Premier aims to tackle ‘dramatic inequality’

| 09/07/2021 | 159 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Wayne Panton at the Chamber Legislative Luncheon

(CNS): In his first political public address since Inauguration Day, Premier Wayne Panton spoke about his goals to address the “dramatic inequality” which lies hidden behind Cayman’s economic success and to help the thousands of people who are living on the “edge of poverty”. Although the Chamber of Commerce audience of business owners were all waiting to hear what Panton had to say about the border opening plan, he made sure they understood that he had run for office to address the “fragility of our social constructs”, which were laid bare by the pandemic.

As he commended the business community and private sector employers for how well they navigated the significant problems created by COVID-19, he said it had also exposed the two parallel realities that are both the Cayman Islands.

“Despite the sacrifice and resilience of the private sector, we couldn’t ignore the fact that COVID-19 laid bare the fragility of our social constructs, nor could we ignore the deep fissures in healthcare coverage while some of our social support systems cracked under the volume of new clients. The pandemic magnified the dramatic inequalities that had lain hidden underneath the statistics of record-breaking economic growth and opulent prosperity,” he said, adding that “it was against this backdrop that I resolved to stand for election”.

Panton said of the PACT Government he now leads, “We are here to responsibly improve the quality of life for this and future generations of Caymanians. Broadly speaking, our vision is of a Cayman Islands that is held up as one of the most sustainable countries in the world, a trio of islands where all its citizens can thrive, a peaceful and prosperous place known for its resourcefulness, its diligence, its excellence, and its innovativeness.”

The premier said that his new team was “a diverse and disparate group” from different industries with different perspectives. But “despite the wishful thinking of our critics”, PACT was “evolving into a team, with a shared vision and clear sense of purpose”, and that all of them “are in unanimous agreement about the values make up the PACT acronym: People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent.

“Each member of my government has pledged to be driven by, and held accountable to, these guiding values when making individual and collective decisions for the people of the Cayman Islands,” he said. “We need a new way of doing things that will give us new opportunities for our people to succeed. The current model has some broken parts. We need to change how business is done.”

He continued, “There are thousands of people in this country who live on the edge of poverty, one household bill away from not having enough money to pay the mortgage or the rent or electricity bill. Many face mental health challenges and there are hundreds of people, Caymanians, who live in substandard housing conditions with no chance of improving their situation because rents outpace their earnings.”

He said PACT shared a commitment to put social development, the health and wellness of society and the ability of the people to develop their full potential at the centre of decision making.  

“Our vision for Cayman includes you as a business community,” he said. “If each of us – whether industry, business or individual – acts solely and consistently in our narrow self-interest, then we will accelerate inequality, delay or derail our ability to thrive as a community and in turn sabotage true sustainability between our people, our planet and our prosperity. It is no good for a select few to feast if the vast majority suffer famine,” Panton added as he spoke about the need for change.

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Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (159)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Recruiting agencys don’t help Caymanians and I’ve watched expats bring their own people up the corporate system who are unexperienced. The come on secondment and never leave. Caymanians who show resistance to oppression are cast aside like dogs. With this “how dare you think you can get a slice of this pie?”mentality. The Caymanians who move up the corporate ladder are again oppressed with no influence. I’ve seen it over and over again. And in your country are there not people who have 4 or 5 children with multiple baby daddy’s? How dare you talk about our people? Our island is small so every mishap is in your face. Get out of here with these comments. Walk in our shoes, which you could never do, and see if you would be willing to hand this island over to people who think your dirt. Caymanians stand up… we need a revolution!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s think about this…. Truman Bodden who owns a law firm wrote most of our laws…. major disadvantage from the start. And let’s not talk about the “simplest and quickest path to permanent residency in the Cayman Islands is through the purchase of developed real estate valued at US$2.4 million or higher.” Then there’s the fact that work permit grants haven’t slowed down… wow!
    We are selling our souls. How is this still going on with the new government?

  3. Anonymous says:

    You can’t fix stupid give out lots of birth control…

  4. nauticalone345 says:

    Many of the comments here are clearly disingenuous!

    Wayne is rightly highlighting that while the cost of living here has increased by staggering amounts (Cayman rated as the most expensive locale in the world) the income levels (generally speaking) have remained stagnant in too many areas.

    He is not suggesting that those who do not want to work, or are not qualified for some positions, be magically elevated to a CPA or Attorney partner with 20+ years of experience.

