Hew: ICT and transport weakness are priorities

| 18/08/2020 | 97 Comments
Commerce Minister Joey Hew makes his video address at the virtual Economic Forum, 14 August 2020

(CNS): The state of Cayman’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and public transport are priorities that government must address now to help business rebound in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Commerce Minister Joey Hew has said. The minister said that tackling these issues had already been on government’s agenda but it had to speed things up after the pandemic exposed these weaknesses. He said that banks also needed to step up and help local business move online.

“It is my view that for the Cayman Islands to rebound as a stronger, more resilient economy and as a better place to live on the other side of this pandemic, it will require stronger cooperation and collaboration between private sector and government,” he said last Friday in his presentation to the one-day virtual Chamber of Commerce 2020 Economic Forum.

But after delivering a lengthy address about his areas of responsibility as the economy emerges from lockdown, Hew took part in a panel session where he was asked what he believed the biggest challenges over the next decade were. Hew said the challenges post-COVID were the same as those before but Cayman now needed to move more quickly.

“We have to speed up… some of the plans that we have as this pandemic has highlighted many of our weaknesses,” he said, explaining that we must prepare for an increasingly uncertain future. “We… have to find new and innovative ways to deal with our transport system… We have to build our IT infrastructure, our banks and financial institutions… need to step up… and provide an online platform where business can be conducted,” Hew stated.

The minister said the National ID programme would play an important part in allowing people to conduct much more business on line and he hoped the private sector would follow suit.

Managing the movement of people and the need to bring down the costs of communication were key for the country to move forward, he added, and spoke of government’s plans to invest in a new sub-sea communication cable. Creating a strong affordable internet system was important for everything, from education to health care, he said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the values of online, digital options for commerce, and the imperative of ensuring that our economy adapts to that modality,” the minister told the conference audience. “Transition to a digital economy will require robust broadband infrastructure as well as strategies to encourage businesses to make the necessary investment for this transition.”

He added that Cabinet has now issued a directive for his ministry to explore the opportunity to land a modern submarine cable in Cayman. “This submarine cable will be the foundation to make Cayman Islands a data and information centre hub, and will place us at the cutting edge of modern business communications,” he added.

Hew, as planning minister, also spoke about the long held public concerns about who we are we building for. He said another challenge was maintaining social harmony within the country over those concerns. “We are building for Caymanains,” he said, adding that it was important to train Caymanians so they can find their rightful place in the industries that are fuelling the economy.

In his address about what will be driving the future economy, Hew also revealed that proposals in the new national plan for Seven Mile Beach would soon be going out for public consultation. Among the ideas about better utilization of land space were greening the areas where we live and, more controversially, building upwards.

See Hews full address in the CNS Library


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Category: Economy, Politics

Comments (97)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    3 years and counting to print my 6 character license plate, and they think they we would consent to their starting a National ID program in the last 10 mins of their administration/political careers? Why don’t we double down and put Canover Watson and Jeff Webb on that one…CarePay 2.0

    • Anonymous says:

      Come on Minista Hew, don’t you have staff that could have been working on these topics over the last three years. Or did you and staff suddenly go got an inspired message from abroad. Cha!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Simple fix.
    Fire all the yahoo bus drivers and replace them with trained and qualified Caymanian’s.

    Purchase 50 seat commercial buses.

    Follow Bermuda’s example of a circling bus service which arrives every twenty minutes and covers the entire island in both directions.

    Make it illegal to stop to let passengers on or off anywhere except an official bus stop.

    Place bus stops in convenient but safe locations.

    Meter all taxis to affordable fares, and test drivers for competency.

    Promote an integrated boat ferry/taxi service that serves NS and the West at different harbours. And start it early enough for commuters!!!

    Reduce rental cars.

    Build arterial roads.

    Develop Commercial and Government premises along arterial roads outside of central GT.

    Make Harbourside/Waterfront pedestrians only.

    Re-build GT to appeal to locals and tourists, not commercial office blocks.

    Sorted!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The priority is to remove Hew from office at the next election. A pointless waste of a MLA seat, and someone so weak he had his dad canvass for him in 2017.

  4. NoName says:

    What I find extremely odd , why are we planning at this stage fiber implementation all around the Island which is a lengthy project where as Starlink is about to go live within just a few months, giving the possibility of high speed internet on the island without the need to deal with CUC’s monopoly on pole access ? That looks very very mush like “2+2 equals … fish” in terms of logic …

    OfReg should better IMHO focus on the state of the roads , the quality of the power distribution on island .

