(CNS): Cayman needs to build on its existing blue-chip financial services product and embrace the future of digital industries, according to Financial Services Minister André Ebanks. Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce Parliamentary Lunch on Thursday, he said the Cayman Islands is ready to take a chance and layer on top of its world-class regulatory and legal framework the new opportunities “that are staring us in the face” in fields such as tech and healthcare.
Standing in for Premier Wayne Panton, who is still isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, Ebanks gave the keynote speech at the event about the goals of the PACT Government and voiced a call to action on behalf of the premier.
He said the aim was to develop the local economy to provide new well-paid, quality jobs from emerging digital, healthcare and green technologies. The minister said that the tech future is coming whether the country is ready or not and we can either let the opportunities go past us or “grab on with both hands”.
Ebanks explained that government wanted to attract tech investors and start-ups to Cayman and create an eco-system of excellence where they could, thrive. The jurisdiction is well positioned given its virtual assets framework and a stable platform that is adaptable and tech-friendly. Cayman can match the new industries with traditional financing and build virtual assets around existing financial products, the minister stated, and highlighted the government’s digital ID programme as a way of supporting the economy in the new world.
In the future tech will provide high-paying jobs in the metaverse, which goes well beyond video gaming, if the government builds the education pathways to this “serious business”, he said. This would leapfrog Cayman into new industries we never imagined we could be in, such as the film industry, where digital work is becoming increasingly important. He noted that attracting film companies was connected to the new LAX flight.
The minister stressed the importance of education and the need to adjust the curriculum to meet what is coming and ensure Cayman can provide new companies with their future workforce. “We have got to get our youth ready for that,” he said.
During a Q&A session with Chamber President Shomari Scott, Ebanks told the audience that sustainability was a priority for PACT. Having anticipated that this issue would come up, he read a short response from the premier, who is the sustainability minister, stressing the need for a “comprehensive development plan”, which is still a work in progress.
“It’s no secret that it’s not quite off the ground yet,” Ebanks said. “But with certain events past us now, he’s going to be working diligently with colleagues and in caucus to create a comprehensive plan.”
See the minister’s full speech on the Chamber YouTube channel below: