From left, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Wil Pineau, Dart Real Estate’s Jackie Doak and Dart Enterprises’ Chief Executive Officer Mark VanDevelde.
By Andrea Lumsden
Last week, Dart attended the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon alongside local business leaders to discuss a number of topics—including the country’s current economic boom—with members of the Legislative Assembly. Held at the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, the well-attended gathering was not only a snapshot of Cayman’s thriving business community but also of a country united in pursuit of continued economic growth.
Chamber of Commerce President Christopher Kirkconnell kicked off the event by sharing positive findings and 2018 data from a “State of Business” survey in which over 160 local businesses from all main industry sectors participated. Kirkconnell noted that the results provided a very positive outlook, adding that “the Cayman Islands economy is performing well with many businesses experiencing growth and profitability”. More than half of the respondents reported an increase in profits last year and a few key findings include:
- Two-thirds of businesses saw an overall increase in revenue
- 70% of respondents shared plans to hire more staff
- 20% intend to lease additional commercial real estate
Kirkconnell encouraged everyone to “continue this trend which creates jobs and provides the revenue we need to fund important infrastructure projects and social and community programmes.”
Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin also addressed the crowd, further highlighting the strength of the current economy and indicating that the joint leadership between government and the business community has “served to advance the interests of these Islands.” To demonstrate confidence in the country’s current economy he shared several key points including:
- Cayman’s flourishing tourism received nearly 2.4 million visitors in 2018, the highest number in the country’s history
- Government’s excellent surpluses
- GDP growth forecast for 2018 was 3.4%
- An overall increase in employment and decrease in unemployment across all status groups according to 2018 Spring Labour Force Survey
McLaughlin announced that the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs is now established, confirming government’s openness to investment and immigration. The new Ministry will focus on advancing the economic and political interests of the country making it “easier for potential overseas investors to do business in the Cayman Islands.”
He also announced plans for government to establish an Asia office in Hong Kong as well as the possibility of establishing a presence in Brussels and Washington DC, further indicating the country’s long-term vision of nurturing positive relationships with the international community.
McLaughlin covered many other topics relevant to the health of the community and the economy and was optimistic in the country’s ability to withstand future economic challenges. He wrapped up by paying tribute to the country’s united government: “Ours is indeed a Unity Government—one where we may take different views but where we are all willing to work together towards our shared ambitions for these Cayman Islands.”
Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak echoed this spirit of unity in her luncheon speech telling the audience that “collaboration makes us all more powerful in achieving our shared objective of a stable, prosperous and innovative Cayman.”
Doak addressed the crowd on behalf of Dart, sharing highlights from the recent Dart-sponsored Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) and KAABOO international festival, both of which were very well received by the local and international communities. “Whether attracting high net-worth visitors or ensuring we remain the jurisdiction of choice for offshore investment, Dart chooses to facilitate and fund world-class events such as CAIS and KAABOO,” said Doak, explaining that they directly benefit the economy in the short term and promote Cayman for future growth.
Dart has invested more than US$1.5 billion into the Cayman Islands economy so far and has committed to an additional $400 million investment in the next decade. For more on Dart’s properties click here, or for available office and retail space for lease, click here.
About the author
Andrea Lumsden has worked with Dart since 2013 and has been writing professionally since 2003. Graduating from University of Central Florida with a BA in Communication, Andrea has worked with clients across a range of industries, including financial services and real estate. Raised in Cayman by Costa Rican parents, she’s a New Yorker at heart who enjoys reading and travelling with her husband and three children.