    Surely everyone can agree that his / her earnings today does not go nearly as far as it did 20 – 30 years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think Cayman is even remotely close to the most expensive “locale” in the world. Certainly not after tax.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you ever lived outside of Cayman? It’s not even close to Tokyo, HK, NYC, Zurich, London…

  5. Truth says:

    When Cayman is ready to acknowledge the reasons for the lack of quality in Caymanian workers versus expat workers in customer service then you might get this fixed. Until then it’s “I’m not your slave” versus “could I have some service please” with customers saying no thanks we will go where there is a culture of “happy to serve you”. Otherwise your just kicking the can down the road. Again. And again. And again.

    • Plain Talk says:

      A message to the Nay sayers foreigners and caymanians alike:

      The time is here to stop the negative thinking and embark on a clean up campaign. Yes a clean up of our failings as a people to have proper education tools, disciplined workers and employers who help us in achieving the goal of a sustainable Cayman. Sustainable Caymam doesn’t just mean that it’s business as usual for the businesses and only the locals must step up. It definitely means a committment from everybody.

      It is time to stop placating us with scholarships for just Accountants or Lawyers because it suits those particular industries that doesn’t add to sustainability for all, neither does it help the sustainability of the country for government to be wasteful and have unproductive, untrained workers, neither does it help when we allow pricing iof real estate to be driven not by demand but by greedy Realtors and Developers hoarding and raiding of prices that are only meant for wealthy people. Neither does it help when developers just develop for profit and not contribute to infrastructure maintenance.

      All of these things are real issues, no they can’t be fixed overnight snd yes there is going to be resistance from a lot of youse who are only here because you never had it so good and detest anyone threatening your magnificent way of life . I am telling you all today if all of us all a we don’t contribute to make a stand to stop the crime, to contribute where we can to make things better for everyone there will be a massive selling of iron bars for your windows, loads of security issues and all that you work for will be for naught for Crime will take us as all to HELl.

      So you either suck it up find the way to contribute, buckle up shape up or ship out now. We are going to either reform this country for the better for all and not just for some ,no Communism, just plain ole rationalization of where we are and where we are going to be.

      PACT All the way!✊

  6. Anonymous says:

    Cycle of poverty:

    1. Multiple kids from multiple dads being born to some Caymanian women with not one of the fathers in sight. Read what happens to teen elephants when older males are not around.

    2. Criminals being brought in from nearby islands

    3. Government failing to hold itself and its citizens responsible

    4. Parents failing to hold their progenies responsible

    5. Growing wokeness.

    • Anonymous says:

      And our government and legal department fails to hold absent fathers responsible. Fact. All considered normal operating procedure because that is how is go in Jamaica and Trinidad. THIS IS NOT JAMAICA OR TRINIDAD!

    • Anonymous says:

      What is wokeness??

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re behind the times.

      • L says:

        “Wokeness” can be described as a new sense of personal consciousness for the lazy who have slept-walked through their lives only to now “woke” and realise that they are far behind the times and the other persons who worked hard during their lives.

        The “woke” now want what they consider “theirs” by right!

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s the lazy part of the population, the hypocrites, the ones who feel entitled and special, the ones who feel that the world owes them, yet for the most part, haven’t worked an honest day in their lives.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Very bright people left our public school system years ago and went into careers that would make money: Law and Accountancy. Roy, Wayne, Alden, Daniel Scott, Baron Jacob, Wanda Ebanks, Jude Scott, Winston Connolly and many many more. They did not go into teaching or nursing! All these people I have named are earning or have earned millions more than their school friends so they are part of the “inequality” group. Million dollar bonuses. Homes in Vista del Mar, Yacht Club etc. What are you going to do about that Wayne? It’s not only foreigners who are raking in the millions here while the rest of us scan our Foster’s receipt in disbelief to see if the machine overcharged us.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really don’t understand your question. Are you asking the Premier to bring the named individuals down to your economic level, or by some magical snap of his fingers you will get elevated to their level?

      • Anonymous says:

        No If anything it should be a tale of success, from public school to millionaire. WTF have we become? I believe in equality of opportunity not equality of outcome. If we start down that road we are most certainly doomed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Firstly I think singling out and naming private individuals as if they have done something wrong is out of order. Secondly what is your point? You want something done about Caymanians doing well, making good money and building nice homes or you want something done about anyone doing it? What exactly do you want Wayne to do about it and how long do you imagine the best employers on island or anyone with any ambition will stay here once you do?

