Caymanians, the people that time forgot

| 07/02/2024 | 54 Comments

Reckoning2025 writes: I attended the 2024 Economic Forum and came to the conclusion that they were not addressing the 800-pound gorillas in the room while inserting some crumbs for Caymanians. To put the speeches in perspective given by the three politicians, namely the premier, the deputy premier and the minister of tourism and ports, I sum up:

The government reinstated $2 million support to assist private schools with operational costs, yet students are migrating back to government schools. The premier claims this was the result of better government school performance. Really? Is it not due to the fact that Caymanian parents can’t afford to keep them in private schools due to increased school fees driven by placement needed for expats and the cost of living?

She then answered a question from the audience from an insurance lobbyist claiming they want to do business here but can’t relocate due to private school overcrowding. She said she has no problem with having another private school built. She admitted that infrastructure had not kept pace with the rapid increase in population since COVID-19. But do you encourage more development for a transient workforce? Or are they transient? Our point system allows them to stay. 

She also said that she hopes to attract students to attend the Cayman Brac High School. So now we know why $50 million is being expensed. Development is headed to the Brac, and they can accommodate the expat spillover for the main island, too.

It was announced that airlift will increase to the Brac. This will help accommodate Frank Schilling and his Port Zeus project. By the way, the deputy premier said that Cayman already registers 60% of the world’s yachts, so expect that number to climb when Port Zeus comes into service. Do you think it will stop with just the registration of yachts?

The premier said revenues were projected at a billion and operating expenses around a billion, leaving a small surplus, yet they need to borrow more money for capital projects. Is this prudent? Is it realistic to assume they will meet those revenue projections and manage expenses? We now have over half a billion in loans to pay back, and any miscalculation will result in violating the PMFL. Are we too big to fail? 

At no point did any one of them address the fact that we have developed too fast and continue to do so at the cost of inflation, increased traffic, lack of housing, etc., for our people. The PACT government campaigned on over-development but they have put in an express lane for developers.

The former premier, Wayne Panton, made the mistake of not putting planning under his belt, and the minister of planning has been embroiled in attempting to sue the government to advance development, while his NHDT portfolio has been fraught with issues, with the former chairman in court and the CEO resigning. 

They suggested changes to the laws to allow hotel developers et al the flexibility to build bungalows to house expat workers as a solution. Really???? We continue to import poverty. We know we don’t have the population to fill all jobs, but the thousands on NAU assistance could do these jobs if they were paying higher wages. There are several ways the government can incentivise to aid with this, but they would rather collect fees for their reelection war chest.

The real kicker for the minister of tourism and ports is to hear that his colleagues don’t support immigration reform. Their message was clear: Keep development coming, and we can figure it out as we go along.

The deputy premier invited help to build bungalows for Caymanians as part of his social policy. So, let us break that down in real English. If developers/financiers, etc, want to get breaks on business, help fund this project by the government. This government really thinks their smooth talk is fooling the masses. Nothing is free.

The minister of tourism then touted the $500k annual grant programme for new tourism products but not how it would work and how recipients would be held accountable. If they get $10k, then what? How do you recycle that to make money?

The deputy premier mentioned crowdfunding to help entrepreneurs and using wallets to facilitate the unbanked population. He has spoken with two vendors. Let’s see how the local banks respond to that. Is our population large enough to validate this technology, and will CIMA be okay with this? Bank fees here are already high, and the use of wallets will increase fees to the vendor that get passed back to the consumer.

We already have a spending culture, not a saving culture, and fintechs speed processes up but can lead to more spending and risk. The introduction of the national identification cards helps with due diligence for the unbanked, but we know the majority of the unbanked are temporary work permit holders. We all know there is exploitation going on with these workers, and many are being paid below the minimum wage.

Will the banks accept a national ID to bank these people, and what will be the outcome from a regulatory position as banks are already overburdened with regulation to stop proceeds of crime, etc? The fronting needs to be looked into first as the WORC system is failing, and the ease of opening a business has created unintended consequences of allowing fronting.

The deputy premier took us on a journey of early Cayman to where we are now, from seamen and turtling to the financial empire we have today. He said that Cayman could have been the islands that time forgot had our forefathers not had the vision to change our economic path.

I am sure some of our forefathers are rolling in their graves as our economic advancement is leaving ownership off the table, and Caymanians are the people that time forgot.


