January 18, 2022

Cayman Islands premier’s speech (in full) at the 2016 Chamber luncheon

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By Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MLA Wednesday, 19 October, 2016
Ritz Carlton

Good afternoon,

When I first addressed the Chamber Legislative Luncheon back in September 2013, I commented on the importance of a genuine partnership between Government and private enterprise. I also said a respectful and genuine partnership is required if government and private enterprise are to achieve mutual goals. And indeed this Administration and the Chamber have worked together in partnership in many areas over the course of the term.
At times the relationship has been better than at others, but the partnership has never been in question. We have agreed to disagree on occasion but both Government and the Chamber understand that the partnership is of critical importance to the continued prosperity of these Islands and our people.
Business cannot prosper if the country does not prosper. And the country will not prosper if business does not do well.
I have always believed this. And my time as Premier has underscored this to me.

I also believe that for a partnership to work, all sides must not only work together but also listen to the other views and perspectives.
So with that said President Paul, I wish to thank you for your comments earlier – I know that they are meant in the spirit of partnership. And I trust that what I have to say on behalf of Government will be taken in that very same spirit of partnership.
We know that the cost of doing business is always prominent among the concerns of the Chamber. And I am happy to say this Administration has worked hard to address this. We started by cutting the fuel duty charged to CUC from 75 cents per gallon to 25 cents per gallon, thereby lowering the cost of electricity bills. This has reduced government revenue but has had the advantage of leaving some $17M in the pockets a year of individuals and businesses annually.
We also reduced the duty paid by licensed traders from 22 per cent to 20 per cent. This cost Government $4M annually in lost revenues but also reduced the import duty costs to businesses and has allowed them the ability to provide better pricing to local customers.
We significantly reduced Government fees for small businesses and have forgiven those businesses that may have fallen behind on their fees, provided they pay the current fee to reinstate them. Once this is done these businesses once again become eligible to bid on government contracts.
No new fees and taxes 4 budgets in a row! There has never been another administration that has gone a full term

without increasing fees and taxes but instead has reduced them. But we have done so. And as the economy improves we will look again at what taxes or fees can be further reduced. So, while I acknowledge the continued concern about the cost of doing business, I believe that everyone will agree that this Administration has done a significant amount to address this issue.
And finally, on this point , I should say that we have done this while still managing to give the Civil Service a much deserved cost of living increase as well as an ex-gratia payment in 2 of the previous budget years. This is additional money that they have available to spend in the local economy.
I can certainly say the business community has been saying to us that Cayman is in a much better place than it was four years ago. Some in this room have even reminded me of a pre-election survey that the Chamber did of its members in February 2013, 3 months prior to the last elections.
Some 92 per cent of the 254 businesses that responded to that survey said they were not satisfied with the way things were going in the Cayman Islands at that time.
This was reflected in the pre-election survey results where the main concern of businesses was a lack of confidence in the competency of the then government. Our detractors have said and continue to say lots of uncharitable things about us, but even they have not seriously questioned this Government’s competence or integrity.
Other top concerns of Chamber members back then included the country’s finances and the economy as well as social issues. These are issues that we have worked hard to correct.
I believe that when the Chamber does its next election survey the results will show a much more positive outlook. I say this with confidence because the economy has improved, businesses are doing well and our people are getting back to work again.
I will not be shy about saying this; we are at this point because of the efforts and ability of the team I lead. Our policies and key decisions have worked to improve the economy and have created an environment for businesses to thrive and for everyday people to have opportunities to improve the lives of their families. Make no mistake about it. Elections do matter. The people you choose to form your government do make a difference to the fortunes of the country, for better or worse.
The success that we have enjoyed does not just come down to competence. This Government understands the value of teamwork, hard work and the importance of sticking to an agreed plan and agreed principles.
There is no secret that we have had our share of challenges. The fact that 3 members of the original team deserted the government benches over the course of the last year posed a serious threat to the stability of the government. But we persevered and weathered the storm. Each of us that remained took on greater responsibility and, indeed, as the record shows, we are delivering on our mandate.
The 10 of us who currently make up the government are committed to continuing to provide this country with good honest and capable leadership. We understand that politics is both the art of the possible and the art of compromise. To succeed as a government we understand that there has to be give and take; that you must have the maturity to disagree on issues but still be able to continue to work together in the best interest of the country. There is no room for selfish, narrow-minded thinking when you are running a country.
You in this room are business people so you understand well the importance of organisation, cooperation and teamwork; of having goals and plans and the ability to execute them.