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t think the poster at 5:44 was singling out these people for criticism in any way. I took it that he was making the point, not very well, that inequality comes from the sort of career people, Caymanians as well as foreigners, go into with certain well known professions in Cayman rewarding people way far in excess of most others, especially worthy careers like teaching and nursing as just two examples. How to remedy this ( if that is even possible) is a very difficult question but does Panton not deserve some credit for at least talking about it? Because surely we can agree that there are two Caymans ( at least!), the millionaires and the rest.

    • Anonymous says:

      So we have a few people who made it? What’s your point? You have no idea what Jude Scott has done for our country!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sorry folks, no such thing as equality in the human race or anywhere else in nature. We are all different to one degree or another. Different levels of intelligence, work ethic, ambition, risk aversion, physical attributes and abilities. There should be equal opportunity for all, but equal outcomes really means bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator. Talk to people from truly equal societies like the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela see how they like it. Even those “equal societies” you still have a ruling class. They are the ones in the government who get the perks and the special treatment that the common folks don’t. In this age of globalization and mobility, punishing the productive will mean the productive will leave. They are the ones who can afford to do so leaving the ones your trying to help behind to suffer the consequences. Want to help achieve affordable housing? Start by a having a government owned bank that offers low interest long term mortgages (30 to 50 year terms). This would allow young buyers to afford payments at the early stage of their careers and pay off the balance as they’re income increases as they get older. Also get rid of stamp duty on primary residential properties. Right now every time a property sells it has to increase 7% for the seller to break even. People complain about the CIRBEA cartel, but anyone can sell their own house and there are non CIRBEA brokers and agents but there are only a few banks. And if you need a mortgage you have no choice whatsoever but to use them. They are the true cartel, created and enabled by the government.

    • Anonymous says:

      I broadly agree with you except your solution of a government owned bank whilst well meaning, is economically sketchy. Ignoring the issues of bad credit and cronyism; if you make credit easier and repayments more affordable you will increase demand. Unless supply increases too prices will go up and affordability will remain unchanged, or worse. You have to increase supply relative to demand one way or another to make housing more affordable. Making property less attractive to non residents would seem like the most obvious place to start. Whilst I appreciate the apartments foreign investors want isn’t what those starting out might want, if you lose that demand then everyone stuck lower down the property ladder can move up and onto it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    FREE birth control. Help people protect themselves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Real Estate Lobby is the root cause of all our ills

  11. Concerned says:

    The Premier should start with CIREBA. Why we use the US system for agents here is beyond me. It is effectively a cartel setting the percentage agents work too. In the Uk it averages at just 1 to 2% not 7.5%. All you need for a consumer to see all available properties for sale is a portal website and we already have ecaytrade. In the UK they have rightmove. Agents are adding exhorbitant cost to the transaction and driving up prices beyond the average earner. This in sales and rentals. CIREBA should be dismantled using UK competition legislation and that should then be extended to other markets, like groceries and retail. Caymanians hurting Caymanians in the shape of cartels in groceries and the likes of AL Thompson making pricing up as they go. Then actually make agencies work in the favour of the consumer, like the pathetic Ofreg. Finally, to improve the reputation of Caymanians who are, rightly in my view, seen as lazy and uncommitted by business, enforce standards including dismissal in the public sector. It’s like a shopping window of what you get if you employ a local. Useless, ineffective, inefficient. Take a look at any of the services, nearly all incapable of a very basic level of service.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no need to use CIREBA. NONE. Any property can simply be sold by the owner. Zero commision.
      Real estate agents add little (nothing) to the process. Except the ability to take money from the seller. No skills at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      CIREBA is like Health Insurance Companies: an American commercial imported system, raping us by providing inferior service except to the very wealthy and ignoring the needs of the majority of the population that cannot afford their monopolistic practices. Just as an eye rolling shake of the head for those of us who struggle to make it here, the head of one of the major real estate firms was a teacher in Texas before coming here (God bless you Jim Bodden…not) and the other was a waiter in Toronto.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can assure you the service is no better when you’re buying or selling an 8 figure house, they just kiss your a55 a whole lot more because they’re making half a million commission. Absurd system.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s enough lawyers and realtors here to supply Hades for decades!

      Seriously, there’s seemingly hundreds of realtors. Why are they needed???

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wealth tax on the five familys

  13. Anonymous says:

    Start the change with addressing caymans horrible public education system

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let’s adopt a Bitcoin Standard like El Salvador and let’s see what Cayman can do. Would be amazing for those of a lower income bracket

  15. Anonymous says:

    Recommended reading for this topic:
    The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson.

