They could have developed it. They didn’t.

        Your attitude is the problem here. The system is set up so that your average Caymanian has opportunities that people with an average amount of talent and drive could never dream of in most countries. You have a captive audience of tourists, very little red tape, preferential ownership laws, what more could you seriously want.

        I hate to break this to you but it doesn’t get much better than this. Anywhere. It’s up to people to seize the opportunities available to them.

        The fact that your reaction was to tell me to shut up is your problem. And anyone who gave that comment a thumbs up or is tempted to give this a thumbs down, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are making the best of the opportunities available to you.

        If I’m wrong, convince me.

      • Anonymous says:

        However the government does derive substantial income from tourism

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh please, will you stop saying “oh please.” It’s so out of date you must be ancient.

    • Anonymous says:

      It will not change until Caymanians own the hotels and they don’t become racists themselves.

  28. Anonymous says:

    There’s nothing that needs to be enabled. You can do it right now if there were willing sellers. Why should the government backstop a private loan? Anyway…get out your calculator and figure out how many novice micro investors you would need just to acquire 51% of one $60mln dollar property. Let me help…you’d need over 1200 micro investors investing a minimum of $25,000 each, or 2,400 micro barking investors to run the whole show. Try running that Board meeting. That’s why this doesn’t exist. Nobody would want to stay in that place.

  29. J.A.Roy Bodden says:

    John , I concede to your point about globalization and “cheap labour “. Your response however , took no consideration to my more fundamental points relating to “leakage ” ( income derived from the industry leaving the jurisdiction ) and to the promise that when Caymans qualified themselves ,they would have opportunities to progress up the career paths in tourism.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The pen is mightier than the sword. At the end of the long story you knew better but did nothing. You are no better than them. You and your political friends gave away the our islands for the rich man crumbs.
    Your sins shall fall your children’s children. But have no fear you have life. Pick up a sword and stand up and fight for our children’s future.

    Education is useless without ambition.

  31. autonomous says:

    So you chaired the council that couldn’t deliver on its mission. Again, you chaired the council. But the fault for the council you chaired not achieving its objectives falls upon everyone but yourself.

  32. Anonymous says:

    And while we are at it we should figure out how to get out of the business of hiding money for sleazy people and corporations too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sleazy is a rather subjective measurement and hard to enforce, especially as it cuts close to home with our legislators. But there are a multitude of laws, regulations, and best practices in force, which should precipitate white collar investigations/fines/jail that never seems to materialize. For the Cayman Islands to remove itself from the non-compliant lists, our regulators/financial crime teams and AG need to try to isolate and prosecute the bad actors that are insulated by decades of regulator/financial crime ineptitude and indolence. Our SEZ (once again) hosted another fraud last year. Were there any arrests/fines/sanctions resulting to local law firms and business managers for the $4Bln ICO headline almost a year ago? Who gets their knuckles wrapped for failing basic KYCAML checks? Apparently nobody, and carry on.

  33. Anonymous says:

    What academic laziness and illogical argument. Caymanians are under represented in tourism because they work in higher paying sectors. Unemployment on average is 3 to 4 percent. With those kind of numbers you are never going to see a influx of Caymanians in a seasonal role.
    The assertion that Caymanian derive limited benefit from tourism is absolutely insane. For one the land originally sold to the hotels was Caymanian owned land. The services like car rentals, grocery stores, restaurants, tshirt shops etc, Caymanian owned. Fees derived from tourism taxes go right to Caymans coffers. The author should feel shame for spreading such a dishonest assessment of the industry. If we have people representing us at any level in politics, academics, or other walks of life who possess such misinformed or lazy views it is time to toss out that dinosaur. Baby, they are not doing you any favors.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m quite sure all of Hertz revenue isn’t kept in these islands, seeing that they filed for bankruptcy in a different country.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you had any idea how the agreement between large corps and local providers worked you would not ask this question. Try again.

      • Anonymous says:

        Owned and operated by Caymanian on Cayman. I’m quite sure as usual you are ignorant and anti expat racist.

      • Anonymous says:

        Try and understand how a franchise works. DO you think that KFC on West Bay Road is owned by some US person or corporation?

