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Deputy Premier’s New Year Message

Government 05 Jan, 2023 Follow News

Deputy Premier Hon Chris Saunders

The Hon Chris Saunders

My friends,

I want to start off by wishing you and your families a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

I must also warn you that this message will not be a typical or traditional New Year Message. I composed an earlier message that was in line with previous messages that I sent on New Year but to borrow a line from my daughter – “I wasn’t feeling the vibe.”

The question I found myself asking over and over was:

What will Cayman look
like in 2023?

Like many people here and overseas, I welcomed 2023 with a barrage of fireworks although I must admit that I paused to check out some of the fireworks of others in the community like Rolando.

30 minutes later, I was on my computer reading various articles as well as checking out various YouTube channels that focused on predictions for 2023. I wanted to get a head start in making sure that the Cayman Islands was prepared for the opportunities and challenges that may come our way this year.

The first area of focused research was inflation. Recognizing that most of our inflation is imported from the United Sates, I was curious as to what the US economy would look like for 2023. Economists are now forecasting that the United States Fed will continue to increase interest rates and that the United States unemployment rate will increase to 4.6% in 2023. Naturally, these events will impact mortgage rates here in Cayman as well as our tourism sector. While I recognize that some younger families may be able to refinance during this period, I am cognizant that this may be a challenge for older members in our community. I must pause here to thank the Board of the Cayman Islands Development Bank led by Chairman Mark Scotland for recognizing this and other challenges and for responding to the needs of many within our community. I look forward to their continued efforts in 2023 and beyond.

Another area of inflation that is also of concerned is the continued war in Ukraine and the continued challenges with COVID. Both events continue to disrupt global supply chain as well as the energy markets that will impact the prices of goods and energy globally.

The second area of focused research was the weather. What would the 2023 Hurricane Season look like? I was pleased to see that the Tropical Storm Risk released this early prediction where they expect the 2023 season to be 15% below average with 13 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. I made a mental note to follow up with the team at CINICO regarding their product expansion. I must pause here to recognize the efforts of their Board chaired by George McCarthy and the Management team led by Michael Gayle. Both the Board and Directors and the Management of CINICO are aligned in their purpose of serving the people of the Cayman Islands.

The last area of focused research was opportunities for our young people. Like many of you, the increase in burglaries is also a major concern for everyone that calls the Cayman Islands home. I recognize that there will also be economic and social issues that may result in increased criminal activities, nonetheless this is an issue where everyone must come together and work together to ensure that crime does not get a foothold in the place, we all call home.

As I said at the start, this would not be a typical or traditional New Year Message, and while there is more, I would like to write, I was just asked the question by my son “you still writing that message?” – I will close with this:

Despite our challenges, despite our setbacks, and despite whatever reservations we may have – life is still beautiful, and the Cayman Islands is still one of the best places to live and work on this planet.

Be kind to one another. Look out for each other and continue to place your trust in God for our best days are still ahead of us.

May God continue to bless you, may God continue to bless the Cayman Islands, and May God bless every one that shares this planet.

 

One love. One Cayman.

Chris Saunders


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