    It has been the catalyst for robust conversation with neighbors and family.An eye opener for sure.

  16. Anonymous says:


    Start there. The rest can be fixed, but only if we start from a stable and viable foundation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hear Hear.

      Importing poverty means “Cartel Tourism” if there is anything we learned from Covid it is we do NOT need nor want cruise ships and only a few cartel companies hired slave wage labor to profit from it. Yes, the government got a head-tax per visitor, but it never covered the cost of pollution, reef damage, crowded work homes, and lets get real…. someone tell my How & Why the jewelry stores are still open?
      I hope 60 minutes finally does a regional documentary on duty-free shops really just washing money cuz there is no way these tourist traps have made a dime over the past 18 mos to cover their rent and staff? It is a scam owned by 5 families to wash and rinse me thinks…. ooooh, hit a nerve now same power-rats are known kingpins that hire the gangs?? hmmm get rid of tourist cartel and get rid of the riff-raff at the same time….

      • Anonymous says:

        You’ve fouled that up. That’s not importing poverty. Low wage labour importation is importing poverty.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’ve lived in Cayman for a while. The root problem is single parent Caymanian mothers getting knocked up 3-4 kids with the father no where to be seen. That is the cycle of poverty right there. See if politicians have balls to address this. Same within the United States. REALITY CHECK

    • Anonymous says:

      11:36 you are dead right! Decline in family values started our downward spiral. Children, especially boys, without actively involved fathers rarely turn out well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just Caymanians, women from all over. Don’t think there aren’t just as many Americans, Canadians, and Brits who are coming here, getting knocked up for Caymanian, Jamaican and men of other nationalities, who are leaving them flat on their ass with a kid in tow. Its a horrendous cycle

      • Anonymous says:

        Well the local boys need to have Somebody to pay their bills, house them and buy their drinks..!

    • Anonymous says:

      If only it was that simple.

      There are hundreds of married, two parent households who are on th edge of poverty because of escating health insurance, utilities, housing and food. Wages are flat or declining and all other costs are going up.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Now begins Caymans “Rich versus Poor” war that will continue the downhill fall of Caymans Parasitic Economy. Not hard to see already that customer service in the Islands is a thing of the past and getting worse every day. Caymans customer base was it’s only income and soon they will have none. Can Caymanians survive by living off themselves? Lets wait and see.

    • Anonymous says:

      True. Customer service here is none existent because no one competes with certain businesses. Try to get someone to help you at AL Thompson’s. Not to mention the workers just don’t care to go above and beyond anywhere because upper management is full of lazy people too.

      • Anonymous says:

        People are very helpful st ALT.

        • Anonymous says:

          The odd one is helpful. It’s not just an ALT problem though. Why would you go above and beyond if you earn $6 per hour and have little to no chance to advance?

          • Anonymous says:

            Character. The sentiment express here is that of a loser mentality.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m at ALT a lot. I don’t think there is a problem with customer service there. You need to ask someone for help but frankly I prefer that to being pestered in some shops.

      • Anonymous says:

        No I didn’t like Al’T sitting on the CPA Board but I will say this for his store. I have never ever been in there that the staff have not been helpful and for the most part they are Caymanians which is nice to see a company of that size being responsible in hiring Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Now? It has been here.

  19. anodder anon says:

    Why should people who had the ambition to work smart or hard be penalized for their work ethic because some lazy-ass who chooses to spend his days playing video games, smoking weed & partying feels ‘dis-enfranchised’?
    Equal opportunity, YES.
    Equal outcome? Hell no.
    If you want more out of life then make better choices. You reap what you sew.

  20. Anonymous says:

    👉 “more per capita than any western nation”

    Can you share where that stat comes from?

    I only ask because I read this analysis:

    Go through the report, but note the very last paragraph:
    The official said, “Unfortunately, it is very difficult to estimate what the total budget for public school education is for 2020 and 2021 due to the way information is presented in the various budget documents (we have recently published a reporting on Government’s approach to budgeting) so I cannot provide you with an estimated cost at this stage.”

    So, there are just under 5,000 students in public primary and public secondary schools, but government can’t keep track of any figures.

    Your thoughts?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Here is a question for the premier. If an ordinary person made an appointment to see you and then the governor called to see you at the same time, would you break the first commitment? Addressing inequality starts with seeing everyone as equal regardless of status or material wealth.

  22. Anonymous says:

    So his government has rolled back the salary increases for MP’s given by the PPM then? Must have missed that article.

