Wil Pineau, Chamber of Commerce
The five driver groups for the Future of Cayman economic development initiative are working to implement the 16 main objectives. More than 100 committed volunteers are now meeting regularly, gathering information and developing strategies. It is an exciting time for the initiative as some walls that existed for many years between government and the private sector are coming down. It is indeed an enlightening experience for many volunteers and it demonstrates that by working together solutions can be developed to improve business systems, policies and procedures, the business climate and the quality of life for us all.
Initial information confirms that there is a great deal of misinformation, miscommunication and misunderstanding about Cayman’s systems, processes and policies. The goal of the initiative is to provide everyone with quality up-to-date information so that any recommended improvements will make doing business here more efficient, predictable and easier for everyone to understand.
Each of the five driver groups are meeting monthly. Volunteers have been assigned to different actions. For many of the groups, the first assignment has been to gather information and to meet with key officials. It is pointless to develop strategies without understanding what already exists on the ground and to determine what is working and what may need to be improved or modified. Everyone understands that we are working with limited resources and we need to maximise time and talents.
To date there have been achievements for each of the five driver groups. Some may appear to be small steps, but in the big picture, sometimes small steps are the ones that matter the most. Overall, one of the most substantial achievements is the pro-active working relationship that has developed between the driver groups’ cochairs. The coc
hairs from the public and private sectors are busy and talented people who have committed themselves to driving the initiative forward. They are sharing information and are leading their groups in achieving results. They are learning from each other and are sharing essential information that will help each of their groups.
Some achievements to date for four of the five driver groups include:
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 CI Students Association are working collaboratively on the project.
Apilot 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 are 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.
ATerm Limit Review Committee, chaired by 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 recruiting a director of policy coordinator 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 Future of Cayman economic development initiative is producing positive results. If you would like to become involved in one of the five driver groups please visit http://www.futureofcayman.com and download the Strategic Report to learn more about the initiative. Click on the Take Action link on the home page to endorse the initiative, send an email to [email protected] to volunteer to serve on one of the five driver groups or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.