    As to the implementation of better IT services on Island i am laughing rolling on the floor … what IT needs is STABLE , Cheap POWER … which at current rates is definitely not happening on island at this stage ! At current rates no IT head would not even remotely consider any installation on island ! Servers need:

    1) Room , given the cost of commercial real estate on island, this is NOT happening!

    2) Continuous power to ensure service availability and redundancy.

    3) Access to cheap power at utility scale to insure service

    4) High throughput , low latency networks with a strong local loop which is not even present on island !

    5) Diversified IP Transit providers that don’t go bonkers at every turn, that means access to multiple fiber trunks at reasonable prices.

    So as you can see there is a quite a ways to go before any IT head would consider the island for installation! We are talking 100 of Millions of CID in terms of investment that have to be made and carried over for years.

    IMHO this is nothing else than a conversation that should have taken place from the inception of this administration and NOT with elections right around the corner. Like the issue of the dump this will be swept under the rug right after votes have been cast.

    I have personally worked in IT for over 20 years on large scale projects (Think GPU vision) and carry a certain knowledge of large scale IT projects in term of distributed computing (Think Clusters). And I have to say that the presently chosen “strategy” discussed here makes NO SENSE given the evolutions of the Information Sphere unless CIG want to reaffirm the choke hold of the present monopolies on island regarding IT development!

    • Anonymous says:

      Our government is so corrupt, dishonest, tricky, lying, thieving etc, etc.
      Nothing happens for the people unless the politicians, their cronies and handlers stand to benefit.
      I feel sorry for the children of expats who have swallowed the Kool-Aid.
      Get your children out into a more wholesome environment before they start thinking that Cayman is the norm.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Merchants paying RBC, CNB, and BNTB for antiquated and deficient credit/debit card processing technologies need to collectively demand that their prehistoric point of sale terminals be contemporized with (ubiquitous elsewhere) touchless chip-tap payment systems.

    Your frontline staff shouldn’t want to handle my credit card that goes in my wallet, in my pants, and I don’t want to touch your gross customer pen, or touch/sign your bisphenol A (BPA) thermal cancer paper.

    If not now, when?

  6. Fed up says:

    Never mind about laying new sea cable if they can’t sort out the idiots at the police record office….zzzz I am still waiting for police clearance paperwork! They are half bad as Cayman islands Customs!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Joey highlighting the weaknesses with public transport is a jab at Moses, who has responsibility for PT.

    Is this the 1st shot across Moses’ bow in the battle for premiership in May 2021??

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can’t even sidewalk the east side of West Bay Road (the side with street lighting), in the heart of the Hotel Tourism Zone. Instead, builds a series of crosswalks connecting passable western-side pedestrian sidewalks to inconsistent east-side curbing, shoulder-frayed asphalt discards, undeveloped violent crime jungle cover.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s disheartening that the Official Opposition, stone-walled as they are from shadowing this Unity/PPM/CDP show, don’t busy themselves with all the other public-service “low fruit” work they might be doing (in lieu of their Honorable Titles and public compensation) to pressure some semblance of basic transparency, accountability, and good value. They sit there like statues, occasionally waking up to rant about their hatred of their gay Caymanian constituents.

    For example, in all of these years, there has been no investigation of the years of redacted credit card statements from CPI Dept and other Ministries. No successful FOI or revised transparent publishing of the 5-figure/month rockstar bacchanalian expense accounts that were redacted of biller names, values, and totals:

    http://cpiministry.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/11168161.PDF

    http://cpiministry.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/11168162.PDF

    Before you ask, the Ministry of Education Sports Gender Affairs Website was last updated 21 June 2013. http://www.education.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/mehhome/aboutus

    In the absence of action on historic transgressions, and ongoing non-reporting, we have to infer that they are okay with ambient levels of corruption, and have no plans to change anything, if only they could slither to the levers of power themselves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Credit Card Statements for CPI makes for interesting reading…

    Why is CPI paying “BulkSMS.com” to send out spammed Unity propaganda? How is that a good use of our public funds? How is it not a violation of OfReg rules?