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Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The one thing that Caymanians can’t blame expats for is the state of the CIG. That is their own homegrown disaster. And still they won’t even think of changing voting or eligibility laws to allow a different perspective on things. Reap it Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hope you realize “eligibility” will result in final Jamaican status holder takeover.
      Instead choose carefully who you vote for next time around.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s an awful lot of words for saying the island has sold it jewels to highest foreigner without asking for anything back. It can change.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Many Caymanians are obsesssed with their antiquated perceptions of success: salary grade levels, titles, who’s got what material trappings, and finger pointing, instead of valuing integrity, thinking, and career contributions for the world. Someone else is always to blame.

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  4. Kman says:

    Also agricultural and farming has been ignored, we’ll become more self sufficient once we grow our own produce which will ensure us being healthier while lowering our cost of living. We created a brain drain by investing only in banking and tourism.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That what generates the income for our overpaid self serving politicians .
      Ask them to come up with alternative income solutions and you get Kenny beach, Kenny private jet terminal, but no shift from 3rd world education .

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  5. Kman says:

    Caymanians the ones that sold our soul and islands to greed and corruption.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair to yourself and other Caymanians, you’re dealing with some of the worlds best shysters and carpetbaggers.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians need to petition to amend the Elections Law to ban convicted criminals from office, reinstate SIPL compliance, and criminal penalties for corruption. Whine all you want about everything else, because it doesn’t matter if you continue to ignore the caliber of who you allow to assume the levers of power. God doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    In addition to more vocational training, why not lure some manufacturing imdustries here to provide Caymanians a steady source of work with a good income and benefits?

    Anyone can learn to assemble things with enough training.

    A great example is automakers locating in poor rural areas in America. The unskilled workforce was trained and the industries gave them not just a job, but a great career.

    Not saying it has to be automobiles, but surely we could attempt to attract industries.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but this is an absolutely laughable idea. Cayman is one of the most expensive places on earth to do bussiness and you want to bring low value add manufacturing? Like what exactly? Higher value add manufacturing requires educated, qualified and motivated workers… all forms require an ecosystem of industrial support services machine tools, cnc servicing etc.. all of which would need importing at great cost plus all materials imported and finished goods exported. Did Kenny come up with this idea?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian public servant of 36 years here. I get to retire on 12k a year, that’s how much government cares.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What did you do as a civil servant.?

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    • Kman says:

      So sad, you should be receiving at least $36,000 a year + $5,000 for COLA and with a fully paid insurance coverage for the rest of your life. We should have a Sovereign Fund that pays out each Caymanian $50,000 a year from the age of 50.

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      • Anonymous says:

        With no mortgage, I can barely pay light bill and groceries. I have some savings used for home maintenance but can’t afford to insure. I do not need a lot just enough to cover the essentials but 12k a year can’t do it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Many GOC public servants make Less than $3,000 monthly for full time work. so pension is also small.
      A real shame in 2024.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    British Overseas Territories Citizens to be precise.

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  10. Emperor’s new clothes says:

    The one hour sermon delivered to the business leaders sitting in pew like rows was poorly executed and shockingly delivered from the Brac MP who has for decades ruled public lands and education…badly. She asked for a new private school but seems to have no clue one has just been built- with no help from Madam that’s for sure.

    Kenneth delivered a ridiculous Elon Musk type infrastructure plan that was so unbelievable no-one paid attention.

    What was clear is that neither has a clue about striking the balance for the economy and wellbeing of these islands:

    God may have spared us from storm destruction but certainly not from stupidity.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I love HOW Minister of Tourism said NEW bespoke tours and mentioned “not another walking tour of George Town”
    yet, I have been on 5+ cruises to Grand Cayman (his target Demographics) and not ONE Cruise line had anything up on their tour excursion boards, except Turtle Farm – yeah I go that waaaay back:) or Stingray City. No, I have never seen a “tasting tour” or a Maritime History Tour, or ANY Walking Tours –
    Nope only BUS or Water tours available on the Cruise Ship EXCURSION boards and nothing under $99 per person. The Trolley Roger was the cheapest and always sold out.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One thing I can suggest, ignore the on-board tour excursion boards. Book tours directly and miss out the cruise line middle-man. Same tour better price. I do this on every cruise I have been on. The Internet opens this all up. You can even purchase after disembarking. Maybe then you would fine a different type of tour experience.

