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Finance Minister reveals government vision during Parliamentary Luncheon Q & A

Local News 10 Aug, 2022 Follow News

Photos by Courtney Platt

By Christopher Tobutt

During the recent Chamber of Commerce Parliamentary Luncheon, Chamber President, Shomari Scott asked Minister for Financial Services and Innovation, Hon. Andre Ebanks a series of questions in a question-and-answer session following his keynote address. The questions concerned the government’s policy on sustainability, training for new jobs, regulation for financial services, digital ID, crypto-currency and government transparency. 

Q: “Everybody speaks about, “Sustainability.” What’s the Government’s vision and what is the timeline for us as country to act?  How are we going to protect the environment and balance that with obviously the economic development that needs to happen?

A: “It is the Premiers view that coming to agreement on what sustainable means for our country is one of the most important tasks we ever need to tackle. Going forward I think he sees there is already a focus on the issue .and he’s started to take certain steps to address climate change policy, national energy policy. The elephant in the room is a lack of a comprehensive development plan that needs to be holistic, comprehensive, incorporate ESG and also be timely. It’s not quite off the ground yet. But now with certain events past us he is now going to be working within Caucus and with civil servants to create a comprehensive plan.

Q. “What are the plans from an education perspective and a training perspective to enable young people to take advantage of all these new industries that will be coming to us?”

A. “I think this is where we can have partnership. So while education begins to access and weave this into a curriculum there are already non-profits that (….partnership with parents, NGOs) create other programmes around it, while the formal education system adopts its curriculum “

Q with this ID what’s the plan to help banks and individuals have more seamless processes? 

A. We are aiming by the end of this year to have the enabling legislation before the house. In addition the e-government team has already had the tech in place for the card itself so we are going to start a series of consultations and surveys.

Q. “This question is about financial services and regulation. As we innovate and as we understand financial services as one of the key pillars is there anything you are putting into effect to ensure that the industry keeps growing?

A.  What we see is to have a balance between any regulation that is coming …if you can explain why we are doing something from a regulatory standpoint and how it enhances the Cayman Islands but at the same time bring on new products that you can continue to keep the industry excited and also external stakeholders excited. I mentioned this when it was new bill part 5 to the companies restructuring act. What we see is to Have a balance between any regulation that is coming and new products because if there is any necessary legislation we have to do to comply with regulation, …if you can explain why we are doing something from a regulatory standpoint and how it enhances the Cayman Islands but at the same time bring on new products that you can continue to keep the industry excited and also external stakeholders excited.”

Q. Where we are with crypto-currency?

A. Crypto-currency is just a smaller aspect of the real opportunity which is the block chain technology underlying the crypto currency. That has the ability to automate so many things ….have the smart contracts, eliminate unnecessary steps in the process. I am more excited about block chain technology and its applications I think the real opportunity is in the block chain technology

Q. What will the government will be doing in the future to ensure that people have more information about the projects that are going as well as the running of government?

A. How many people realize that every week Cabinet decisions are published? We publish the decisions that are made at a national security council level  so that’s at the top level. I think that the challenge for each of us is to come out from reading loads of documents and answering correspondence to get more out there and to have discussions with your industry.

Q. What is the Government doing to ensure more cross-collaboration between ministries?  

A: Cross collaboration happens every week at Caucus. So we’ll discuss national …issues and then break at times to find out what may be happening between two different ministries. At district level, the composition of each district is different. In West Bay MPs want to start a constituency advisory council.


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