    31 Jan, 20 Purchase of credits for text messages (SMS) to mobiles BULKSMS.COM X USD 0.8375 $555.69

    04 Apr, 20 Purchase of credits for text messages (SMS) to mobiles BULKSMS.COM X
    USD 0.8375 $1336.33

    At least we know HEW was the one responsible for spamming our phones. What list are they distributing to BULKSMS and how is that not a violation of Data Protection and Privacy Laws?

    • Anonymous says:

      Their backsides are being exposed now but like every time they will give us some line to fool us so they will get us to vote for them next time..

      The unity government motto should be, Keep them dumb and uneducated so that we can guarantee their votes…and our large paychecks.

      • Anonymous says:

        I dont see any alternatives. Are you saying we should vote for the opposition

        • Anonymous says:

          We are politically doomed with such a limited political talent base.

          • Anonymous says:

            Ie. the current Elections Law.

          • Anonymous says:

            Party-blind have not fairly evaluated the scarce political talents that have presented in the past. Still, no change to the party-affiliation rules in last 4 years, despite the corrupt coalition dysfunction. It seems like we are going to see the usual bait-switch manifestos and frozen turkey dividing lines of the past. A two horse race with Ezzard’s new party a lap down on a mule. We need to change the Elections Law on the basis that it doesn’t allow fair representation for the wider assortment of Caymanians that make up the tapestry of Cayman and that the party system is deeply corrupted.

        • Anonymous says:

          Calm down still lots of time for potential candidates to declare. Lots of ground work is taking place in certain districts

          • Anonymous says:

            Still a two-party rigged system like Jamaica.

            • Johann Moxam says:

              The Cayman Islands does not have political parties which are distinguishable based on some clear political ideology or vision for the country….

              CNS: The rest of this comment can be found here.

              • Anonymous says:

                The author continues to impress me with his public utterances and ability to call things as they are in Cayman. These are rare qualities and demonstrates bravery and leadership severely lacking in this country at present.

                • Anonymous says:

                  An MLA candidate universe that includes 18 other rational straight-shooting thinkers would be ideal…not sure how we get there without amending the Elections Law. Also, the party corruption and avarice runs deep BECAUSE it is rewarded by private sector. SIPL needs to prosecute public and private offenders, and for that, we may need a new Attorney General and new lead “investor/developer/vulture funder”.

              • Anonymous says:

                Step up John your time is now

  11. Anonymous says:

    Starting these things three years ago when we had some money would have been nice. I smell an election coming!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Can’t even organize the painting of bike lanes, or stenciling of sharrows.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Even if we were to figuratively “kick this guy to the curb”, he is so inept there aren’t even functional street cleaners to sweep up the mess. Other than kill the Scuba Hall of Fame/underwater film festival and replace it with a failed red carpet event, and bike riding in Monaco, what are his measurable accomplishments in the last 8 years? Asking seriously.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wasted my vote on this con artist. The bar for leadership is so low in Cayman that people accept a dunce like Joey in politics who proves he is nothing more than an overpaid puppet.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Every year at this conference, they float who government is in bed with. Planting the seeds of future duty concessions.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How long has he been in government and now he sees a need for speed? Give me a break

    and then a throwaway remark about SMB and building upwards? These guys are so compromised, i can’t for the life of me think who’s really running this place…oh, Ken the Caveman

  16. Anonymous says:

    What is ICT?

    CNS: Sorry. Information and communications technology.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You boys must of gotten your new company set up and ready to go!
    Where can I buy shares?
    Want in on the game.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with many of these post. Regardless of what you might think of the Minister a better fiber link other that the MAYA1 will benefit Cayman tremendously.

    Ok, there is an argument as to why this was not a priority from day one but everything has to go through a process of planning, budgeting etc.

    It is sometimes easier to get money for a project when everyone can see the need. I can tell you that if this was proposed before the pandemic there would be public outrage as to why we need it.

    I did not vote for PPM/Unity but I am a Caymanian that wants the best for this country.

    I dont have any agenda against anyone in public office because no one is going to be perfect and you cant please everyone.

    I shake my head sometimes when I read some of the comments it as if we believe public figures are not humans.

    Bottom line is for us to compete globally we need cutting edge Technology which will need to sit on a powerful and reasonably price fiber backbone.

    If you do not understand this need, please do some research before commenting as it will help in you analyst of what is been proposed.

    God Bless Cayman.

    • Hubert says:

      12:22, Don’t you think the greater need right NOW is to move THE DUMP?