      • Anonymous says:

        Legalize gambling and apply ‘fees’ to the casinos. $$$ would flood into this country. But no way the god squad would allow it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hertz rentals is franchised. Hertz in cayman did not file for bankruptcy. Please know what you’re talking about before posting. It frequently helps your argument.

  34. Anonymous says:

    This man definitely know what he is talking about. We, the elected people in the government should act accordingly.

  35. Anonymous says:

    And yet Government after Government allows this to happen.

    Mr. Roy, when the current tourism minister and some of his close associates have various businesses that employ expats – it does make you wonder. Just saying. Some of his dedicated cronies could criticize this posting.

    And by the way Mr. Roy, how is it that expats can work at entry level positions in the tourism industry and 1) send money back home to support their families, 2) somehow sustain themselves in Cayman – one of the most expensive places in the world to live and
    3) be chastised by Caymanians when it is the Cayman Government allowing it to happen!

    I remain,
    Mo$e$ – Trump Wannabe

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at how they live. Rent a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 couples all of whom work so all your bills are quartered.

      $2,000 rent
      $300 light
      $100 water
      $600 food
      $3,000 divided into 4 is $750 with some of these food and beverage servers averaging $1,500 to $2,000 on top of their salary. leaves them a lot of money to send home.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Roy – I would like to take issue with one of your statements: that most of the resorts are foreign owned. Seeing as how Ken Dart owns four hotels on Grand Cayman, this statement is wrong because Ken Dart is Caymanian. You of all people should know this because you were one of the Cabinet ministers who gave him irrevocable Caymanian Status. Are you now implying he is not Caymanian?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please. Your going to focus on one. Yes, Ken Dart is one of us. This does not negate that the senior leadership team are rarely local. Locally born or locally raised.

      • Anonymous says:

        Which doesn’t really deal with Roy’s point – or the rebuttal – about colonialists domination. Now it doesn’t matter who owns the business, just who the senior management are? All of whom are employed at the whim of the owner? A plantation isn’t abusive if the massa uses ex slaves as overseers? Sigh.

        You would be better off by saying that Dart isn’t really Caymanian – it would be at least coherent if not legally or politically correct. To use another example, does the fact that Woody Foster uses a shed load of foreign senior and middle management make his business any less Caymanian? Guess not. So how does Dart doing the same make him or his business less Caymanian?

        At least be honest in your xenophobia and prejudices instead of trying to justify them by BS and logically inconsistent arguments.

  37. One Love says:

    I am disappointed that it took until the fifth paragraph for Roy to mention some variant of colonialism. He must be slipping.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of your points sir. I do however disagree with your comment about your hospitality program. It is quite poor and students that came out of it are ill equipped for any role. Perhaps this is one of the problems.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Enable the general public of the Cayman Islands to become owners in the stayover tourism game.
    1) Form a corporation for the purpose of investment in property and businesses involved in stay-over tourism.
    2) Solicit investment from ‘micro-investors’ otherwise known as those that call themselves Caymanian.
    3) Government can also invest, but at minimum would probably have to guarantee any loan made to this corporation.
    4) Identify and invest in tourism properties and businesses.

    So I can hear people laughing that this would never work because of either the government or micro-investor involvement. Anyone up to accept that challenge?

  40. Anonymous says:

    Same old trite we always hear – it’s not our fault it’s always the fault of the uncharitable, false, hypocritical and disingenuous expatriates.

    And what a great sound bite ‘establishing an economy which is internally driven with the least dependence upon volatile, exploitative and uncontrollable external forces’, despite this being your studied opinion you unfortunately failed to mention how to achieve that.

    Cayman is responsible for it’s own destiny, perhaps you and the ‘ruling local elite’ need to step up to that challenge and make some tough decisions, everything that has and does happen in Cayman lays at your door, despite your protestations.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Lies, as usual.

  42. Anonymous says:

    The system is rigged. It has always been rigged.

    Many of the investors in the tourism sector could care less about Cayman beyond what the country can do to help them expand their wealth. They have no genuine interest in the development and promotion of Caymanians and will exploit both Caymanians and the cheap imported labor. The jobs that attract the meaningful salaries and benefits are largely reserved for friends, family and fellow countrymen. This has been the unspoken reality of the tourism sector since forever.