I acknowledge full well that there is more work to be done over the remaining months of this term but we are moving forward. We have laid a solid foundation for a brighter future for these Islands. And we will fight hard for the opportunity to return to office and build on the work of another term.
After which I will retire to my farm and the bush in East End, worn-out but contented.

But however hard-fought the upcoming elections in Cayman will be, I certainly hope that it is nowhere near as crazy as these upcoming US elections.
All I have to say is that there is only one redeeming thing about the Donald and Hillary Show. On November 8 it will be over at sundown. And let everybody pray that there are no hanging chads – for we could not go through this thing again. We need to get our TV back.
But I digress.

At the start our term in 2013 we understood that we faced several challenges, not least of which was an economy in stagnation; a stagnation that had at its root the lack of confidence in Government that I mentioned earlier; a stagnation where businesses were hesitant to invest. There was also rancour with the UK over good governance issues. Unemployment was at the highest it had been for decades and families and small businesses were under increased stress.
We understood very well from Day One that, as Winston Churchill said, “The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.”

So we were prepared for the challenges. And we set out with ambitious plans for these Islands. Plans to: Restore confidence in Cayman and in Government;
Strengthen the economy; Stabilise Government finances;
Reduce the tax burden where practical;

And improve employment and opportunities for our people.

Over these three- and a-half-years we have worked tirelessly to bring about a recovery of Cayman that has been so successful it has been recognised in the UK, in the region, and elsewhere.
We put in place a credible but challenging plan to restore government finances over a sensible three-year period. And we have been extremely disciplined in carrying out our plans.
Our last three budgets have generated net surpluses, including the results of the Statutory Authorities and Government Companies, totalling $395M. We did this despite giving up tens of millions annually in tax reductions and in correcting inequalities in civil servants’ salaries and more. All of which has put over $30M annually back into the economy. By comparison, the UDP’s last three budgets created net surpluses totalling only $40M.
When we were elected the country’s total debt stood at about $574M. Over the past three years we have reduced debt by $71M, to $503M as at the end of the last fiscal year. By December 31, 2017, under current plans, debt will be further reduced by $52M, to $451M. And so far we have set aside $18M in a debt service sinking fund, which can be used to repay debt in future years as needed.
The debt service ratio at the end of the last fiscal year was below the 10 per cent prescribed by the PMFL, and with our no new borrowing and debt reduction policies we intend to keep it there.
No other country in our region and few countries in the world, regardless of size, can match this.

We have also put aside money and rebuilt our cash reserves and, as at the end of September this year, we are able to fund 199 days – that’s over six months or $314M, of Government’s estimated operating expenses; an important cushion for the uncertainties of the economies of the modern world.
And as you know we have met all the targets required under the Public Management and Finance Law and going forward the United Kingdom will not need to pre-approve Government’s budgets.
I have to thank Minister Archer and his team for the fine work they do in the Finance Ministry. But I also give thanks to my entire team, who though they rightly fight their corner for their ministry’s share of the budget, also step up and compromise when needed.
I have to point out, in case you some of you missed it, that this Government now has two Ministers who have been internationally recognised for their work. The Deputy Premier was acknowledged last year as Tourism Minister of the Year for the Caribbean for his sterling work in growing our tourism numbers and championing improvements to our airports and seaports.
And Minister Archer was recently named 2016 Finance Minister of the year for the Caribbean by Global Markets magazine. In announcing the award the magazine quoted RBC’s Caribbean economist, Marla Dukharan, who said the achievement in restoring Cayman’s finances, reducing debt, and growing the economy was impressive.
But what Ms Dukharan could have also noted was that these impressive improvements to Government finances and to Cayman’s economy were done with no new taxes, no new borrowing, with government operating from a cash position and without use of an overdraft.
In fact we have not used an overdraft since we cancelled that facility three budgets ago.

So operating costs are being met from available resources – we are spending what we have. And we have managed government finances in a manner that ensures we do have the necessary funds available.
Capital improvements are also being funded from available cash, with no new borrowing, including funding for key projects such as:
Continuation of the John Gray High School;

On-going road network upgrades and expansions including Linford Pierson Highway; Work on a new residential mental health facility; and the purchase of lands for national conservation, including the property next to Smith Barcadere. Other key government projects under way include:
The Owen Roberts International Airport where Phase I of redevelopment has been completed. Construction of Phase

II and expansion of the terminal has been awarded to McAlpine Ltd. The project is due for completion in summer

2018.

