August 1, 2021

Opening speech and programme of CARICOM Statistics Conference held in Cayman Islands

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Caribbean statisticians began deliberations yesterday morning (Monday, 23 October 2017) following the formal opening of their week-long conference at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. The attendees, representing regional countries as well as international organisations, are being hosted by the Economics and Statistics Office for the first time in the Cayman Islands.

Sessions include the 42nd Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians, the 27th meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee and the 10th Regional Statistical Research Seminar.

Addressing the gathering at the opening were keynote speaker, Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Roy McTaggart; CARICOM Regional Statistics Programme Project Director, Dr. Philomen Harrison; Senior Assistant Financial Secretary, Mr. Michael Nixon and Economics and Statistics Office Director, Ms Maria Zingapan.

Master of Ceremonies Michael Nixon

Hon. Roy McTaggart, Minister for Finance and Economic Development
Mr. Kenneth Jefferson, Financial Secretary and Chief Officer, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Dr. Philomen Harrison, Project Director – Regional Statistics CARICOM Secretariat
Ms. Maria Zingapan, Director, Economics and Statistics Office – Cayman Islands
Directors and Chief Statisticians of CARICOM Member States and Associate Members
Representatives from Regional Organizations and Other International Statistical Organizations
Staff members of the CARICOM Secretariat Ladies and Gentlemen Good Morning, and welcome to the Opening Ceremony for the 42nd Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians; the 27th Meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee; and the 10th Regional Statistical Research Seminar.

For those of you who are first time visitors to the Cayman Islands, a very special welcome.

I am Michael Nixon, Senior Assistant Financial Secretary, in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development with responsibility for the Economic and Statistics Office.

It is indeed an honor and privilege for the Cayman Islands to host these important meetings which together seek to enhance the quality of and the capacity to produce Official Statistics across the region.
Statistics help to shape and define public policy and specific actions that Governments take regarding the management and functioning of their societies and economies. The fact that we live in a digital age where data is available at the click of a button it becomes increasingly important for countries to produce timely and accurate statistics.

Governments are under increasing pressure from their citizens and international development partners to clearly demonstrate that their decisions are evidenced based and one of the critical components to achieving this is to have a robust statistical programme.

Following the recent catastrophic impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria just last month on many countries and territories across the Caribbean region, international aid and long-term recovery will be dependent on the accuracy and frequency of reporting of statistics in each affected country.

The Caribbean community of official statisticians in conjunction with the CARICOM Secretariat has a real opportunity to demonstrate the value of statistics in improving the lives of people across the region as they recover from such catastrophes while at the same time building resilience for future disasters. Without the timely and high quality production of statistics, Government agencies are ill equipped to make sound strategic decisions for the future.

Please make sure that your cell phones and other electronic devices are either turned off or on silent mode.

Please stand for the National Anthem, National Song and remain standing until after the prayer.


Ladies and Gentlemen, please be seated.

Thank you for those blessings and words of inspiration Rev Myers, and beautiful performances by Mrs. Edie –Turner; Ms. McCoy and Mr. Hines

For those of us who get to call this place home, The Cayman Islands are our paradise, blessed with natural beauty and the warmth of the Caymanian people who have embraced people from around the Globe.

We will now enjoy a short video presentation entitled “This is Cayman!”


I trust that you enjoyed that interesting and informative presentation; we may be testing you a bit later!!
I will now call on Ms. Maria Zingapan, Director of the Economics and Statistics Office here in the Cayman Islands to say a few words.


Dr. Philomen Harrison, Project Director of the CARICOM Regional Statistics Programme is well known to many of you in the room, she has been in her current position with CARICOM for the past 17 years and is a driving force behind the CARICOM initiative for the improvement of Official Statistics across the region. Please welcome Dr. Harrison to the podium for a few remarks.

Thank you Dr. Harrison. We will now have a musical selection performed by Mr. Halim Brizan, delegate from Grenada.


Our next speaker, the Honourable Roy McTaggart, Minister for Finance and Economic Development is a Certified Public Accountant who in, 2012, retired as Managing Partner of KPMG after almost thirty years with the firm. In addition to his Accounting career, Mr. McTaggart has always been involved and engaged with his community serving in many capacities including: Chairman of the Board for Cayman Airways Ltd., Member of the Board of Directors and President of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Commission for Standards in Public Life and as a Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Young Caymanian Leadership Foundation.

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in May of 2013 as a representative for the District of George Town. In his first term as an MLA, he served as Councilor to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment and Ministry of Health and Culture.
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and was a member of the Legislative Oversight Committee for the Office of the Complaints Commissioner.
In May 2017, he was successfully re-elected to a second term and was appointed Minister for Finance and Economic Development.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the podium, the Honourable Roy McTaggart, Minister for Finance and Economic Development.


Thank you for those words Minister McTaggart.

The Cayman Islands have a unique culture and this morning we are going to give you just a little glimpse of this with a presentation by Mr. Matthew Brown.


Thank you very much for that Matthew. I trust that everyone has enjoyed the Opening Ceremony, I wish to thank all of the participants in the programme for their contributions.

I must also recognize and thank the many regional and international partners who work to support the strengthening of statistical capacity across the CARICOM region and without whom events like this would not be possible – partners such as:
 Caribbean Development Bank  CARTAC  Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago  Eastern Caribbean Central Bank  Economic Advisory Services (Curacao)  ESRI  Inter-American Development Bank  Italian Cooperation  Italian National Statistical Institute  PARIS21  Statistics Canada  UN Women  United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; and  The University of the West Indies

Special thanks as well to Dr. Harrison and the team at the CARICOM Secretariat;
the staff here at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort; and of course our team at the Cayman Islands Economics and Statistics Office, led by Ms. Maria Zingapan for the detailed planning and organization of various events and logistics to make this week possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen you have a full Agenda of meetings over the next few days; we trust that you will find them to be both engaging and productive and challenge you to continue to strive for improvement in your statistical programmes.

Thank you for your attention, this concludes our Opening Ceremony and we wish you a great week.
In the foyer some refreshments will be served and the next sessions begin at ………

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