A year into the Chamber of Commerce’s Future of Cayman initiative, people from the public and private sectors are working in concert to pursue a set of common goals and objectives to benefit the local economy.
David Kirkaldy, who took over as Chamber president at the end of the year, said participants have already achieved a handful of victories and will continue efforts up to and beyond the second Future of Cayman Forum to be held in November 2012.
“The first Forum was held in November of 2010. Following that there was quite a bit of data crunching to come up with the list of objectives and action items that would be pursued. It wasn’t really until the first quarter moving into the second quarter of 2011 that the Future of Cayman plan started to gel together in terms of a public document,” he said.
“Between then and now all of the various driver groups have been meeting. Most of them have met several times. They’ve all set up subcommittees to address specific action items within their driver group. Quite a number of those have been crossed off the list and have been accomplished. Others are well in progress, and other have been tabled until they can turn some more attention to it when they’ve knocked a few others off,” Kirkaldy said.
The Future of Cayman plan isn’t simply a grocery list of items participants are hoping to take care of before a predetermined date, he said. Rather, it will be re-evaluated and adapted according to the needs of the community.
“It’s not going to be something that has an end time and we just say, ‘We’ve done it.’ It’s something that come November of next year when the Forum is reconvened, the process will be refined, maybe some new things will be added, but it’s a living breathing document,” Kirkaldy said.
The first Future of Cayman report was made public in July, in concert with a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Chamber to work jointly on the project.
“The agreement really speaks to it being something that becomes a part of the government culture and the public service culture as opposed to the flavour of the month, if you will,” Kirkaldy said.
“It makes the Future of Cayman Forum something that will go on into the future regardless who is at the helm of government from a political standpoint. That was very deliberate, and we were very fortunate at the signing of that agreement and at the launch of the programme to have both the leader of the opposition and the only independent member of the government there in attendance at the Chamber of Commerce,” he said.
When formulating the plan, steering committee members took into account the political manifestos of the ruling United Democratic Party, the opposition People’s Progressive Movement and also of independent candidates in recent and previous elections.
“It’s not the Chamber’s plan or the government’s plan. It’s our plan. It’s an initiative for the for the people of the Cayman Islands. We are trying to get the word out that we want more folks to get involved and serve on the various driver groups,” he said. “There’s a place on each of those for everyone out there. You do not have to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. You do not have to be a civil servant to serve on these. The time commitment is not onerous.”
Kirkaldy is co-chair of the driver group focussed on “Enhance Quality of Life”. There are five driver groups in all.
“Every month every driver group is to submit to the steering committee their matrix of action items they’re working on and the progress that they’re making toward them. As things are accomplished, they’re to be put in a format that is publicly reported on the website, FutureOfCayman.com. Really what that website will become is a central repository for a lot of information, a launching point for finding information,” he said.
While the Chamber is helping lead the Future of Cayman initiative, the organisation itself is also forming a new three-year plan to guide the direction of the Chamber, keeping the initiative in mind.
“The three-year strategic plan is being work on and in the process of being adopted,” Kirkaldy said. “One of the key items in that is engagement and advocacy with stakeholders in government and the private sector to more effectively accomplish everybody’s shared goals and vision for the Islands as outlined in the Future of Cayman economic development initiative.”
Kirkaldy said the initiative gives every resident – Caymanians and expats – the chance to help shape the Islands’ future.
“I am amazed at just how often I hear that the Chamber should be doing this or government should be doing that. This initiative is an opportunity for you to get involved and to put into action some of the ideas thoughts that you believe to be good for the Islands and that we all believe to be good for the Islands and to get involved in what we believe to be a really critical thing,” he said.
Future of Cayman progress report Develop Talent:
The Early Childhood Care and Education system was established in May 2011. Visits to all pre-schools and reception classes have been completed and formal inspections of all but three pre-schools have been completed. Clear development priorities have been identified for each early years setting.
The first annual Parent Education and Information Fair was introduced in May 2011 as part of the Month of the Young Child with excellent private sector participation and positive public response.
The Education Ministry in partnership with DMS broadcasting, Radio Cayman and other media outlets, launched public education campaign on “Valuing Education” at all levels in May-July 2011. Ministry is planning and seeking similar levels of support for a new “Valuing Achievement” campaign for November release.
The Education Ministry is consulting on professional standards for teachers and principals within the Cayman Islands Education system. This will help to inform the criteria for the Golden Apple Awards for Teachers.
A new website, www.showmethemoney.ky, is being developed to provide residents with information about scholarship and training opportunities that exist in the public and private sectors. The Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Education and C.I. Students Association are working collaboratively on the project.
A pilot programme to support the introduction of a new national workforce development strategy is being developed using an action learning model. The proposal will be developed and reviewed by the group by mid-January 2012. Create a business friendly climate:
The Department of Commerce and Investment is developing a comprehensive guide to investing in the Cayman Islands. The driver group is providing examples of how other jurisdictions provide a step by step guide for business investment and procedures. The goal is to make each business process easy to understand and to provide some timelines from receipt of the application to the time it is considered and approved.
Meetings have taken place between Government departments to discuss database integration strategies between key departments for processing and payment of fees: Trade and Business Licensing, Immigration, Pensions and Health Insurance.
A Term Limit Review Committee, chaired by Mrs. Sherri Bodden-Cowan, has been established to review the term limit policy and prepare a report with recommendations within six months. Enhance the Quality of Life
The Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture and Ministry of Education, Training and Employment have partnered to offer an extended after school sports programme in the Government high schools.
The National Drug Council is working with the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment to prepare substance abuse prevention education for the school curriculum to be introduced as soon as possible.
The Ministry of HEYSC launched the National Youth Policy on 30th September and will be partnering with the National Youth Commission, the Department of Sports and the Youth Services Unit to use the National Youth Policy 2011 as a framework to review the youth programmes being offered/funded.
The National Security Council launched the National Crime Prevention Strategy and is currently recruiting a Director of Policy Coordination to oversee its implementation. Build a Smarter Infrastructure
The Energy Policy Review Committee delivered a presentation at the Chamber’s BE INFORMED series on 26th October and provided the community with an update on the progress with developing an energy policy for the Cayman Islands.
The Driver Group is in the process of gathering information to assist with the development of a national infrastructure development plan. All stakeholders are engaged in the process.
Research is being carried out to evaluate how other jurisdictions address the important matter of funding long term infrastructural requirements. Diversify the Economy
Focus groups will be established for various industry sectors that are being targeted for diversification (medical, tourism, film, renewable energy and reinsurance). An online survey is also being developed to gather information regarding the sectors targeted for diversification.