CIG is helping economic growth, claims premier

| 14/10/2014 | 1 Comment
CNS Business

Premier Alden McLaughlin (right) with Chamber of Commerce President Johann Moxam

(CNS): Economic activity is on the up, Premier Alden McLaughlin has said, and his government is helping things along. Marketing Cayman as a great place to do business was a key focus of the Progressive administration, he said at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Lunch last week, as he revealed a number of new initiatives, business friendly policies and progress on major developments.

The premier said that even talks with Dart Realty (Cayman) were now moving in the right direction to amend the so-called National Road Authority (NRA) agreement (see document below). Describing it as a long and controversial affair, he refused to say more for fear of jinxing the negotiations but said Dart had confirmed plans for another hotel on Seven Mile Beach. Pointing to the redevelopment of the Hyatt and the construction of a new condo resort on the North Sound, he listed a number of hoped-for projects.

As with the previous premier, McLaughlin made it clear that the government will be depending on construction and development to boost Cayman’s economy and create jobs. In his State of the Nation address delivered Thursday, he listed a catalogue of potential developments and a number of business-friendly policies that he said were boosting the economy.

“Cabinet has just approved an amendment to the Immigration Regulations that will allow those travelling to the islands for business to remain in the country for up to 10 days without the need for a work permit,” McLaughlin announced, adding that government is introducing a pilot programme offering VIP concierge services for business people to be fast-tracked through immigration and customs when they come into and leave the country. He also said that long-term visitors who own homes in Cayman will be able to apply to stay in the country for up to six months.

Turning to the list of much hoped-for developments, the premier said, “Economic activity is on the upswing and there are a number of new investments in the works, which we know will provide jobs once they come on stream.”

He said that before the end of the year, work will start on the 10-mile stretch of the East-West arterial linking Hirst Road in Savannah to Frank Sound Road in North Side.

“The road is crucial to Ironwood Development, a residential golfing community that has the endorsement of golf legend Arnold Palmer.” The project will take 20 years to complete, which, he said, should mean a steady need for Caymanian workers. “It is envisioned that Ironwood will ultimately spread across 600 acres and include a hotel, conference centre, sports village and homes for around 2,000 people.”

He said Dart was making headway on its boutique hotel and said that the $309 million project will generate 400 jobs and add another layer to the options available in Cayman’s high-end tourism product.

“An additional hotel is planned for Camana Bay between Royal Palms and the West Indian Club that, when finished, will provide additional rooms and residences. It will be a 10-15 year development, meaning a steady arena for jobs,” he added, as he also pointed to the Forum Lane office development and the refurbishment of the Cayman Islands Yacht Club by the islands’ biggest developer.

He said government was working with a Caymanian developer on the Gran Palazzo, a waterfront condominium complex on the North Sound side of West Bay, which could create 250 jobs during the five-year build out.

In Bodden Town, he said, zone changes had paved the way for a planned hotel development in Beach Bay, which would create employment opportunities in the district and increase room stock. McLaughlin added that a “knock-on benefit will be the construction of a stretch of seaside road, linking Beach Bay Road with Manse Road.”

Alongside the private sector investments, the premier said that his recent trip to Vegas to the Internet Marketing Association’s IMPACT14 conference with Cayman Enterprise City had paid off, and revealed that the Internet Marketing Association will be hosting an industry event in Cayman next April. A first for Cayman, he said it would bring IMA board members and some of the world’s technology thought leaders to the islands for a series of meetings, tours of the CEC zone and industry networking events. He also said that IMA would be establishing a small presence within CEC for its international business operations that will help promote the Cayman Islands and CEC.

“This is good news for Cayman and Enterprise City and a good example of how partnering with the private sector can have positive, tangible results. I look forward to more interactions of this nature across all industries,” the premier said. “The trip and its outcomes are just another way to build up confidence and reputation, both of which are critical to inward investment.”

McLaughlin also said CEC had acquired a 50-acre site that will become the permanent home for the campus on the outskirts of George Town, “just minutes from the airport and government is working with them on completing an already gazetted access road,” he added.

Independent Review of the NRA agreement, May 2013

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Category: Construction, Employment, Government, ICT, Local Business, Technology

Comments (1)

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  1. Sharkey says:

    I hope he Remember these words at the end of his term ” his government “.

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