The collaboration of the public and private sectors led to the development of the Future of Cayman economic development initiative back in November 2010.
The whole world was facing global economic challenges which encouraged the Chamber to bring together some of our most experienced and knowledgeable leaders to develop key objectives and actions for our Islands’ future.
Since the signing of the MOU with government in July 2011 the five developed driver groups have been working to complete the set objectives derived from focus group meetings. The FoC reflects the collective power of our community and the shared vision and passion for our success.
Numerous volunteers are working to achieve these objectives. Shopkeepers to chief officers have come together in their areas of speciality, and through a series of meetings are accomplishing great things. It is not the answer to all of our current issues but it is a positive step towards our goal of making Cayman a better place to live, to conduct business and to improve quality of life and infrastructure.
One of the key sources of information gathered for use by the FoC is the annual state of business survey distributed to Chamber member business owners.
Members were asked to identify the main constraints for business growth, and the three top public policy priorities. They were also asked to rate the current economy, the Cayman Islands as a place to conduct business, and government responsiveness.
In keeping with the 2011 survey results, business operating fees have remained the main constraint for businesses in 2012. Optimism is still however prevalent with 80.9 per cent of businesses rating their current level of confidence as good to fair, and more than half of the respondents expecting their profits to increase this year. Interestingly, public safety is rated as the least problematic, along with access to financing.
Each responding business also submitted their top three public policy priorities which reflected the following concerns: cost of doing business, government transparency, promotion of Cayman as a tourism destination, work permit fees, immigration policy and transparency in public office and good governance.
The survey results reconfirm what has already been identified in the FoC strategic report and remain relevant areas for action.
Good governance, in particular has come to light through the recent The UK Bribery Act 2010 and other transparency issues relating to procurement and public office. It plays a large role in many our local news issues and it should be a priority for us all. We are not unique in this quest. In 1994 the UK developed a Committee on Standards in Public Life which is an advisory non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government. The Committee is constituted as a standing body with its members appointed for up to three years. Out of respect for its first Chairman Lord Michael Nolan the following standards are often referred to as The Nolan Principles of Public Life.
Selflessness: Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
Integrity: Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Honesty: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
“Promote good governance and justice” is listed as Objective d in the FoC strategic report under the Quality of Life driver. If you would like to download your own copy of the FoC strategic report you can do so at www.futureofcayman.ky. We also welcome any opinions you may have about good governance or any other FoC related topic through email or facebook which can be accessed through the website. The second Future of Cayman Forum will be held on Friday, 2 November.
If you would like to get involved in the Future of Cayman please contact [email protected]