In May this year Caymanian Times considered in an editorial whether the government - and by extension the Cayman Islands - was facing down the barrel of a post-pandemic perfect storm or sea of opportunities.
We see a dark cloud looming. But that too has a silver lining of opportunities.
As far as metaphors go, silver in this case is the natural process of aging and it begs the question: At what point and what does it take for the average Caymanian to retire comfortably? Not extravagantly. Just comfortably.
Our assessment of the current situation, compounded by long term effects of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, is that this situation presents another dark and threatening cloud in our imperfect ‘perfect storm’ scenario.
To put it bluntly, Cayman is facing a crisis linked to retirement...and pensions.
We note the previous attempts, including by then Opposition MP now Finance Minister Chris Saunders, to bring the issue to the forefront of public debate - or at least public contemplation.
We also recall the references by candidates in the recent election campaign about the state of the pension fund; how best to invest it, the early withdrawals necessitated by Covid, the payments deferral because of Covid and the challenges to replenish it.
Will it be addressed in the coming Strategic Policy Statement and budget presentation of the government? We hope so, given Mr Saunders’ previous laudable efforts to bring this issue into the public consciousness.
As a matter of priority, Cayman needs to find the silver lining in this looming dark cloud that threatens to be an impending storm for our coming ‘silver years’ and for those already at that stage and struggling to cope with the reality of it.
Retirement needs an urgent rethink, especially how it is funded by both the individual and the state.
What is the state of Cayman’s retirement plan? Is our current system fit for this purpose? Can we as a society afford to put our feet up in our silver years or will we have to keep plodding on just to make ends even barely meet?
We’ll be addressing this issue in more detail in upcoming editions.
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