CEC added US $70M to local economy

| 21/01/2016 | 8 Comments
CNS Business

Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO Cayman Enterprise City

(CNS Business): Cayman Enterprise City officials say that the special economic zone (SEZ) has attracted 60 new companies over the past year, that its impact to the local economy since its creation is nearly US$70 million and that there are now around 300 zone-based employees. Almost five years after former premier McKeeva Bush announced plans for a deal with investors and potential developers to create a campus in Cayman for technology businesses, the current management team has now received planning permission for that long-awaited development.

Over the last few years foreign companies registering with CEC leased offices in various locations in and around George Town and were given favourable terms under the SEZ law for recruiting foreign workers and duty cuts on the importation of relevant equipment, as well as other incentives. It has often been a point of contention for the long-established financial firms here that their industry could not be ring-fenced in the same way.

But according to officials, the creation of CEC was to diversify the Cayman economy by attracting direct foreign investment and new technology-focused industries that had not previously set up here and the zone was designed to create new career opportunities for locals.

However, immigration statistics reveal that 263 of the 300 posts that CEC claims have been created are held by overseas workers, meaning that just 37 jobs have gone to locals.

Nevertheless, government has been extremely supportive of the project and has helped promote the zone overseas to foreign investors. “As one of the largest financial service centres in the world, we are a community that is business focused and welcome a diversity of businesses to our shores,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said.

Government has now approved CEC’s Master Plan Zoning to create a mixed-use business-oriented campus on 70 acres, five minutes from central George Town in the South Sound area, and some of CEC’s existing clients will eventually move into the specially designed campus and out of the rented offices, which officials describe as interim zone buildings.

The campus will cover 850,000 square-feet of office, commercial and residential space. Land preparation, grading, and preliminary work on the site will begin early this year and the first two buildings are expected to be completed in 2018, with further construction on-going, CEC said.

“With the advent of the zone, Cayman is now earning a reputation for producing a lot more than just great financial structures and rum cakes, said CEC CEO Charlie Kirkconnell. “We are now seeing incredible software products, digital media, apps and all kinds of intellectual property being created right here in the Cayman Islands. It’s amazing to see our vision come to fruition.”

Commerce Minister Wayne Panton said the current management team, led by Kirkconnell, had done an excellent job and had shown good progress in increasing the business it attracts to Cayman. “The great strides being made underscore our reasons for being positive and optimistic about the future of CEC and the Cayman Islands.”

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Category: Construction, Employment, Local Business, Technology

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the whole island should apply this program to prosper. Seems non CEC companies are downsizing and leave. Government !!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Alden, if you want to welcome business here you had better look at your immigration department and law which YOU are directly responsible for and which is plainly neither protecting Cayman (we are being flooded by poor immigrants who are straining social services, the department of education, the health services authority, and the DER and hampering their ability to properly take care of our own people who need help) nor Caymanians (the amount of Expats getting positions for unskilled roles and being abused or otherwise treated outside of the minimum requirements of our laws is an open joke, and one for which there seems to be no shame).

    This all makes government short of money and needing to raise or maintain more taxes, raising the cost of living for all of us.

    CEC is a success, will continue to grow, and is good, but ask yourself – why are people really going there. The answer is usually because they do not have to deal with immigration. Fix it!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I more Kirkconnells would enter politics. We need them badly to get the island back to glory. MOSES IS THE ONLY ONE DOING A DAMN to make a difference in the island.
    KIRKCONNELLS FOR PREMIER!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Str…………………………………tech those figures!

  5. Island Honkey says:

    Is this the same Charlie Kirkconnell who is in charge of this BSP?

    In accordance with the provisions of section 4 (4) of the Immigration Law, (2013 Revision), the following persons have been appointed to the Business Staffing Plan Board to hold office at the pleasure of the Governor:

    Name Role
    Mr Charles Kirkconnell Chairman
    Mr Phillip Jackson Deputy Chairman
    Miss Tammy Seymour Member
    Mr Kenneth Thompson Member
    Mr Rhonda Ebanks Member
    Ms Christopher Goddard Member
    Mr Edward Chisholm Member
    Mrs Ruth Williams Member
    Mrs Tristana Ebanks Member
    The Director of Employment Relations or Designate Member (non voting)
    The Chief Education Officer or Deputy Member (non voting)
    The Chief Immigration Officer or Deputy Member (non-voting)
    The Director of Boards & Work Permits or Designate Member (non-voting)
    Secretary of the Business Staffing Plan Board Member (non-voting)
    Assistant Secretary of the Business Staffing Plan Board Member (non voting)

    Is this not a conflict of interest?

    • Hail de Man says:

      How can you 3:39 pm imply that a member of the stalwart bourgeois could be in a conflict of interest situation. Off with ya head they will soon say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently they are required to recuse themselves when matters they have a conflict with arise. I am aware of one Chairperson of the PR Board who actually did recuse themselves then conflicted. The people who don’t abide are lower down the totem pole sir, look there.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Balderbash!

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