Work on a modern cruise berthing and cargo port continues to progress.

Baird, which completed the Environmental Impact Assessment and conceptual design, provided a draft report of alternative layouts for the facility that repositions the piers into deeper water and reduces dredging and environmental impact and accommodates four of the largest class of cruise vessels.
The Ministry issued a request for proposals for firms to conduct civil engineering design works for the proposed cruise berthing facility. The tender was awarded to Royal Haskoning DHV.
The contractor prequalification process is projected for December this year or January next and the tender process for construction is projected for March 2017.

Preliminary work to create a boardwalk and seaside park in South Sound has begun and will be completed by the end of this year. And with the purchase of the property next to Smith Barcadere we will create a Smith Barcadere beach and park experience. When complete both the South Sound seaside park and the Smith Barcadere beach park will become invaluable family spaces.
We are committed to preserving other sites as well, such as Point of Sand property on Little Cayman. Preserving lands for public use, along with the passing of the National Conservation Law, are an important part of our efforts to preserve our heritage and environment. We are business friendly but we are also an environment friendly Government. The key is to strike the right balance between encouraging needed business and protecting our environment. I believe that we have done well in this regard.
Work to develop a modern Waste Management system has reached a key milestone with the Outline Business Case being completed and put out for public consultation. It is expected that a request for proposals for a private sector partner will be published in the coming months with a contract to be awarded before the elections in May. I can also confirm that sources of funding are being identified to meet government’s financial contribution to the project over the course of the next 25 years.
The solution will include a waste-to-energy plant that, along with recycling of the tyres at the dump, enhancing recycling generally and the creation of a composting facility, will reduce the amount of refuse going into the landfill by an estimated 95 per cent of what it is today.
This government remains committed to doing what must be done for the long term health and viability of the country, including bringing about a proper integrated solid waste management facility.
Operating a proper waste management facility creates opportunities for many more jobs, including engineering jobs, than those available by merely operating a landfill. So while there will be costs associated with such a facility, there are opportunities for private sector involvement and creation of new jobs for our people.
And on the health front we have also been proactive in fighting threats such as Zika – using money, people, science and technology in seeking to eradicate the Aedis Aegypti mosquito, which carries diseases that threaten our health and economy.
As we get ready to send out an RFP for a new waste management facility, the Legislative Assembly has this week approved a second reading of the Procurement Bill (2016), which sets up an improved and transparent tendering process for public bids for anything from purchasing supplies to the construction of public buildings. Also included is the ability to use a variety of tendering processes including innovative electronic reverse auctions.
As I have said many times, President Paul – we are a Government that gets things done. But we are also a government that has worked to return good governance to the business of governing by practicing it; not just talking about it.
The result of all of this is that confidence in Cayman has returned. Investors and businesses have learned that they can trust this Government to keep its word and get things done. This renewed confidence has led to local businesses expanding, new businesses starting up, and several major new projects being planned and in the works. At least in part, the reason for the challenges at Immigration and Planning is the sheer number of applications. Work permits are at an all-time high and Planning applications are at an all-time high.
And with increased economic activity, since our taking office, Cayman’s GDP has grown on average by 2 per cent annually. This is far better than the negligible growth under the previous administration. And the most recent