    This issues highlighted by the pandemic are not isolated to the tourism sector and are just as prevalent in the financial services sector.

    • Anonymous says:

      In other words, business owners pay workers as little as possible and try to make the most profit possible. Welcome to the real world.

      But guess what: the system isn’t rigged in the sense that anyone can go out and start a business and in fact there are incentives in the laws here which require majority Caymanian ownership and provide preferences for Caymanian employees.

      There is not much more that can be done other than to call for better enforcement of the laws. Yes people break the laws, try to circumvent them, there is fronting etc. But that’s not the fault of government, it is the fault of the law breakers.

  43. John Smith says:

    “is the fact that cheap unskilled labour is sourced outside these islands”.

    This isn’t unique to these islands. Poor Caymanians, just like poor Brits do not take these jobs. Do not blame the business for the cause.

    If you allow business to import people that will work for half the price, live 6 to a house and send any spare cash home, then what do you expect?

    This isn’t a Caymanian issue, this is a globalization issue. The reality is this, an Indian, Pakistani, Filipino will work for the minimum wage, live 10 to a house and still have money left over because all economies are not created equal.

    Fair play to them. We have the same problem all over the Western World.. You invite cheep labor and then BLAME it for keeping the natives out of work.

    Poor Caymanians don’t want the work, poor Brits don’t want the work, poor French don’t either. We have a generation of people that will not accept the standard of living an Indian or Filipino will, but the ruling class are happy happy to propagate it.

    The ruling class tell us these immigrants somehow live lives life ours, because they refuse to admit that thousands of people are living in f***ing shanty towns and squalid workhouse conditions.

    Expats are not the problem. the ruling class are that import and allow people to live in poverty whilst pretending they don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      The immigration Ministry are actually directly responsible. There are numerous indications that they fail or even refuse to enforce the law.

      Overcrowded housing ought to be an impossibility. That is what the accommodation form is expected to prevent.

      Non payment of health insurance and pensions ought to be impossible. That is what whole sections on immigration forms are supposed to prevent.

      Gaining a permanent right to live here without obtaining PR is supposed to be impossible. That is what the term limits and PR system are supposed to prevent.

      Getting a work permit that displaces ready willing and able Caymanians is supposed to be almost impossible, and yet it happens regularly, in every sector of the economy.

      Fronting is supposed to be impossible, but it is mainstream.

      Shooing persons (who are causing no disturbance) from the beach ought to be impossible, and yet it happens frequently.

      Not paying overtime ought to be impossible, but whole areas of the economy treat that as standard operating procedure.

      Hundreds of non Caymanians are being given the rights and privileges legally reserved for Caymanians, often to the detriment of Caymanians, any there is no accountability.

      In many respects there is disregard for the constitution.

      The general public have been screwed by their own government. It was they who were supposed to curtail abuses and protect the people of these Islands. They have done no such thing. There is no point in blaming individual expats. They have only done what our government lets them do.

      • Anonymous says:

        The most on-point comment I have ever read on here.

        This, fleshed out, deserves its own viewpoint, not the typical fall back blaming minimum wage, Dart, expats and so on.

        The problems have already been addressed, and essentially solved.

        If there was a will not a single law would need to change.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly, zero accountability for anything here, imagine not dismissing Dwayne Seymour. No one wants to have the tough conversations here. It’s the government, who are unfortunately made up of locals

    • Anonymous says:

      And the only reason Cayman seamen did so well in the old days is the fact they were the cheap labor which nowadays is represented by Filipinos and Indians. It had nothing whatsoever to do with a supposed brilliance in seamanship of Caymanians. They were cheap, readily available and reliable. Market forces ruled then as they do now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well they were reliable back then…

      • alaw says:

        I am glad for your comment, it is only mention we were Great Seamen.
        The Part that we were working on AMERICAN OWN Ships that would not Fly the AMERICAN FLAG.
        Reason being,we were being Paid 1/4 of the AMERICAN Seaman SALARY, will NEVER be MENTION!

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