By Christopher Tobutt
Cayman should use its foundation of financial services and tourism to become a ‘global centre of excellence and innovation,” Minister of financial services and innovation. Hon. Andre Ebanks shared and the Premier’s vision of the keys to a prosperous, sustainable future said during keynote address at the Chamber of Commerce’ Parliamentary Luncheon. Standing in for Premier Hon. Wayne Panton, who was in isolation from Covid 19, Minister Ebanks said that Cayman needs to “Grab with both hands,” Many new opportunities which are, “Staring us in the face.” But taking advantage of those opportunities would also mean Cayman needed to prepare its people, “for the digital machine economy that is coming.”
“The vision of what we are going for is to be renowned as one of the most sustainable countries in the world. Peaceful, prosperous where everyone can thrive and live their best,” he said. “We can do it by taking the opportunity and the chance to layer on top of our world class regulatory and legal framework the new opportunities that are staring us in the face in terms of ESG tech and healthcare. By using our accounting and risk and asset management frameworks we have the opportunity to leapfrog the competition and become that global center of excellence, creating new jobs, good jobs, and sometimes borderless jobs in a digital economy,” Minister Ebanks continued.
New tech such as artificial intelligence could also help meet the demands of new customer-centered healthcare demands, as well as an aging demographic, Minister Ebank said as he announced a national effort to balance treatment with a greater emphasis on wellness, prevention and screening, and an independent institute of public health set for early 2024.
“We want to create an ecosystem of excellence that allows investors of capital, startups, developers, and growth companies to innovate and grow and thrive in Cayman. It’s important because its happening all around us. We can sit around and let it go past us, or we can grab it with both hands,” he said.
The minister painted a picture of an economy, moving into the future by connecting up vital aspects, each one of which would be needed to turn it from a dream into a reality. “How many of you have heard of the Metaverse? This isn’t just about video games. Its actually about high end jobs we can get Caymanians into if we can build an education pathway to it. What tech does is leapfrog us into industries we didn’t have a shot in, and so this is where film comes in. We can bring Caymanians in, and that is part of the logic behind that new LAX group - to build that bridge to the West Coast to bring in that sort of Hollywood talent. That’s how we’re going to do it – we have to build these pathways and we have to be able to prepare our people for the digital machine economy that is coming,”
Minister Ebanks said that the government was presently completing the Digital ID program, “Which is data that the government already holds on you, but is unified in one instrument. It will make life easier for you in terms of passing your KYC documentation between banks to make the main passport renewal process easier for you.”