      Everyone can see the need. Any human living on Grand Cayman can see that.

      Problem Caymanians have is that they have all of their priorities wrong.

      The Minister of Infrastructure dies not want to tackle the biggest issue in his constituency after 4 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      SpaceX’s Starlink grid will be operational within 6 months and you dinosaurs are still talking about submarine cables…still talking about carbon-fueled energy and vehicles…none of this is forward thinking. It’s not even 6 months forward – more like 10 years backward!

      • Anonymous says:

        how do the costs compare

        • Anonymous says:

          Laying a new submarine cable over the distance required would take many many months, cost hundreds of millions, perhaps Billions. Your guess is probably as good as mine on that one, especially if Genius Hew is in charge. There would be additional asymmetric security costs over and above MAYA-1, and a long multi-decade (Cayman) user-financed amortization period. Whereas SpaceX are already building an ideal satellite network, with better tech, on their dime, and with upgradable obsolescence (planned sat lifespan of only a few years) – enabling 5G+ speeds a few months from now. Right now we have 3G re-labelled by telecoms as LTE…that’s a whole other topic.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha ha ha….

  20. Anonymous says:

    Geesh Joey, it took a pandemic and 4 years in office for you to figure these were the biggest weaknesses in your portfolio.

    Well, thank God the pandemic exposed them to you after 4 years but I don’t think the good people of GTN can give you another 4 years to have another epiphany..nor can we stand to have another disaster to bring things to light for you.

    Sorry Joey, you and your boys have got to go…

  21. Anonymous says:

    No No No! don’t invest in a brand new undersea system. Please will the government note that Starlink is in process and that internet will be provided via thousands of tiny suitcase style SATS. I hope they research this a bit more or this could end up another big ticket buffon-ery item

    • greatiam10@gmail.com says:

      Never seen a more nonsensical post. @9:48pm

      • Seriously? says:

        Do you want to bet against Elon Musk on this one?

        Starlink is more likely to succeed than Tesla and we can all see how well that business is doing.

        http://www.androidauthority.com/what-is-starlink-1134426/

      • Anonymous says:

        Starlink is a front page news satellite constellation being constructed by SpaceX to provide low Earth orbit high-speed Internet access worldwide. The constellation will consist of tens of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit, working in combination with ground transceivers. 597 of them are already in orbit, and they are being launched 50-90 at a time every couple weeks. Another 58 launched to orbit just 13 hours ago. Preliminary high speed access for North America expected in 6 months. Our decision-makers are operating from a infrastructure script from 10-20 years ago. Totally imprudent and ignorant of what’s happening right in front of all of us.

  22. Anonymous says:

    from the guys who banned lyft/uber…..zzzzzzzzzzzz

  23. Vinnie says:

    You dont say Sherlock

  24. Anonymous says:

    With no new revenue who will be paying for this cable? If OFFReg had been doing it’s job this would not be one of the priorities. If they were enforcing fines there would be no inconsistent service issues.

    This government is privileged and grandiose. Proud to say I did not vote for any of them.

    The last time they needed money gov. increased taxes on gas, tobacco and spirits. Remember that. They may tax water now lol.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not completely accurate with your swipe at OfReg in this case.

      The entire island could have fibre to the premise but that would just move the bottleneck in capacity to the Maya 1 cable, thus it would be logical to upgrade the link to the mainland (the transport fibre) so there would be ample capacity to distribute on island via fibre connectivity and 5G and other technologies.

      As for the low orbiting satellite concept- still to be proven whether it will solve much. Latency is supposed to be improved but will still not compete with fibre. One also may recall that LTE, 4G, and 5G have all been touted to be the replacement for hard wired services (coaxial, fibre) and they all have fallen short of fulfilling their stated promises.

      The main factor in the equation is the end user. As bandwidth increases to the end user, consumption does as well- exponentially. 4K TVs become 8K. On demand streaming, multiple devices now.

      Just Google internet consumption in the past two decade and it will be clear the trajectory we are on.

      I’d put my money into a mammoth new undersea cable with a 20 year expectation of service. Just my two cents.

      • Anonymous says:

        StarLink enables global 5G, it doesn’t supplant it. Ask yourself whether the speed of light travels faster via direct earth-orbital pathway of 300 miles or via a submarine cable going 600 miles north through a vulnerable and monumentally expensive single channel submarine cable?