    • Anonymous says:

      So his government has passed a “code of ethics/conduct” for the Parliament as promised?

  23. Anonymous says:

    We need a wealth tax on multigenerational Caymanians who have a net worth over 5 million dollars. 10% minimum.

    All non primary dwellings should be taxed. If income is derived 15% of all net earnings should be taxed

    • Anonymous says:

      Tax the non-residents. 20% stamp duty. It will lower house prices and generate significant government income. Only losers are the real estate people that have no qualifications.

    • Anonymous says:

      You cant just tax people who have money. It doesn’t work and it’s a slippery slope. What really needs to happen is education needs to not just reach acceptable levels, it needs to accel. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

      • Anonymous says:


      • ANONYMOUS says:

        What a ludicrous comment. Spouting the old “ teach a man to fish “ platitude only has any relevance in underdeveloped countries where people survive in a subsistence economy ( bit like Cayman for a very long time ) and cash is virtually non-existent.
        If this commentator believes education is the simple answer, how long do they think it would take for the present economic gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” to close.

        • Anonymous says:

          Basic literacy would be a good start.

          There are many examples of Caymanians who grew up poor that are now in the high earner category. It wouldn’t take long there is more opportunity here for the underprivileged than just about anywhere else in the world.

      • Anonymous says:


      • Jeff Van says:

        Or teach a man to spell.

      • Anonymous says:

        Teach a man to fish and he plunders the ocean. Overfishing is destroying the marine ecosystems worldwide.

    • Gray Matter says:

      Dream on ! We bought our suitcase here and you brought yours here. Time to pack your bags and go. Just leave us Caymanians al9ne.

      • Anonymous says:

        Huh? Bought, brought.. Suitcase doesn’t know if it coming or going all al9ne

      • Anonymous says:

        Gray – what is that?

      • Anonymous says:

        It would be hilarious if that ever actually happened. In fact, I would almost like it to happen to see the complete collapse of the country and you scratching around the dirt, chasing chickens to eat.

        You’d probably then blame the expats for leaving. Clown.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or you can move to Cuba where they can confiscate your property entirely for the greater good, and let the government spoon feed you some pap, along with some “free” healthcare

    • Anonymous says:

      I think there is certainly a place to have a conversation around reparations between the historical land owners in Cayman and the less fortunate. This historical wrong can be written with a cheque and an apology.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Another weak leader that will dance around the abuses of the immigration system for the benefit of fees and at the expense of Caymanian opportunities.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair we haven’t seen that with this government yet. Time will tell all.

    • Anonymous says:

      No real modern business is going to employ a local dim wit, no matter what. Make your own opportunities like the rest of the world

  25. Anonymous says:

    There’s a homeless guy sleeping outside the Rolex store / hard rock every night on a bench. Maybe time to cut the MP’s pay packages to really set an example and donate to the poor and hungry.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Wokeness is in, critical thinking is out.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Here we go. The elites with boats going to make sure that everyone else has equality of outcomes

  28. Anonymous says:

    Please bear in mind that the government helped create the inequality. Select civil servants retire on extremely generous defined benefits where others get the lousy $1000 a month from private pensions because THEY put the pensions law in place to limit it. They know damn well no one can live on $1000 a month. I hope Mr Premier that when you are relaxing on your million dollar boat you spare a thought for those your government could help.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, thank you! Is anybody listening…

    • Anonymous says:

      And that $1000 a month only lasts as long as your pension pot lasts. Mine was gone in 2.5 years. Now what do I do? Retired, no income, pension pot exhausted. Savings soon will be too. Then what?

      • Anonymous says:

        And no health insurance…

      • Anonymous says:

        Ever thought maybe your situation was caused by not putting enough into pensions and savings in the first place? Why is someone else’s fault?

        • Anonymous says:

          3:03 Exactly! I started saving for retirement when I started working at 16. I knew it wasn’t anyone’s responsibility but my own. I don’t want to be a burden on anyone including the government.

          6:12, if you know you can’t afford to be retired you better keep working instead of whining about being broke. Common sense.

          • Anonymous says:

            Doesn’t matter if you have a million dollars in pension. The current laws restrict payout to 1000 a month.

        • Anonymous says:

          Remember if you earn minimum wage, a 5% contribution is very little. And you don’t have the disposable income to be able to add any more. With the high charges and the terrible investment performance of the pension funds, for those on a low wage, the eventual balance will not be sufficient beyond a few years withdrawals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Get into politics?