  12. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian, I can tell you that FIRST, it is the Caymanian’s that forgot about themselves … who they were. We abandoned the trades and started telling our kids that ‘that kind of work, is for other people, not us… we then adopted an immigration-first policy that now have more foreigners in our population than locals (Yes, Caymanians are the minority). We started selling off all our forefathers lands to anyone with a dollar and then abandoned our local people and married foreigners en-mass. YES, it’s easy to talk about what government did and didn’t do for the locals, all the while pouring ‘false entitlement’ sauce over the real problem… We Caymanians did it …. we specialize in living for today, while our competitors (the same foreigners we welcomed and who are now the so-called Paper CAYMANIANS) are planning for tomorrow. The torch has been passed, on what was once called a Caymanian. The New Caymanians are alive and well and he/she may look and sound a bit different, but rest assured they are a formidable force and have true entitlement to the blessings of Cayman …. THEY EARNED IT!

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    • Forte Banks says:

      Almost all of what you said, I agree with EXCEPT;

      “They Earned It” … NO, They BOUGHT It

      See, as Caymanians, I would say most of us didn’t value our country the way the foreigners do. Our biggest problem was not appreciating the Cayman enough.

      We undervalued beachfront land, what the threshold for investment should be, what our people are capable of, how much we can charge Developers and Investors etc etc

      THIS is how we SOLD Our SOUL.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It’s called GREED … As a writer below so eloquently stated, we sold our birthright (land, businesses, ownerships in same, and even our offspring) for short-term luxuries then when we saw the ‘other people’ were getting ahead, we cried wolf expecting that the almighty GOV would rescue is …. NOT happening. The ship sailed and we Caymanians keep trying to close the door … too late. It’s the new Caymanians (same one the old Caymanians been ridiculing and called paper and driftwood) that are now the voting mass and we better all come together and stop the dividing because those new Caymanians are now the status quo … like it or not. Come together my people!

      • Anonymous says:

        Wait, just because they followed the rules put in place by the CI Government, you are saying that these people BOUGHT it? They were required to BUY it, by the LAW.

    • Kman says:

      Spot on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    To the writer’s point on the budget, the norwester tore up roads so repairs works need to be carried out. Does the budget have any room to handle the unexpected??
    CMR put an article on their website that contractors aren’t getting paid by NHDT although the budget was passed yet the Minister Jay Ebanks won’t comment.
    The people deserve an answer!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Being elected to office does not endow one with education, intellect, integrity or management skills.
      We shouldn’t be surprised if any of them , except for Andre, fail to display ANY of those qualities.
      Juju, Jay, Mac, Kenneth,Seymour and Saunders are there for the fat salary and perks, so let’s all stop being disappointed or surprised, that they behave the way they do.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    If developers were prohibited from paying ‘consulting fees’ to politicians and from making ‘campaign contributions’ to politicians, perhaps the needs of Caymanians would come into better focus for our politicians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Developers. Realtors.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Whatever, you can’t deny that buying land in the Brac is an attractive proposition, and given the overcrowding and horrendous cost of Living in Grand, relocating to the Brac is an inevitable fact.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I wouldn’t be so sure. We are Caymanian, soon to be retirees, and are looking very seriously at Panama, Cost Rica, and a few South American locales for our retirement years. We wouldn’t count on our MPs to water our plants, let alone look out for our interests. Might as well relocate to a slightly better third world destination, with infrastructure, services, and a future resilience plan. I assure you, we are not alone.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Some prominent, past politicians are known as “Planning Consultants”. They ease the path for the very wealthy developers by utilising their past goodwill to get things done through the various departments responsible and involved in the planning process.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Well written Viewpoint. Thank you.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Good Summation / Real-Talk

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Some very inciteful points.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Some good points made but least we forget these are Caymanians selling out Caymanians. Our honourable members behave in the way they do for the sake of personal enrichment and profile. Could it be possible that any would give up their salaries and perks if it would result in tangible benefits for the people they alledgedly represent? Recent history shows absolutely not, they’ll fight tooth and nail to look after themselves rather making any form of honourable choice. They may be of the people but they are not for the people, they’re out for themselves and a small group of ultra rich associates. Hence the situation you alode to in your comments.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    complete mess and chamber should have walked out in protest.
    chamber is sleepwalking into economic disaster for cayman

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians the people that their representatives forgot.

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