        • Anonymous says:

          Havent heard have any satellite offering 1 GB/s symmetrical upload/download and 8 ms ping. Fibre does including speeds beyond 1GB/s

  25. Anonymous says:

    Joey Who?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump Joey!

    • Anonymous says:

      The dump is in his backyard and he couldn’t be bothered after 8 years in government. It is not a priority for him. He is a joke that has fully earned the moniker Joey the joker. I will not waste another vote on Joey or the PPM again

    • Anonymous says:

      Look like the dump getting fixed. Prettiest man made mountain U have ever seen!

      • Big Bobo says:

        Oh please tell me more about the dump being fixed? Seem to recall just before last election the same thing was said.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “and, more controversially, building upwards.”

    Dart Tower. To accommodate all those HNWs Moses says will flock here. Each condo will come with a set of bio buttons and a promise you will be whisked from the airport to the island in the sky where you won’t have to wear a mask or even go outside for the first 5 days because of all the in house services, and you can manage your business interests and run virtual meetings with the ultra high speed broadband laid on by the new ICT system installed by CIG.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Should have fixed the issue before now.

  29. Where is Mr Hew? 🤔 says:

    The state of Cayman’s ICT infrastructure and public transport are priorities that government must address now

    Am I missing something Mr. Hew ? Ain’t you been the minister now for almost 4 years? Why the urgency now and not when you took office hmm 🤔 3 years ago? Is it because you need to stay in office? so this is some sort of manifesto speaking blah blah blah 🤔? Me think so!

    • Hubert says:

      Whatever happened to THE DUMP in your constituency?

    • Anonymous says:

      They are so full of shit and are direct contributors to the destruction of Cayman. How many beach vendor T&B’s you handing out now Joey? Can I set up a hair braiding stall in heroes square, and give me some cheap permits for the braiders nah?

    • Anonymous says:

      Looking to keep his $200,000.
      Sit on my ass for three years wining dining and trip abroad then with six months before the gravy train ends best I look to be doing something.
      Take a page out of Macs book free internet all round 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        Joey Hew is unqualified to hold any role in government much less become the premier. He is following the script prepared for him he is singing from the hymn sheet prepared by his masters at dart. The man is compromised and needs to go in 2021

    • Anonymous says:

      Please, please can some decent Caymanians step up to the plate in May. This entire lot has got to go, including the opposition.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:12 To find the NEW LOT will even be a BIGGER PROBLEM!

      • Anonymous says:

        Who of principle and intellect and dedication would want to have anything to do with politics in this country? You would be in such poor company as to lose your mind. Look at Winston. He was not a politician. He was upfront that he stepped forward to make a difference and he was not there to make a political career. What happened? He was gone after one, ultimately undistinguished term. The top of Cayman is not a place of free exchange of ideas and public-spirited hard work to make the country better – it is a filthy, corrupt, almost crime ring of slush funds, favours from ministers, kickbacks, developer promises, merchant influence, foreign (primarily Jamaican) influence, and most of all, groupthink and ‘sunk cost’ attachment to old, discredited ideas and plans. The road has to go here because that’s where we drew it 15 years ago…the dock has to be built because we were talking about it when I got into office…I am so happy we have the regiment now because I dreamed of this moment for 16 years…do you follow? You would need over a dozen ‘decent Caymanians’ and they would have to agree to work with each other to present and pursue a platform of renewal and progress to the people. They’re busy making hundreds of thousands a year in the private sector where nobody insults them calling them “Who?” or “Aldart”. Why would anyone want the job? Are you willing to stand up? I would run but I am not a people person; my style of governance would be to demand information, work extremely hard to understand it and make the best decision, and then ride people’s asses constantly until it all got done. How many friends would that make me? Putting forward data-driven proposals instead of vote-winning giveaways; expecting civil servants to work harder and smarter, etc. And that’s IF you get into a Ministry which you don’t do without sucking up to your party or elbowing others out of the way, so you have to be a shrewd opportunist just to get in the door. Then after you’ve put together your great proposals to fix everything, your Cabinet colleagues disagree and your proposals are not adopted, and you are bound by collective responsibility not even to reveal that you tried. I’ll ask one more time: who would want this job that we would want to have it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Election coming Bobo…

  30. Anonymous says:

    Ugh. Bandaid on a police problem.

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