indicators show a rise of GDP by 2.4 per cent during the first quarter of this year. So we are poised for even more growth. This is obvious as you drive throughout these Islands.
The development sector is doing very well with projects of all sizes under way. Since May of last year the Planning Department has processed well over 1,200 planning applications with project values totalling in excess of $800M in Cayman dollars.
Just last month the NCB Group broke ground on Tides, a $33M residential development – their third major development in as many years. This is a good indicator of the confidence in Cayman that businesses have since this Government was elected. There are other exciting development projects on the way such as Vela and Fin. The Arnold Palmer golf course at Ironwood Development in North Side is also expected to begin soon.
Other ongoing projects include the Kimpton and Margaritaville, which will provide additional room stock, in different market segments, to support our growing tourism numbers.
Dart has announced plans to build another resort that, when complete, will create unique experiences for tourists and residents.
I am happy to say Dart is also working with Government to add 2 additional lanes to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway as agreed in the third amendment to the NRA Agreement, which we negotiated and signed earlier this year. That agreement also removed the sharing of tourist room taxes with Dart, which was a feature of the previous agreement. Tourist arrivals by air are at record numbers, with about 383,000 visitors arriving in 2014 and 385,000 in 2015. These are the highest air arrivals in more than two decades. So far this year arrivals are doing well, with 282,000 visitors by the end of August.
Cruise arrivals also tell a good story, with about 1.61 million cruise visitors in 2014 and 1.72 million in 2015. These are the best numbers for cruise arrivals since 2006. The cruise numbers for 2016 are off to a good start with 1.2 million arrivals in the first 8 months of the year and we are expecting to end the year with more arrivals than in 2015. With increasing air arrivals, Cayman Airways announced plans to modernise its fleet. Next month CAL expects to add a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This will serve as a bridge to the airline’s new 737-8 Max aircrafts that will be delivered between 2018 and 2020. CAL will also add a second SAAB and will possibly use it beyond the Cayman Brac route to new regional routes such as Montego Bay. Plans are also being advanced to fly into Roatan, Honduras, starting in February 2017.
Financial services and company registration continues to do well, and recent legislation has helped not only enhance the sector’s ability to meet global compliance standards but also to be more competitive with product offerings. This includes the Limited Liability Company Law as well as improvements to our copyright, patents and trademarks regime.
This Government has tackled several issues that past governments have not had the political will or fortitude to take on; one being the modernisation of the Legal Practitioners Law. Although we have deferred the bill to the next meeting of the House in January in order to give interested parties more time to consider the bill and make representations to Government, I want to assure all concerned that this Government is determined to pass a modern, effective law to bring the regulation of legal practice in the Cayman Islands into the 21st Century.
And as the economy has improved so have employment opportunities for our people. In fact Caymanian unemployment has fallen from a high of 10.5 per cent in 2012, (with about 1,925 persons being unemployed), to a low of 5.7 per cent, (or about 1,100 persons), in spring 2016. Underemployment has also fallen over the past year. That means more Caymanians are employed and working the hours they need to.

But we are not – indeed we cannot be – satisfied until every Caymanian willing and able to work has an opportunity to do so. Being Caymanian is not an automatic qualification for a job. But certainly every Caymanian who is willing and able to do a job must have the opportunity to get employment.
We know that the best social programme is a good job.

We have engaged Government agencies and the private sector to assist Caymanians, especially those challenged with maintaining employment, to receive the help and mentorship needed. And programmes such as Ready-2-Work Cayman are making a difference and achieving success.
President Paul you and some others in this room have played an important role in making this successful. I thank my Ready-2-Work Task Force Co-Chair Woody Foster and all task force members and civil servants for the hard work they have put into this project.
I also thank all the businesses involved. But we need more businesses to play a part so that we can have the best opportunities to match individuals to businesses with jobs for which they are best suited.
The Hospitality School was restarted under this Administration and is a joint venture between Government, UCCI and tourism partners. This year we have some 40 students learning the hospitality business and getting first-hand experience working alongside professionals in the industry.
Just today we concluded debate on the long-awaited Education Bill. When it comes in to effect next month, the law will establish modern legislative and administrative frameworks for our public education system. Our goal is to ensure the education system is well suited to prepare our children for jobs and opportunities.
And a few months ago Cabinet dedicated a further $3.2M to Education’s 2016-2017 budget for an overall expenditure of almost $150.6M. This is the second largest item in this Government’s budget, second only to national security. This is a good indicator of the priority we place on the education of our youth.
We also recognise that small businesses are key job creators and we have greatly reduced fees for small businesses. The number of small businesses being started has doubled since this initiative was created and I trust many of them have become members of the Chamber.
Jobs are important to families but so is the ability to make a dollar stretch. The reductions we made to taxes have helped to reduce the cost of living.
Additionally we expect that the soon to be created Utility Regulation and Competition Office will greatly assist in ensuring that the utility and fuels sectors operate competitively and indeed fairly – removing all doubts regarding the possibilities of overcharging.
The Consumer Price Index has fallen consistently since 2015. The most recent survey indicates that it has fallen again by 2.8 per cent in March 2016 compared to March 2015.
Undoubtedly, decreasing oil prices are helping drive this, but decreases have also been aided by the reductions in import duty on consumable goods and on the diesel used by Caribbean Utilities Company to generate electricity. This has also lowered the cost of desalinated water production. These tax decreases have also helped reduce the cost of doing business.
We also encourage importers to source quality food at the most affordable prices. So we have been in on-going discussions with the Government of Honduras with regards to creating opportunities for local merchants to import goods directly from Honduras rather than having them first go to Miami before being sent to Cayman, driving up food costs.

