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Cayman Kind Pt.1

Thomas C Famous. Photo: VINO/File
Recently, Grand Cayman served as the host island for the 43rd Annual CommonwealthParliamentary Association’s (CPA) Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) region conference. The Conference ran from June 16 until June 23, 2018. Photo: Provided
Recently, Grand Cayman served as the host island for the 43rd Annual CommonwealthParliamentary Association’s (CPA) Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) region conference. The Conference ran from June 16 until June 23, 2018. Photo: Provided
Any similar jurisdiction such as, Bermuda and Virgin Islands that is looking to succeed in Tourism will do well to ensure this level of uber-friendliness. Photo: Provided
Any similar jurisdiction such as, Bermuda and Virgin Islands that is looking to succeed in Tourism will do well to ensure this level of uber-friendliness. Photo: Provided
Thomas C. Famous

Located approximately 450 miles, south or 90 minutes flying time from Miami, lies three beautiful sister islands of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac; collectively known as ‘The Cayman Islands.’

Recently, Grand Cayman served as the host island for the 43rd Annual CommonwealthParliamentary Association’s (CPA) Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) region conference. The Conference ran from June 16 until June 23, 2018.

A total of nearly 100 delegates, from almost the entireEnglish-Speaking Caribbean region, flew into Grand Cayman.

From the minute we stepped off the plane at the Owen Roberts International Airport, we were greeted with what can only be described as open arms, by some of the friendliest people on this earth. “Welcome to our home and now your home, Grand Cayman,” stated our Caymanian bus driver Ms Lorna Ebanks.

We later met the rest of her ‘three-bus’ transport team, consisting, Ms Elizabeth Bush and Ms Josie Vegiz. Over the following week, we had a few facts shared with us about the Cayman Islands.

Today, I would like, as an introduction, to share a few of these facts with you.

*Historic dates

1503 Christopher Columbus claims to have first sighted these islands and named them Las Tortugas.

1607 England, under the Treaty of Madrid, takes over Cayman Islands and Jamaica.

1802-The first census shows a total of 909 inhabitants, of which 545 were enslaved Africans.

1863-English Parliament makes Cayman Islands a dependency of Jamaica.

1958- Cayman Islands granted its own Coat of Arms.

1962- Cayman Islands become Crown Colony, no longer associated with Jamaica.

1972-Cayman Islands gains its own currency.

1972- New Parliament building opens.

2004-Hurricane Ivan devastates Cayman Islands.

2015-Cayman Islands moves to 19, single seat, constituencies.

2017- First election under single seat constituencies.

2018- Cayman Islands celebrates 60th anniversary of Coat of Arms.

*provided in CPA Handbook

With a total combined size of 102 square miles, Cayman Islands is home to just over 63,000 persons who work in a wide range of industries such as, but not limited to, Financial Services, Hospitality and other service industries.

Currency

Having an unequalled exchange rate of $1 Cayman Dollar (KYD), to $1.25 US Dollars, Caymanians can rightly say that they have the strongest currency in the Caribbean and perhaps one of the strongest currencies in the world.

I have always been intrigued as to how their dollar was so strong and made some inquires whilst there. Apparently, in 1974 there was a Cayman Islands Currency Order that set the exchange rate of KYD$1  to US$ 1.20.

Immigration

The present government takes great pride in stating that CI is a cosmopolitan society with over 120 different nationalities working in their islands, in almost every industry.

This is indeed true, as you can bump into 20 persons from 20 different countries all within 20 minutes.

On the surface this could be hailed as a Caribbean success story of multi-culturalism.

The flip side would be getting to speak with native Caymanians who, rightly or wrongly, express sentiments of feeling like a minority in their own country.

Statistics show that the population break-down clearly indicate that approximately half of the population is non-Caymanian.With ambitious plans to raise their population to a level of at least 100,000 persons,it is clear that the present CI government has an extremely liberal immigration policy.

Tourism

In subsequent pieces, we will look at other aspects of Cayman Islands such as, culture, infrastructure and yes politics.

Over the last few years CI has enjoyed an ever-growing number of visitors by both sea and air travel. In fact, in 2017 over 400,000 visitors arrived via air and another 1.7 million persons arrived via cruise ship, for a combined total of 2.1 million tourists.

The most popular area for those who arrive by air would be the ‘Swanky 7 Mile Beach Strip’ that flows from the edge of the capital George Town, all the way northward to the edge of the West Bay region.

Major international hotel chains such as, Marriott, Comfort Suites and Ritz Carlton dominate the entire 7 miles stretch.

Whilst the hotel staffers were extremely friendly and helpful, if there was one regret, it would be that there are very few Caymanians working in the hotel/hospitality industry.

Cayman Kind

Irrespective of their country of origin, every person we met was extremely friendly and helpful. At all times, going out of their way to ensure that we were well taken care of and all needs met.

Any similar jurisdiction such as, Bermuda and Virgin Islands that is looking to succeed in Tourism will do well to ensure this level of uber-friendliness.

There is a slogan/mantra that pretty much sums up what we felt and why their tourism numbers continue to grow. That would be to, “Stay Cayman-Kind.”

 

5 Responses to “Cayman Kind Pt.1”

  • 123 (29/06/2018, 10:34) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    please keep writing
  • Agree (29/06/2018, 13:46) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Here in the Virgin Islands we have much to learn from the Cayman Islands model.
  • travel (29/06/2018, 17:07) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    If you ever get a chance, visit Cayman Islands. One of the most beautiful places to visit or live.
  • Tisk Tisk (30/06/2018, 04:32) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is what the bvi needs to be live. The richest island in the caribbean. Its way way more advanced than the bvi
  • yrral (30/06/2018, 13:13) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    Cayman Island is drug and criminal haven,where criminal set up shell corporation,to launderer money ,from ill gotten gain,their are actually no bank ,but just post office box ,where thousand of corporation address reside


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