    • Anonymous says:

      4:58, do you and your thumbs up supporters against the civil service REALLY believe that their pensions…or those before the defined benefit scheme stopped in 1990…are the main problem in a country when so many lawyers and accountants, mostly from abroad, are earning millions of dollars at year…a year? Are you aware of the package that Mr Panton got from Walkers when he retired at an early age? Are you going to get that sort of package? Do you know any civil servant with anything remotely resembling that package? Are civil servants the cause of inequality in Cayman? Christ Jesus preserve us from morons.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most of those civil servants are still there! Why would they leave with such a cushy outcome. I totally agree with your point about morons, because you missed the point entirely. The example was given to illustrate that the government is instrumental in CREATING INEQUALiTY, get it now?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not expats fault. Thanks for saying this as it’s so frustrating to hear that people coming are the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think Wayne’s boat is worth a million dollars but obviously you are more concerned about degrading him that seeing what he is trying to do. Wayne worked his way through the system all the way up to Partner in one of Cayman’s top law firms. He is trying to create opportunities like that for us Caymanians and the only thing you can do is begrudge for his boat..

      Sometimes I wonder about us Caymanians. It is no wonder everyone can come here and make their fortunes because all we do is try to find ways of pulling each other down.

      The one good thing we can say about Premier Panton is that he made his money the old fashioned way, he worked for it. We can’t say the same about that lot that that was there before sucking off the government tit every chance they got.

      • Anon says:

        Of course those who work hard deserve to succeed but at some level it becomes absurd. For example, I know of one prominent accounting partner here who regularly earns around US$14 million annually.

        Great, smart guy but as with all of these old school partners he essentially earned his way in when there was minimal competition (for clients, promotions, etc.) and the firm was a fraction of its current size. Back then as long as you were around long enough you made it to senior management with relatively minimal effort, while your compensation steadily grew alongside the firm’s headcount and client base.

        Meanwhile some of his qualified accounting staff earn not much more than unskilled laborers (and arguably less on an hourly basis when factoring in tax season, etc.). Of course, these grunt accounting jobs are mainly filled with expat workers glad to earn tax free USD and Cayman residency – even if there is only a 0.1% chance of making partner. Worst case they go home to a cheap country with their tax free earnings set for life. And honestly I don’t blame them.

        As a result, our local wages are so suppressed the average Caymanian student has serious cause to question the merit of becoming a qualified accountant to only begin earning a decent living over a decade after their government worker friends started earning a steady income – for a fraction of the work, and no investment in higher education.

        Caymanians (particularly the young and educated) are fed up. Most of those around my age have had to settle for living at home into their 30s or commuting for hours from the other side of the island to barely scratch out a living, while others rent cramped older condos on the outskirts of SMB or GT for prices that would make a New Yorker blush. But hey, at least New York has rent controls.

        Indeed, the number of my Caymanian friends who have decided they have no hope of building a life here due to the exponentially increasing cost of living amidst stagnant (or even falling) wages is growing by the day. Many have decided to move to the UK as soon as they can – some as early as next year.

        Panton is a good man but at the end of the day talk is cheap – drastic change is required. Even before the virus Cayman was approaching a point of no return where Caymanians not only had to worry about their ability to retire in their homeland, but even to remain here during their working life in a state other than what amounts to servitude. Caymanians in Cayman should be like the Emiratis in the UAE but instead we are like the French in Monaco – transient workers serving the rich for a pittance… but unlike us at least the French aren’t doing it in their own homeland – and they have an affordable place to return home to at the end of each day.

        No politician wants to tax expats to subsidize Caymanians because no politician wants to scare off the financial services industry and thus kill Cayman’s golden goose – and by extension their own political career. Fine, then dedicate a portion of the work permit revenue to do so. Or if that’s still too forward for you then take a nominal portion of each government department’s revenue to do so.

        Of course, the best option would be to use a portion of the gains from a sovereign wealth fund – but we all know Cayman has dropped the ball on that for half a century despite repeated pleas to create a fund to ensure the future prosperity of the territory and its people. Just think of all the onerous post-Ivan / post-recession loans and unequal land for infrastructure / government salaries deals Cayman would have avoided if our leaders of old had the foresight to create such a fund. “The best time to plant a tree…”

        No one is asking for thousands of dollars each month like oil rich Middle Eastern nations because clearly Cayman doesn’t generate billions / trillions of dollars in oil revenue. But if each adult Caymanian was given CI$500 and each child CI$250 monthly Caymanians would at least stop having to worry about where the next meal is coming from as the rich continue to sell our homeland, our national identity, and our future to the highest bidder.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh ffs. Giving money for each child encourages useless people to procreate. Terrible idea.

