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Good morning my friends, Happy Tuesday. Earlier today, I held a brief meeting with Premier Panton. It is clear from that meeting that the Premier and I have differences that are material to us working together, and as such, I have resigned as a Minister of Cabinet and a member of PACT effective immediately. While I am sure that many of you would love to know what those differences are, in the best interest of our beloved Cayman Islands it is best that those differences remain between the Premier and me. The political stability and the international reputation of the Cayman Islands are more important than those differences. In the past, I would remind my colleagues that M.P. means more to me than D.P. and I look forward to continuing my role as an Independent Member of Parliament representing the good, decent, and hardworking people of my home district of Bodden Town West. As you would imagine, the nature of politics requires that this situation be used to destabilize the government and by extension our country, and as such, I encourage you all to not fall prey to those temptations and instead keep this Government in your prayers. The Government failures are our failures. The Government challenges are our challenges. The Government successes are our successes. I wish my former colleagues in the PACT Government all the best and look forward to working with them on the opposite side of the aisle in Parliament. May God bless you all and may God continue to bless our beloved Cayman Islands. One love. One Cayman Chris Saunders
Hon. G Wayne Panton, JP, MP Premier and Minister for Sustainability & Climate Resiliency and Minister for Finance & Economic Development Hon. Juliana Y. O’Connor-Connolly, JP, MP Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Minister for District Administration & Lands Ministers: Hon. Bernie A. Bush, MP, Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture & Heritage Hon. Kenneth Bryan, MP, Minister for Tourism & Ports Hon. Andre M. Ebanks, MP, Minister for Financial Services & Commerce and Minister for Investment, Innovation & Social Development Hon. Johany S. “Jay” Ebanks, MP, Minister for Planning, Agriculture, Housing, & Infrastructure Hon. Sabrina Turner, MP, Minister for Health & Wellness and Home Affairs Hon. Dwayne Seymour, MP, Ministry of Border Control and Labour Ex-Officio Members: Hon. Franz I. Manderson, MBE, Cert. Hon., JP, Deputy Governor Hon. Samuel Bulgin, QC, JP, Attorney General UPDATED: 21 March 2023
Grand Cayman, March 21, 2023 – Today, Premier Hon. Wayne Panton announced several changes to the Ministers of Cabinet in order to create better synergies and improve delivery of results in the PACT Government’s stated priority areas. Over the past weeks, the Premier has been carefully evaluating the PACT Government’s performance over the first two years. During that time, the country emerged from COVID-19 restrictions, its borders were fully and safely reopened and the economy has not only recovered, it has equalled or surpassed pre-pandemic levels of activity. Under the new Ministerial arrangements, Christopher Saunders, MP, will no longer serve in Cabinet and Premier Hon. Wayne Panton will take on the additional responsibility for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, has been appointed as Deputy Premier and will retain her two current Ministries of Education and District Administration and Lands. Further, Hon. Dwayne Seymour will become Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Border Control and Labour and relinquishes his roles as Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary. Other changes include moving the responsibility for Public Transport to Minister Hon. Jay Ebanks, who already has the National Roads Authority and responsibility for Traffic Management. Consolidating all traffic related matters under the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure will allow that Ministry to bring forth comprehensive solutions to deal with traffic issues. Minister Hon. Kenneth Bryan retains responsibility for Tourism and Ports. All other Ministerial assignments will remain the same. “I wish to thank Mr. Saunders for his service and contributions to the Government. I am looking forward to the results that Minister Hon. Jay Ebanks and his Ministry will deliver particularly in addressing current traffic issues now that all traffic related functions are consolidated under a single Ministry,” said Premier Panton. “Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour will take on Border Control and Labour where, as an experienced Minister, he will be able to accelerate some of the work already underway and in short order bring forward recommendations on the Minimum Wage and changes to the immigration points system for permanent residency. Finally, I have full confidence that Deputy Premier Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, an accomplished Minister and former Premier herself, will provide exemplary leadership in the role of Deputy Premier,” concluded Premier Panton.
