It’s official: Cayman’s eye is officially off the financial ball as a UK publication has ranked Cayman the 24th "leading" financial centre in the world.
The Compass reported today that the Global Financial Centres Index showed Cayman’s perceived prowess as a “leading financial centre” is slipping, and it appears our local leaders have no contingencies to effectively deal with Cayman’s sagging image.
Everywhere in Cayman people complain that tourism is down, local merchants are having bad years financially, prices are high, etc… which can only serve to further eat away at Cayman’s self-appointed title of “(fifth) leading financial centre in the world.”
Regardless of whether or not the GFCI is accurate, at the very least it again brings to light the continued lack of foresight and planning inherent in Cayman’s archaic and xenophobic political system.
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority’s Tim Ridley put the broken record back on the turntable and played song number one on side A entitled, “…We need to do better at providing consistent, high quality service at a competitive price.” But, as usual, no one in government is listening.
Because they’re too busy sewing their political quilts, giving lip-service answers to basic questions, and battling with publishers of local publications over air freight bills, journalistic integrity and – ridiculously enough – accusations of defacing the Cayman flag. (I got news for you Alfie – if Cayman continues to slip, David Legge’s next re-design of the Cayman flag will include a solid black flag upon which is written a Latin phrase stating, “Turn out the lights, the party is over.”)
Whether Cayman is ranked 4th or 24th, the GFCI stated again what we have known all along. More has to be done to further diversify Cayman’s financial environment while at the same time – as Ridley stated – “…developing, promoting and implementing much better long term, coherent and consistent policies on a wide range of issues such as immigration, education, health care, and infrastructure...”
There’s an old saying that you business owners know quite well that says, “If you’re not growing you’re dying – you just don’t know it.” And in spite of Cayman’s increased population growth, the economy is not keeping pace.
What needs to be done is this: The LA needs to sit down and get to work – period.
The important issues of the day are NOT Cayman Not News, Desmond Sleaze, David Legge, Alfonso Wright, McKeeva, Kurt, etc… Those topics are mere symptoms of a deeper systemic epidemic called “politicitis.”
The important issue is, simply put: What is the government going to do to ensure that they educate our kids, provide a safe and professional health services delivery system, and establish an environment where workers don’t have to worry about expulsion as the result of political whim?
I and others have been saying for a long time now that Cayman does NOT have the resources in these islands to support growth and development – we MUST import educated and experienced professionals to help us and government must work more closely with the private sector to ensure proper economic growth, not the false growth we have presently.
This has nothing to do with pride and everything to do with survival. Some locals would say, “If you don’t like Cayman then leave.” I would argue that’s a wish no one wants to see come true because this is not Caymanian versus ex-pat; this is 50,000 people in Cayman versus the rest of the world.
We’re all in this together, but a lot of people fail to understand this – worse yet, they understand it yet choose to ignore it.
And it this point we can’t really think about getting ahead until we take care of just catching up. That’s right folks – we have to make sure we don’t slip further before we consider climbing back up the rope, and for that we need leadership that understands the balance between national pride and prudent fiscal policy, good governance and private sector participation.
There are too many big heads with big mouths, tiny ears and small minds in the LA and the government to effectively understand the magnitude of what needs to happen in order to simply keep Cayman’s financial train from jumping the tracks.
The government must – MUST - begin to listen more intently to the private sector on issues such as immigration, health care and economic policy.
And love him or hate him – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – but McKeeva was a puppet for the private sector and in spite of questionable real estate deals, his poor communication skills and his lack of formal education, he understands that there are people here managing more than a trillion dollars who most definitely want to see Cayman succeed.
And McKeeva is an opportunist who knows how to profit from a whole host of opportunities while at the same time ensuring Caymanian people benefit from his successes and have working appliances in their homes.
And if Cayman succeeds, everyone here succeeds. Count on it.
And for Cayman to succeed Cayman needs help from abroad - period.
There are more people in Cayman today than ever before, yet the economy stinks, the government is ineffective, the disdain between Caymanians and ex-pats still exists to the detriment of everyone, tourism is slumping, and Cayman’s image and financial standing are headed down the toilet. And all because no one will make the tough AND correct decisions to move Cayman forward because economic policy is repeatedly supplanted by national pride.
Let’s face it - if you have a bad immigration policy and a horrible health care system coupled with escalating inflation, stagnant salaries, ineffective political leadership and poor planning, you cannot attract and/or retain the type and quality of people necessary to drive Cayman’s number one industry – in spite of national pride.
And as far as pride is concerned, I'm not sure what's worse: The fact that the GFCI thinks we're Puerto Rico or the fact that we think we're the best.
Cayman needs to wake up and smell the imported coffee before they sit down to their imported full English breakfast in a bakery run by an ex-pat and watch imported television programmes on their imported TVs next to their imported leaders of Caymanian finance who will drive their imported cars to offices built by imported labour.
At the very least we need to stop exporting our poor image.