Creating the future together – how the Cayman Islands Investment Council is leading the revival

Sidebar:
Board Members
Many new hotels and major resorts in the Caribbean are failing or are on hold

Mission

  • to increase investment in the Cayman Islands.
  • to drive growth for local businesses.

Objectives

  • To attract international investors of independent means to invest in the Cayman Islands.
  • To attract corporate relocations to the Cayman Islands.
  • To increase stay over tourism.

Strategies

  • To create an international marketing and public relations campaign.
  • To work with government to facilitate the investment process.
  • To raise awareness in the local community regarding the benefits of increased international investment in the country’s economy.

The success of the Cayman Islands, both socially and economically, has historically been based on a unique partnership between the public and private sectors. In these challenging times these two groups are once again coming together to write the next chapter in the islands prosperity.

To describe the Cayman Islands sounds like the introduction to a modern Utopia. Three small islands with an almost perfect climate, surrounded with seas teaming with marine life, where over a hundred nationalities live in harmony. Sports facilities, culture and virtually all civil services are provided at no charge and at high level. There is little crime on the streets and little pollution to mar the crystal clear waters. And of course it is home to a leading international centre of global financial services.
 
But even the Cayman Islands is not immune to the cold winds blown by the worldwide recession. Government revenues have declined significantly while unemployment and its related ills have been on the rise. Tension and fear have become uninvited guests in our communities.
 
This set of circumstances has served as the catalyst for leaders of the Cayman Islands government and prominent business leaders to take a page from our history and join together in finding creative solutions to lead our great nation through these troubled waters and emerge with a stronger, more diverse economy. An economy that will provide growth in prosperity, opportunity and quality of life for all residents.
 
The Cayman Islands Investment Council, formed in early 2009, is a local private sector group dedicated to promoting the sustainable economic growth of the entire Cayman Islands, working collaboratively across all major industries. The founding members of the organisation, many of the leading companies in Cayman, recognised that pooling their resources and working together toward common objectives was perhaps the most effective way to quickly make a positive impact on the economy.
 
The CIIC was not meant to replace any of the existing groups such as Cayman Finance, CIREBA (Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association), CITA (Cayman Islands Tourism Association), ACT (Association of Cruise Tourism), The Chamber of Commerce or others. Instead, CIIC was formed to bring all these groups together and create a unified vision for the growth of existing local businesses and attracting foreign investment in Cayman. This would include encouraging overseas businesses to move operations here, increasing tourist visits and generally making the jurisdiction more attractive to entrepreneurs and investors with money to invest in existing or new projects or businesses. By supporting the growth of local businesses we will help create jobs, which also raises demand for local products and services.
 
Under the CIIC banner, members will pool their resources, both financial and intellectual, to work with the government to lead the Cayman Islands forward and achieve its potential as the finest and most desirable destination in the world in which to invest, live and play.
 
The mission statement for the Investment Council reads: “To increase investment in the Cayman Islands and to drive growth for local businesses.” To that end CIIC will soon be launching an international marketing and public relations campaign to promote the jurisdiction to travelers, business owners and investors. CIIC will also work closely with government agencies to facilitate the investment process and minimise roadblocks to business startups or relocations.
 
They will also be raising awareness in the local community regarding the benefits of increased international investment to the country’s economy.
 
Working in support of Cayman Finance, new proposals on immigration are being presented by CIIC to the government to create a climate where investors and potential residents will view Cayman as a superior option to competing jurisdictions.
 
The Investment Council is also working closely with tourism and financial services stakeholders to coordinate marketing and branding efforts for the Islands. The CIIC is drafting a tourism and development white paper outlining coordinated proposals for increasing inward investment and expanding market share. Initiatives currently being discussed include lengthening of the Owen Roberts International runway and a deep water channel in the north sound.
 
One of the great resources of the Cayman Islands is the people who live here. We are unique in the world, having within our relatively small community leaders in a wide variety of fields such as finance, construction, retail, tourism and law. Some of the world’s best call Cayman home.

The Cayman Islands Investment Council has brought together the leaders of Cayman Finance, CIREBA, The Dart Group, Conyers Dill and Pearman, The Progressive Group (owners of Fosters Food Fair), Orion Developers Ltd. (owners of The Ritz-Carlton), along with leaders from the legal, financial, transportation, tourism, development, construction, medical and small business communities.
 
In the tradition of great leaders from Cayman’s formative years, men such as Sir Vassel Johnson, Bill Walker, Ramon Alberga and Norman Bodden it was time for Cayman’s new generation of leaders to step up and meet the challenges facing our nation today. The recession endangered more than just the public sector. With declining activity in all areas of the economy the future seemed uncertain. Financial service companies were feeling the effects of a major decline in activity and the professional companies that worked with them – legal, banking, accounting, management and others were all wrestling with serious shortfalls.
 
Falling tourism and the collapse of the global real estate market put pressure on resorts, development and the related businesses that catered to their clients. In other regional jurisdictions scores of resorts and development projects closed or were forced out of business, would these things happen in Cayman as well? (see Chart of Project Closures).
 
In an impressive display of nationalism many prominent Caymanians and respected firms responded to the call. Each of the CIIC Board members have their own wide range of contacts and colleagues, both to draw ideas from and to bounce suggestions off. Their focus was to generate concrete business solutions that made short and long term sense for the Cayman Islands. CIIC also acts as a clearinghouse of information so that each of the separate entities, such as Cayman Finance or CITA, would know what was being discussed to avoid duplication of efforts.
 
Working with government, members of the CIIC and other private sector contributors worked to find ways to cut costs and increase revenues over the short, medium and long term. They were involved in the recent budget discussions and had a hand in the formation of the Private Finance Initiative Committee, which is tackling government budget ratios by addressing the opportunities to restructure certain government assets.
 
The CIIC is set to continue its positive impact with seats on the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau and the newly formed National Investment Council.
 
According to Chairman Michael Ryan “The ability to bring together all the strengths that exist in the Cayman Islands economy is an unforeseen benefit of the current crisis, and properly focused it will allow Cayman to shape its future so all Caymanians can enjoy a brighter tomorrow.”

creatingSM

Members of the CIIC Board – Front Row: Jackie Doak, Jeremy Hurst, Tony Catallonotto, Pilar Bush, Ed Grammp. Back Row: Kevin Butler, Michael Alberga, Phillip Ebanks, Marcus Cumber. Absent from Photo: Mike Ryan, Gene Thompson, Eduardo Da Silva, Woody Foster, Ken Hydes, Franz Ferschke.