This Government has also placed a renewed focus on the local production of quality livestock and produce. So much so that the Cayman Islands will become the first Overseas Territory to host the Caribbean Week of Agriculture conference next week, from 24-28 October, with about 25 countries attending. Locally produced food also provides a healthier option for people.
Speaking of health, we are hosting the 2016 Cayman Islands Healthcare Conference from tomorrow through

Saturday with a focus on “The Chapters of a Healthy Life”.

Conferences such as these not only provide useful information and networking opportunities for local residents, but also add to visitor tourism numbers.
So overall we are indeed in a much better place than we were four years ago and Cayman has seen a remarkable economic recovery.
But we have also worked to make the lives of people better by passing important legislation and amendments to legislation.
Some of the laws that will positively affect people’s lives include a national minimum wage to help ensure that some of the most vulnerable in our community can earn a reasonable wage.

We have also increased the retirement age from 60 to 65 in the private and public sectors to assist individuals who are able, willing and may need to work longer.
The recently passed Disabilities (Solomon Webster) Law helps ensure that people with disabilities are treated with respect and dignity.
We also legalised medical cannabis oil to aid those suffering from disabling diseases, such as cancer and epilepsy.

The Criminal Records (Spent Convictions) Law was passed to allow for certain convictions to be expunged after a number of crime-free years. This will help many ex-offenders in our community who have lived crime-free lives to more readily find gainful employment and to be able to travel overseas.

By now I am sure you are getting a picture of just how much Cayman has recovered and how much this Government has achieved in just 42 months. This Progressives-led Government is a Government that gets things done.
And some of the other things that we are getting done include: George Town revitalisation project and road improvements;
Upgraded the Charles Kirkconnell airport to international airport status;

Improving the education system, reviewed the salaries of teachers and upgrading school facilities;

Introduced single member constituencies and one person one vote and necessary amendments to the Elections Law; Plans are under way for civil servants to contribute to their health care;
Passed a new Liquor Licensing Law and updated the Builders Law; Improved air service to and from both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Add to this the 45 or more bills that will have been passed over the last two meetings of the Legislative Assembly and the myriad of other important bills passed over the last three years.
We have shown the willingness and ability to fight on the international stage to defend Cayman’s business model and reputation; whether at Chatham House in London, on BBC’s HardTalk, in Brussels where Minister Panton recently faced down a room full of unfriendly Members of the European Parliament, or more recently at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London. We will go where we need to fight the case for Cayman.

But much of the defending, negotiating and arguing our case occurs outside the public’s eye. When necessary we remind those on the other side of the table that we will not roll over and we will defend ourselves at all costs, even if going to the international courts if needed.
There are those on the opposition benches who believe that it is better to shout and stomp your feet and threaten. Me, I prefer firm diplomacy.
Successful negotiations with the United Kingdom on beneficial ownership and the positive outcome at the Anti- Corruption Summit underscore my point.
With all of this I am sure that you get a picture of a serious Government that gets some serious stuff done!

But this does not mean that there are not some issues that are more challenging and have no quick, easy solutions. One such is the recent ruling of the Grand Court that questioned certain aspects about the permanent residency points system and the process. The root of the issue goes back to systems and processes in place for many years but it has now fallen to this Administration to find a sensible resolution. This is a vexing issue, not just for those impacted, but for me and the Government. The matter is complex and we are working to address it. There is no sinister reason for the advice remaining confidential at this stage as some have suggested. It is simply the case that sensationalised reporting of the legal advice government has received on this sensitive issue is bound to make resolution of the issue that much more difficult and politically fraught.
Ironically, the relentless efforts of the Cayman Compass to obtain and publish the legal advice, which the government has received, has made it even more difficult for me to speak publicly about this matter at this stage. This is so because by doing so it may be claimed that we have waived the legal professional privilege, which we have asserted with respect to this advice.
The matter remains under consideration by the Government as we seek the best way to move forward. Until a resolution is found, all I can do is crave the patience of those awaiting their applications to be processed. The Government takes this matter most seriously and intends to deal with it as quickly and efficiently as we can. You will have already seen signs that the election campaign is starting. The next few months will certainly get interesting. But the focus must remain on the bright future that the Cayman Islands has with this Government leading the way.
As we look to the future here in the Cayman Islands, we are also watching the evolution of Brexit and what it will mean for Cayman. We will insist that as the Brexit negotiations move forward, the interests of the Overseas Territories will, as the UK indicated, be included in the considerations.
We are optimistic. In the sea of uncertainty that is Brexit, the Cayman Islands is an increasingly attractive place to live, work, invest and do business.
We intend to further these discussions about Brexit when we meet in November for the Joint Ministerial Council meeting in London.
The sound financial position of the Cayman Islands Government, and the growing strength of our economy, makes us an excellent option for businesses and investors looking for a safe haven amid the current political and economic turmoil throughout the world.
Our international financial services business remains strong and competitive and will continue to be a key economic pillar as we move forward. There are challenges, but both Government and the financial sector are prepared for them. The partnership between the sector and the Government remains strong.

