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Chamber calls for rule enforcement

| 18/06/2015 | 2 Comments
CNS Business

Barry Bodden, President, Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce

(CNS Business): The president of the local Chamber of Commerce is calling on government to prosecute businesses that don’t follow the law. In a message on behalf of the local business association outlining the concerns on its agenda, Barry Bodden said the Chamber Council was concerned about the poor level of enforcement of laws and regulations across the board, from the failure of bosses to pay health insurance to planning infractions.

Pointing to frequent breaches of criminal law, such as drug dealing on the streets of George Town and traffic offences, as well as a disregard for labour and environmental laws, Bodden said, “Businesses and organisations that fail to abide by these laws should be prosecuted.”

In a message circulated to Chamber members in the business community and on its website he said, “There is no sense with passing legislation and warning about fines and penalties when there is no properly resourced enforcement systems in place or the desire to bring these individuals to justice.”

The president said that members who abide by laws and regulations and pay their fees should be supported and not face unfair competition from unscrupulous businesses and organisations that attempt to violate the rules.

The issue of enforcement was front and centre during the recent Finance Committee hearings, in which government ministries have been taken to task by politicians.

Watch video report: Gov’t clampdown on unlicensed vendors

From immigration to planning, a lack of financial resources and headcount in the relevant departments has been the common excuse for the failure of government agencies to ensure the rules are followed and applied equally to all.

And it was government resources or possible lack of that has found the Chamber advocating on the one hand for public sector reform and the implementation of the recommendations from the controversial EY report, while on the other calling for more resources to cope with what it sees as a forthcoming development boom.

Bodden, who is the owner of a heavy equipment company, said the Chamber was anticipating an increase in the number of planning applications for all types of development over the next two years. But, he said, the organisation has concerns that the public sector is ill- equipped to deal with the  planning and work permits applications, as well as the and custom clearances required with this heightened level of business activity as a result of the very rationalisation it is advocating government to undertake.

In an apparent contradiction, the Chamber boss said that he has written to the deputy governor asking him to evaluate and determine whether additional public sector resources need to be put in place for this expected increase in business.

“We do not want government bureaucracy and red tape to slow down Cayman’s economic recovery,” he said as he complained about the problems in his own industry.

“One of the areas of most concern and frustration to the construction sector is the process of receiving a red card from the Building Control Unit (BCU) and the administration of the inspection process once the red card is issued,” Bodden said. “We have been informed that it can take up to 130 days to receive a red card after a project has received planning approval. Building inspectors are inconsistent in their decisions and even approved plans are often not accepted as compliant by inspectors on projects in progress,” he complained, as he asked for the issue to be investigated and the concerns addressed.

Regardless of those very pointed complaints, the president still wants to see government downsize.

On a number of occasions the premier has warned the businesses community that its desire to see smaller government will impact the services that the CIG is called on to deliver. As the economy expands and diversifies, the private sector makes ever increasing demands on the public sector to deliver the necessary supporting services ever more quickly and efficiently. But there is little support for the financial investment required to maintain the level of services business wants to see.

This was illustrated by Bodden’s conflicting position asking for enforcement of rules and speedier services from well-resourced government agencies while urging government to reduce “the size and expense of the public sector”.  Calling for the privatization of unspecified services “best delivered by the private sector”, the Chamber boss also wanted to see a simplification of core application processes, such as immigration, trade and business, pensions, health insurance licensing, planning and customs.

Read full Message from Chamber President Barry Bodden, on behalf of the Council

Category: Featured

Comments (2)

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  1. cimboco says:

    Barry and the chamber needs to make up their minds what they want It looks like they are asking for smaller government and more government workers at the same time. You can’t have it both ways but that is the results of personal demands. I guess he is looking out for his own business, but other businesses needs to go the slow route. WOW!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Where is the Governor on this? She and her FCO are the ones in charge of the police, the courts and all the security issues. As long as they continue to ignore the gangs of multi-generational criminals, don’t expect much on the business crime front.

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