The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the results from the annual State of Business Survey are back. Every year the survey is sent out to Chamber members with the purpose of finding out member views on issues impacting their own business, the economy, the community and the environment. The results enable the Chamber Council to determine advocacy priorities. The survey contains a varied series open-ended questions designed to bring out a wide spectrum of ideas, concerns and perspectives. In many of the questions, respondents are invited to list up to three answers, ranking them in order of importance. Results showed that the cost of living, alongside the cost of doing business stood out as top areas of concern across-the-board. There were also calls to increase the speed and efficiency of interacting with Government agencies, especially in vital areas of business operation such as recruitment. Traffic congestion and the reduction of crime were also highlighted. In answer to question 9, “What three business issues should the Chamber advocate in 2023?” members’ chief concerns, amounting to 33% centred on increased costs including rent, utilities, insurance payments and other necessities. 11% of respondents called for a ‘Reduction in red tape,’ which included more streamlined processes for vital aspects of business operation, especially in areas such as work permit application times as particular priorities. In Question 10, “What three community issues should the council address in 2023?” the cost of living and crime each accounted for around 16% of total answers. Cost of living concerns included ‘Lack of affordable housing’ among more general calls to address inflation. Traffic congestion and the need for a better public transport public transport accounted for a further 12% of responses. In Question 11, “Which three Government policy changes should the Chamber Council advocate for in 2023?” 12 % answered work permit along with WORC processing times were their main concerns, while 8% called for pension reforms. Traffic and transportation were named too and ranged between calling on restrictions on the number of vehicles being imported, to the creation of a ‘local transportation policy.’ In response to Question 12, “If the Chamber were to achieve only one success in 2023, what would be most helpful to your business?” cost of living and doing business again came top, accounting for around 20% of the total number of answers. This was broken down under headings including the high cost of rent, utilities, and costs and coverage of health insurance payments. Under this section, too, there was again consistent call for streamlining transactions with government entities to enable faster processing of work permits and other matters relating to recruitment, such as WORC processing times, along with reducing government fees, especially for small businesses. Other recurring themes appearing throughout the survey included special considerations aimed at protecting, small-and-micro businesses, education, and training of Caymanians. There were also calls for more recycling, single-use plastics and programmes which protect the environment. Community cohesion, especially in relation to breaking down the division between Caymanians and expats was also mentioned. Reducing violent crime, such as armed robberies, was consistently mentioned, but other kinds of crime such as financial crime were also named in the survey.
The Chamber of Commerce recognised Cristina Spratt as their Volunteer of the Year during their Annual General Meeting held at the Marriott Resort on Thursday 9 February. Presenting her award Chamber President Shomari Scott said, “I would like to recognise on individual who has committed her time, energy and expertise to support one of the Chamber’s signature programmes, Leadership Cayman, as Chairperson in 2022. She is an amazing individual who has contributed so much to the work of the Chamber over the years. It is only fitting that she be recognised as the Chamber’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year.” Cristina graduated from the Leadership Cayman programme in 2015 and has been part of the Planning Committee for several years. In 2022 she chaired the programme and worked along with the class to organise a class project that raised more than CI$ 75,000 in less than 10 hours for the Boyz 2 Men mentorship programme. Cristina Spratt is the newly appointed Country Manager for Flow Cayman Islands. She has been employed with Flow/Cable & Wireless since 2019, having worked in the telecommunications sector for over 12 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering from the Industrial University in Santander, Columbia. She has over 18 years of technology expertise, having worked with Fortune 500 technology leaders in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean As a Not-for-profit organisation The Chamber depends on committed and dependable volunteers for all its programmes and events, and the Chamber is fortunate to have attracted many talented and committed leaders who assist the President, Council and staff with completing its programme of work each year. Chamber programmes such as Junior Achievement, Mentoring Cayman and Leadership Cayman all require volunteers who are committed to helping run these programmes over a longer period of time. If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Chamber at 949-8090 or Caymanchamber.ky
The Hon. Wayne Panton, Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency was the guest speaker at the Chamber AGM, on February 9 at the Grand Cayman Resort. Sharing the PACT government’s vision for commitment to a strong economy along with a robust social agenda, Premier Panton said: “ I am pleased to report that our economy is strong and getting stronger. Our economic growth rate is among the best in the region – we are in excess of 3.5% in real terms based on the last published numbers. International business is thriving. Hotels are full again. Shops and restaurants are bustling. And jobs are available up and down the economic ladder. It is my pleasure to report that, thanks to the successful reopening of the economy, there will be a surplus in this year’s budget.” Premier Panton highlighted several more achievements, including the extended reduction in fees for small and micro businesses, and a reduction in liquor license fees which benefitted a total of 380 license holders. “We also have made significant progress in meeting the ever-changing standards of the global financial regulatory regime,” Mr. Panton said. “Serving in Government is a privilege; it is not a right. It is not about personalities or power; it is about service and it is about people. We came into office promising to be a different kind of Government, a more transparent government, a government that grew our economy while at the same time ensuring that Caymanians are not left behind.”’ Premier Panton highlighted some of the provisions of the Government’s Sustainability Agenda, including an adjusted minimum wage, a substantial investment in affordable housing, and working with public and private sector initiatives to train Caymanians to earn, and keep higher skilled jobs, “From trades to board rooms.” It also included the development of a comprehensive transportation plan that, he said, included new roads infrastructure along with incentives for car sharing, biking and a new clean and reliable public transport system. “To outgoing President Scott, thank you for all you have done for our Country and our economy. To incoming President Dilbert, congratulations and best of luck during your tenure. I look forward to working with you to build a stronger and more secure economy where the rising tide of prosperity truly raises all ships or all people across our three islands.”