Our tourism product continues to improve with existing properties undergoing upgrades and new upmarket hotel and condo projects are under way and these will enhance room stock allowing us to grow our tourism product even more. With our new airport and cruise and cargo ports projects we will be well placed to handle increasing visitors for many years to come.
When complete our new integrated solid waste management facilities will have finally fixed a huge environmental problem at the landfill. But with this new facility we will not only have fixed the dump as people urged us to do, we will ensure we never have this problem again.
I anticipate the George Town Revitalisation project, with the expanded roadworks, will blossom further with private sector partners making use of the legal and physical frameworks put in place by this Government to create a new and vibrant central George Town.
Our efforts to enhance education and provide training for Caymanians coupled with the growing economy will help ensure that our people are prepared for the new jobs being created.
And with the arrival of a new Commissioner of Police in November, we have an opportunity for a new outlook and partnership in crime prevention. In addition, if God and the people are willing I return to office as Premier, I plan to lead the charge for the creation of a Police Authority that would allow elected members input into matters of policy in respect to law enforcement. I expect this new relationship between lawmakers and the RCIPS will go a long way in providing better crime prevention outcomes.
This administration started our term with ambitious goals. And we remain ambitious for the future of our Islands and our people. We have accomplished much and have put in place the platform to achieve even more.
This is a government that does not plan in four-year terms, but for the long term. The key thing is that when we were elected we started on Day One with an agreed plan and goals. You do not accomplish what we have in a mere 42 months without a plan. And you do not accomplish what we have without hard work and teamwork.
I hope that the business sector and the country will bear this in mind come May next year. Elect those who can represent you in your constituencies by all means, but also remember that they must represent you nationally and internationally. Elect persons who can point to a plan and the others they say they will support and work with after the election.
There are those that walk and talk about the need to elect independent candidates, crowing that the party system has failed the country. I am not sure what party they are referring to, but in terms of this Government and the outcomes that we have obtained I think it is true to say that the party system can work.
I offer some advice for anyone who wants to run for office. Operating as a team with an agreed plan and set of principles must be a better way to run for office. Be transparent – tell the electorate what you stand for, who you stand with, and what you will do together if elected. Be truthful and say who you will support as Premier.
There are those who, based on their rhetoric, appear not to understand that the country will not prosper if business does not do well. And business cannot prosper if the country does not prosper.
There are some who appear to believe that shouting anti-business sentiment shows their nationalistic credentials.

I may have taken a few liberties as this is the last time I will address you during this term. But let me be clear, so you understand, whoever forms the next government must, as we have done, appreciate the symbiotic relationship between businesses and people.
In the words of Churchill, “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.” Elections have consequences.

It would be remiss of me in closing if I did not thank my very capable team, Ministers and Councillors as well as the Deputy Premier for their commitment to the cause, dedication, discipline and hard work. As I said before, we went into this knowing hard decisions had to be made because of the state of the country when we took office three-plus years ago.
I also thank the Governor for her constant support of the Government and me and her advice, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly as well as the Deputy Governor, Attorney General and Cabinet Secretary for their invaluable assistance. And to the wider public service that I have had the honour and pleasure to lead, I appreciate your hard work and look forward to working with you now and in the future to ensure the Cayman Islands remains the brightest jewel in the Caribbean Sea.
I also thank my team in the Office of the Premier for their hard work and dedication over these past three- and a-half- years. Your efforts have not only helped me, but have also aided the Government in getting its work done.
Lastly, I wish to extend my appreciation to President Paul, the Chamber Council and all members of the Chamber of Commerce for once again hosting this Legislative luncheon.

You have been a most gracious and attentive audience. I am honoured to have been afforded the opportunity to be with you here today. I hope you derived some benefit and some comfort from the few remarks I made here today.

END

IMAGE: Premier Alden McLaughlin speaking at PIN closing ceremony 2014

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