November 29, 2021

Cayman Islands Chamber President Byles attends CEO Conference

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President Paul Byles has wasted no time in diving into his duties, and on Thursday he attended Fidelity Bank’s Cayman Economic Outlook conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Global Integration or Dis-Integration?’ and examined some of the ways in which current economic trends are affecting, and will affect, the Cayman Islands. A selection of leading thinkers and voices for global business, technology, science, finance, politics and culture also attended to discuss this matter in detail.

“A key aspect of our Advocacy Agenda and Action Plan is sustainable economic growth, and ensuring that it is beneficial to everyone,” said President Byles.

“This annual conference plays a key role in informing us all on what the latest economic trends are, and what actions we should be taking in order to develop our economy.”

President Byles also took the opportunity to converse with Fidelity Bank Manager, Brett Hill.

“Fidelity have done an excellent job in hosting this conference annually, and it’s encouraging for the Chamber to have members making a significant impact like this,” he said.

Alongside a panel of expert speakers, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin also delivered an annual address to the audience. Having recently delivered the keynote address at the 2018 Legislative Luncheon, his words were of particular interest to the Chamber.

Premier McLaughlin addressed the topic of economic growth, stating that ‘unemployment has been almost halved over the last six years’ and that the increasing level of work permits is a ‘further indication of a growing economy.’

“Cayman’s economy is founded on the strong entrepreneurial spirit of Caymanians and our willingness to embrace the economic and social contributions of the expatriate community,” he added.

Although Premier McLaughlin noted that unemployment rates had been nearly halved over the last several years, he stated that there are still qualified and experiences Caymanians unable to find employment. At the Legislative Luncheon, he committed, on behalf of the government, to have ‘full Caymanian employment’ by the end of this term.

In his address to the CEO conference audience, Premier McLaughlin reiterated his seriousness about the government’s determination to reduce unemployment to zero, adding that assistance from the Chamber to meet this goal would be appreciated.

“The Chamber is equally committed to working with the government and other stakeholders in ensuring that our economy continues to thrive which will result in more employment for Caymanians. This is why we are creating a small business development centre to provide support services to small businesses which comprise nearly 70% of our corporate membership”, said Mr. Byles. “Each of our small business members employ less than 25 employees but together they provide over 3,500 jobs”, he added.

Together the total Chamber membership employs over 18,111 employees. This represents almost 45% of the total number of persons employed in the country.

President Byles announced that the Chamber will very shortly be holding stakeholder meetings with its members in various industry sectors to better understand their challenges and successes and to see how the Chamber can help them.

Meetings between the Chamber Council and government will resume when the Legislative Assembly meeting next month, and workforce development, educational and economic growth are topics that will certainly be discussed.

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