Nelson Dilbert was welcomed as the Chamber of Commerce’s new President at the 2022 AGM on Feb 9 at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort. Mr. Dilbert has served on the Chamber Council since 2021, first as Vice President and then as President-Elect. During his acceptance speech Mr. Dilbert thanked outgoing President Shomari Scott: “Shomari has kept the Council and Executive Committee focused and efficient during the past year, using his extensive public and private sector experience and solutions-oriented management style to benefit the Chamber greatly,” he said. Owner of the Cayman Spirit Company and several other tourism-related businesses, Mr. Dilbert’s entrepreneurial journey began with the Old Punch Brewery at Big Daddy’s, before opening Hammerhead’s Brew Pub in Central George Town. In 2006 Mr. Dilbert developed Cayman’s first locally made rum, Seven Fathoms, with partner Walter Romanica. Today the Cayman Spirit Company sells local products in the US, Canada, and Europe. Looking forward to his tenure as President, Mr. Dilbert said, “2023 is off to a positive start and in the months ahead there are more exciting plans being developed that will engage our members and the wider community. These include hosting a series of focus groups with chamber members across the various industry sectors to gain a better understanding of their needs on how we can serve them better. “We will be developing a campaign to explain the benefits of Chamber membership, specifically targeted for micro and small businesses. It is one of my personal goals to attract more micro and small businesses to the Chamber, and working with the ministry of Commerce and Innovation to discuss areas for innovation that could generate new sources of economic activity.” Mr. Dilbert said that the Chamber would also continue its quarterly meetings with Caucus, the Minister of Commerce and innovation and other key government departments such as WORC and Customs, Providing members’ feedback on key areas that will impact the National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, and Establishing closer links with businesses in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to involve them in the Chamber activities and to better understand their needs. The Chamber would also develop a new three-year strategic plan, he said. “The newly elected Chamber and I look forward to engaging with the membership on these activities as we work together to build a better and more resilient community. Before he left the podium, Mr. Dilbert presented Shomari Scott, with a special award of appreciation for his tenure as President.
Shomari Scott warmly welcomed incoming President Nelson Dilbert, along with the Chamber’s new President Elect, Joanne Lawson, during his final speech as President at the Chamber AGM on February 9: “I am excited for the leadership that will follow from a notable entrepreneur and small business owner to a successful professional who will be the first female President in several years,” he said. “The Chamber of Commerce is an ever evolving and continuously growing organisation that isn’t rooted in its President or its Executive Committee but rather the will and wants of the member companies, organisations for who and which we serve. “Supporting, promoting, and protecting the health of the business community is the DNA of the organisation and we will continue to fulfil this mission as you will hear from the incoming President. We look forward to putting our collective shoulder to the wheel to help to shape the vision for the future of our beloved islands as we grapple with population growth, sustainable development and educating our youth to partake of this economic miracle.” Mr. Scott said that he planned to remain involved with the Chamber’s valuable work in the future, before recapping on some of the Chamber’s 2022 achievements including the launch of the VoTech Stars Campaign, helping the Boyz 2 Men charity and taking on the operations of the Junior Achievement programme. “These will all impact positively on our youth and their success in the future,” he said. Mr. Scott was pleased to unveil the first of a new series of the award-winning animated “Growth Matters,” videos. The series began in 2017 with the aim of providing schools and the general public with a better understanding of how Cayman’s economy works, and why the private sector is the engine driving economic growth. The new series focusses on financial services and their important contribution to Cayman’s economy, and is entitled, “Financial Services Matters.” As the third consecutive Chamber President to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 among member businesses and throughout the islands, Mr. Scott looked forward to a “Tether free,” 2023, and the “Reignition of Cayman’s prosperity engine.” ”We have proven as a Chamber and as a country that we can deal with what would be deemed an insurmountable immediate catastrophe. Now it’s time to focus and move forward and demonstrate that together with government and private sector we can plan our course, ensuring that Caymanians receive opportunities to succeed and for our beloved Islands to flourish. Our ancestors laid the foundation for the miracle we are living today. It is our duty to ensure that our people continue to become entrepreneurs and business leaders, so that the future generations can reap the economic and social rewards from the land they call home,” he said. After inviting all 2022 Council members to ‘stand and be recognised,’ Mr. Scott presented awards to three retiring Council members who had completed their 2-year term, Marc Langevin, Omari Corbin and Richard Harrison.