        • Concerned says:

          Nothing should be given. It creates dependency. What is needed is the removal of no income tax FOR ALL NOT JUST EXPATS. Everyone should pay tax here, based on j ckme with it gradually increasing based on income. Then stop taxing life’s basics like food, clothing and remove stamp duty. Taxing on consumption favours the rich and penalises the poor. But he won’t do it, too political and he hasn’t the balls. Until he acts it’s just rhetoric.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh boo hoo. Same everywhere. Young professionals don’t earn well for a decade anywhere and can’t buy houses in any financial centre. Anyone wanting a job in financial services should be able to NPV their choice of career.

        • Anonymous says:

          I hate to break it to you my friend but if your poorly paid accounting job isn’t giving you and your friends the high end lifestyles you want in Cayman, after tax and rent you’re going to be sorely disappointed in London!

          • Anonymous says:

            you’ve compared a country to one city, saying people can’t live in Cayman as an accountant is the same as saying someone can’t afford to live in the UK as an accountant, not cherry picking “London”.

      • Anonymous says:

        The point is that it is easy to say you are going to fix things while you live a life of luxury. The old argument of he ‘worked for it’ is tiresome and bogus. There are many people that work hard all their lives, but without connections and privilege live a mediocre life without ever attaining a luxury, carefree and financially secure lifestyle. How many of today’s MP’s put their kids in public school?

      • Anonymous says:

        Everyone who comes here makes their fortunes. The only thing everyone who comes here has in common is that they must work. They must work regardless of whether it’s a good paying job or one that just allows them to get by, but in relative safety to where they come from. A percentage of the latter are taken advantage of. Just providing some perspective to your well intentioned post. PS. It’s not that people begrudge his boat. The point is, there are only a handful of boats here in that class. So it may come across as ironic when he presents himself as a man of the people. There are plenty of lawyers world wide who worked their asses off and can’t afford a boat like that. I give him 100% for being a no-excuse Caymanian! A note to all Caymanians. Get an excellent education, work your ass off and you too can excel! Where was his glass ceiling? Where was the employer promoting an expat over him? Wayne doesn’t need to create opportunities, they have always been there and he is proof!

        • Anon says:

          If you knew how many well respected businessmen here got their start in criminal activity in the 70s, 80s, and 90s you’d blush. Investing those proceeds in property, businesses, and favors in the decades since has made them incredibly wealthy… and legitimized them. Plenty of others got rich dealing with them, legitimately or otherwise (e.g. real estate agents, developers, politicians, etc.), and of course their descendants live a life of luxury.

          Ironically, I also know some of their peers who chose to not get involved in crime who still became quite well off simply by being first movers in old Cayman (often with family wealth) in a way that only someone worth tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars could do today.

          I have to admit I come from a family in the latter category but I’ve busted my backside to make something of myself because that’s how my family operates. In fact, I earned more than all of my friends (including accountants) throughout my 20s because I found a niche and excelled – at the expense of my health and happiness. However, I still worry about my future here and will probably settle in the UK unless I start making double what I am or inherit a substantial amount (which is something that is never discussed and by no means certain). The fact that even I am afraid should tell you that the average Caymanian is going to face some extremely difficult choices in the next few years, including whether having children or a home are even options.

          Separately, Panton would have been well off even if he had never become a lawyer thanks to his connections, land holdings, etc.

          And yes, I am the poster @ 12:36 am. I admit I wanted to stoke debate with my original comment and I appreciate the replies. However, I’m not going to post again on this thread to avoid giving away my identity, etc. Cheers and good luck to all.

      • Anonymous says:

        You might add that if he hadnt left Walkers he would be earning way more than the admittedly ridiculously high ages of an MLA – but let’s not think about what that reflects about him and instead whine about how much money he earned because we are jealous.

        • Concerned says:

          And consider the PM in the UK managing a 65 million population is on circa $175,000 while the below average MP here is on more managing 65,000. Not to mention Panton on, what, $250,000? It’s an utter joke what they pay themselves.

      • Anonymous says:

        How much of his Premier’s 20K a month salary you think he’s going to redistribute in order to achieve his equality?

        • Anonymous says:

          The funny thing is that he doesn’t need the money.
          Perhaps he will donate it to Climate Change?

