November 30, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Business woes, Red Bay, East End and the fab five plus 1

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I was not surprised to hear that local businesses and retailers were generally reporting a woeful Christmas and some believe that unless the economy picks up they may fold. However, I am convinced 2012 will see an upswing and the Government does seem to be trying very hard to get at least one of their major projects started. Whilst fully understanding worried people’s suspicions and quite justifiable concerns over everyone of them, we are at a time when we have to take the gamble. ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush’ (pun not intended) and if we delay much longer not one will take place. The Cayman Islands will be left way behind and we really will be just a small dot on the map and an insignificant one at that. We are in a recession and sometimes good intentions lets the bird fly away to another destination before everyone realises it is too late to bring him back.

Some politicians and a lot of the general public shout for a balanced budget. That is impossible in a recession and trying to achieve that is self-defeating. A deficit has to increase during a recession because Government revenues decline. Government deficit spending to make up for the decline in investment spending reduces the fall in demand, and monetary policy that makes interest rates low and credit available encourages investment spending to resume. With just one of the major projects commencing it provides jobs and people will spend money. Come on everyone wake up to the reality of our situation.

Having said this one area in our service industry really does need waking up. Manners in our service outlets is often just appalling. I have spoken on this subject before and there have been many blogs on the subject. Take this as an example. The other day my wife (Joan) had to go to a George Town fast food restaurant to get lunch for her grandchild who was at school in Red Bay. She was very explicit when she placed the order and it was busy. She was in a hurry and did not check what had been given to her. Yes, her mistake, too. She drives to Red Bay and upon handing the lunch to her grandchild finds it is very wrong. The grandchild is distressed and gives the food away to some of her friends. Joan drives back and revisits the restaurant and complains. The manager says to her, “What do you expect me to do about it?” No apology, just rudeness.

Talking of Red Bay, the local group of sea captains that are promoting the idea of developing the cruise berthing facilities in the South Sound-Red Bay area have taken up advice and have sent their proposals to the major cruise lines and the Florida Cruise Association. I am still not convinced bussing cruise passengers from Red Bay will produce the same revenues as a George Town berthing dock. I am basing this on facts from other destinations – the walk off straight to the shops and the transported ones to the shops. The former wins.

Interestingly, Joan was going through a “1992 Cayman Islands Yearbook” and found this entry under June 1991: “Red Bay residents are ‘outraged’ by a proposed port facility that would make Cayman a cruise ship turnaround base.” What do they think of the Captains’ proposal now in 2012?

It was nice to hear about a proposed major expansion to the Morritt’s timeshare and resort facility in East End. Morritts Tortuga Club and Moritt’s Grand Resort developers’ announced an anticpated investment of over US$70 million over the next 5 to 10 years. The developers anticipated starting construction on the first phase by June this year.

The fab five in my heading are the ‘anonymous’ five members of a delegation that accompanied Premier McKeeva Bush who attended the swearing in ceremony in Jamaica of its new prime-minister Portia Simpson-Miller last Thursday (5). We have to date not received any details who the five are although we do know one of them is George Town MLA Ellio Solomon, although we understand he is there mainly for talks with China Harbour Engineering Company.

It is nice to have a more upbeat editorial today with some positive announcements and I haven’t even mentioned the Shetty Hospital project. Watch this space.

 

 

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