Five new Nominees who had previously been submitted to the Chamber Nominations Committee were elected to the Chamber Council during this year’s AGM on 9 February at the Marriott Grand Cayman Resort. The nominations included positions for Vice President and Treasurer, along with three additional Council members. Voting took place by ballot early in the proceedings, allowing the votes to be counted. Later in the meeting Chamber CEO Wil Pineau announced the results. Omari Corbin was elected Vice President. Mr. Corbin, who served on the Chamber Council throughout 2022, is presently Director of Credit Risk Management, Wholesale, at RBC. Barbados. A forward-thinking banking professional and leader with almost 20 years of experience throughout the Caribbean, Mr. Corbin holds a BSc Computer Science & Accounts (First Class Honors) from the University of the West Indies. He is a constant contributor to his community and has previously served on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is a previous Chamber Mentor. Mr. Corbin is also Immediate Past President of the Cayman Islands Bankers Association and a member of the 2017 Leadership Cayman cohort. Colin Robinson was re-elected as Treasurer. As Director of SRS Cayman Islands, Mr. Robinson is responsible for the day-to-day management of portfolio of the SRS Cayman Islands captive insurance company clients, providing accounting, regulatory compliance, and general management services. Each of the three newly elected Councilors, Matthew Adam, Sarah Hobbs and Dan DeFinis represents a different sector of Cayman’s industry, ensuring that a wide spectrum of industry perspectives are supported within the Council. Matthew Adam, CPA, is a Director of Cayman Crystal Caves. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree and a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and is a Licensed Practitioner by the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants. He has over 15 years’ experience in the Financial Services Industry, providing accounting and auditing services to hedge funds, trust companies, and private banks. Sarah Hobbs is presently Vice President and Country Head of Scotiabank & Trust (Cayman) Ltd. With over 25 years of experience in the Financial Services industry , Ms. Hobbs has held increasingly senior positions over her career in Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and Operations. Ms. Hobbs is the current President of the Cayman Islands Banker’s Association. Ms. Hobbs loves travelling and spending time with her family and is passionate about the environment and giving back to the community. Dan DeFinis is Chief Executive and Engineering Officer with Davenport Development. In 2014 Mr. DeFinis began working at the Ritz-Carlton as Chief Engineer. In 2017, he became Engineering Manager for Cricket Square, and was recently appointed Chief Executive and Engineering Officer. He currently serves as President of the Cayman Contractors Association.
The 2022 AGM, held at the Marriott Grand Cayman Resort on 9 February, was a great opportunity for the Chamber Council to recognise the Chamber Champions – businesses that go ‘above-and-beyond’ – in their effort to help the Chamber’s mission to, ‘Support, Promote and Protect,’ through its programmes and events. In 2022 25 member organisations qualified as Chamber Champions, and Chamber President Shomari Scott was pleased to welcome representatives from each organisation to come to the front and receive their Chamber Champion awards. In addition to financial support through sponsorship, many of the Chamber Champions have given consistently of their time, talent and in-kind, making Chamber programmes and events even more successful. Their help touches every Chamber activity, including signature events such as the Earth Day Clean-Up, the Golf Classic, and the Legislative Luncheon, as well as signature programmes like Leadership Cayman, Mentoring Cayman and the Chamber’s new workforce development initiative, VoTech Stars. Many of the Champions also contributed by using Chamber resources such as the Chamber Training Centre or by participating in the Member’s Perks Programme. Chamber Champions are divided into Chamber Advocates, who contributed more than CI$ 10,000, Chamber Advisors who contributed between CI$ 7,500 and CI$ 9,999, and Chamber Stewards who contributed between CI$ 5,000 and CI$ 7,499 in total throughout 2022 Chamber Advocates included Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd, Corporate Electric, Davenport Development, Digicel, Fosters, Health City Cayman Islands, Rawlinson & Hunter, RBC Royal Bank, RSM Cayman Ltd, and Walkers. Chamber Advisors included Butterfield, Cayman National, CICSA Credit Union, Dart, HSM, and Maples Group. Chamber Stewards included Aquilae Consulting Group, Cayman Contractors Association, Cayman Turtle Conservation & Education Centre, CG BritCay, Cox Lumber, Inspire Cayman Training Ltd, Logic, Powah Ltd, and Wheaton Precious Metals. “The Chamber Council, staff and I thank you all for your dedicated support and engagement with the Chamber, and we look forward to serving you in 2023,” Mr. Scott said.