      • Anonymous says:

        Plenty of people work hard all their life. It takes more than hard work for the top positions and let us not forget, connections, privilege and opportunity make it happen, so please stop the ‘he worked for it’ nonsense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Tru Tru again responsible.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually I know some retired teachers living on less than $500 government pension. Humble people who hardly complain. So sad!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Music to my ears.

    Thank you Wayne and May God Bless you in your endeavours.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Wish I had a boat like him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then we could be equals

    • Anonymous says:

      Work for it like he did then you lazy complaining jealous ingrate!

      • Anonymous says:

        Amen @6:58..He/She is one of those people that probably doesn’t strike a lick and expects government to provide everything for them. They don’t really care about the Premier trying to help the majority of us that are doing our best to keep our shame and not have to go to NAU like they do every day..

        I hate to bring up the politics in it again but that is the way the PPM kept their base by using people with this same mentality. They would just throw a few million at NAU to let these people think they were doing something for them but not seeing that they were being played to ensure their votes come election time..People like that will never get ahead in life no matter how you try with them. While the PPM was wining and dining at the Kimpton these people were lined up looking for handouts and a few dollars from NAU.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry. I don’t get anything from government. The person I voted for didn’t get in. Perhaps because she has an education and experience. The next time you post just remember- only an ass assumes.

      • Anonymous says:

        If the majority of his supporters are of your intelligence and class we are all in serious trouble.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why work when you can just vote?

      • Anonymous says:

        Angry small person @6:58pm

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m Caymanian, I thought I worked very hard, but I don’t own a boat like that. Does that make me, my family, and friends lazy? Do you have a boat like that?

      • Anonymous says:

        Most people tend to work hard their entire lives. It takes more than hard work for the top positions and if we are being truthful, it is more about who you are connected to and your privilege in order to even have the opportunity to make it happen. So please stop the ‘he worked for it’ BS. Maybe look at yourself and question who is really the “ingrate”

  31. Anonymous says:

    The inequality is because of a terrible education system – cayman spends more per capita than any western nation on schooling, but very few come out capable of lasting the training phase to end up doing the highest paid jobs available in professional roles in cayman. No one else to blame but the government and specifically the education minister. Just look how terrible the government services are – mainly locals. Wouldn’t last five minutes with that performance in a law firm or accounting firm.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right, but we are seeing big improvements in schools now, it is trending the right way.

      • Anonymous says:

        09@4:59pm- @4:03pm is absolutely correct and perhaps, just maybe, you are also. But compared to the 40 years of damage to the education system (since mid-70s transitions), how much more improvement and how long do you think that will take? At least the same time to make a difference, meanwhile the ball continues rolling downhill.

        Stupid (as in the broken system and too many of it’s products) is not easy to fix.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree – a school is a combination of the quality of the facilities and the quality of the teachers. Improving both assures a good outcome

      • Anonymous says:

        You forgot the quality of parenting. Never forget/ignore that aspect.

      • Concerned says:

        Do you think it will improve while you have zealots at the helm conducting religious exorcisms? That is utter third world right there. The education system is broken because the culture here is broken.

    • Frustrated civil servant says:

      To 4:03pm: I wish to state that it does not matter how efficient, capable and willing most of us are, we are tethered by dysfunctional processes, incompetent people hired through cronyism and the ubiquitous report line.
      How can anyone soar like an eagle, when departments-or entities-are managed by turkeys! If we try to change something for the better, we are quickly “brought to heel” and incompetent staff is transferred instead of being let go. 1000 professionals would do better without 200 slowing us down!

      • Anonymous says:

        And Ministries too.

      • Concerned says:

        Exactly. The culture is cover up and protect when it should be discipline and dismiss. Only when people have something to lose will they perform effectively here. Remove the sense of entitlement.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:03 yep, blame government for all your problems with education because it definitely can’t have anything to do with the family. That is all 100% buttoned-up nice and tight to ensure generational success. Right? Ummmmmmm, no..

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree but even better schools (which I totally agree everyone needs access to quality free education) show the huge inequalities for the pupils and that needs to be fixed. Remember last year when the pandemic hit, schools turned to online learning and some kids could not benefit because they either did not have a computer at home, could not afford internet or worse didn’t have reliable electricity. What are we all doing to improve that situation for the next generation? It is easy to blame the parents, had the kids too young, are not educated blah blah but that still leaves vulnerable children and a future generation in peril.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope it’s because a failure and refusal to follow and enforce our laws, including as to training and promotion.

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