Chamber president turns focus to education

Education will be a central priority for new Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce president Kyle Broadhurst.

The attorney succeeded 2016 president Paul Pearson in February.

While Broadhurst will serve a quick year in the role, he hopes to use his term to solidify educational collaboration between the chamber and government.

“The long-term vision would be to go to have a school system that’s producing students that are among the best in the world. What we should be aiming for is the absolute best,” he said.

“We’re dealing with a situation where we are a very small island, small population. We have a very high GDP per person. We should be shooting for the best.”

The Chamber has launched a series of focus groups and information sessions with government, schools and nonprofits aimed at identifying long-term needs. Broadhurst described a vision for the Chamber to become a permanent, vocal advocate for education and vocational training.

“One of the things I would like to see happen during the year I am at the helm is for the Chamber to form a definitive policy for how it’s going to do this in the future,” Broadhurst said.

“This is not a one or two-year thing that needs to be done. This is generational and it needs to be maintained. So it’s a never-ending effort.”

He encouraged youth to think creatively about their career goals. He pointed to the wide spectrum of professional needs in the Cayman Islands, from medicine to tourism.

“Chamber members want to see suitable, trained individuals that are capable of coming in and being part of their workforce or to start new businesses of their own so that our Chamber members can do business with them,” he said.

Public education initiatives

The Chamber will also step up public education efforts this year with a series of animated videos about economic development.

The 10-video series will launch April 5 at Regal Cinemas in Camana Bay.

“They are intended to be able to provide really digestible information, basically some simple economic information about how the economy works, what the role of the private sector is, what the role of government is, how that all interplays with each other,” Broadhurst said.

“Essentially the concept here is to start inserting information into the debate about economic growth, making sure the facts about what it is and what it isn’t are known.”

Candidate forums

Ahead of the May 2017 election, the Chamber will host candidate forums. It has planned 19, one in each constituency. The Cayman Brac forum will be broadcast on Rooster 101.9. All other forums will be broadcast on television.

Broadhurst said a Chamber survey indicated the most important election issues for its members include education, crime, economic growth, waste management and labor.

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