Forward from Eric Bush JP
Welcome to the first annual briefing from the Cayman Islands Government Office (CIGO) in the United Kingdom, which comes as I personally celebrate a year in post – and what a year it has been. Seven days before my family and I were due to travel to London for three years, where I would have the honour of serving as the Cayman Islands’ Representative to the United Kingdom and European Union, Britain chose to leave the EU following the referendum, now widely known as Brexit. Before this, I was preparing for a reasonably calm and stable political environment to work within. However, from the moment we landed, it was clear that it was anything but calm with David Cameron having just announced his intention to resign as Prime Minster and there has been a constantly evolving political landscape since then. It has been a diverse and busy year, to say the least!
We have a clear vision for CIGO UK which centres on promoting Cayman to a wider audience on who we are, a small Caribbean nation, made up of three islands, that has done well for itself and its people thus far. We have done this by hard work, determination with one of the most diverse and multicultural populations living in harmony and caring for one another.
What this means in terms of our strategy is that we will of course play to and celebrate our known strengths but also focus on promoting the hidden gems of Cayman. Our commercial prowess and natural beauty as a world class travel destination are both widely known and accepted, but there is a lack of awareness for our expertise and forte in many other areas such as nature/marine conservation, biodiversity, health and sports tourism or even our newest honour of being named the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.
For us to achieve our vision, it is vital that we foster and enhance relationships across four key audiences, including: political, social, commercial and community and how we accomplish this must be diverse and fluid. From formal meetings with UK Ministers, other MPs, and Peers, or updating our financial services providers and stakeholders to facilitating commercial partnerships between Cayman and the UK businesses or ensuring our Caymanian students and diaspora are safe and making the most of their time whilst in the UK.
Every day is different and there is always much to do. With this briefing, we hope to demonstrate the work the team is doing to further strengthen the connections between the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom.
Fulfilling the role of the Cayman Islands Representative to the UK is not something achievable without a great team, many of whom feature in this annual briefing. I want to thank each and every one who works for or with the Cayman Islands Government in the UK and who help us to make our vision become our reality.
Eric Bush JP
News & Business
- CIGO London
- Thomas Russell
- Political Engagement
- Introduction to UKOTA
- An Introduction to OCTA
- CIGO Trade Initiative
- Caybrew in the House of Commons
- Culinary Cayman Inspires Michelin Chef
- Highlighting our Heritage
- Department of Tourism
- Commonwealth Day
The Year in Pictures
News & Business
- CIGO London
- Thomas Russell
- Political Engagement
- Introduction to UKOTA
- An Introduction to OCTA
- CIGO Trade Initiative
- Caybrew in the House of Commons
- Culinary Cayman Inspires Michelin Chef
- Highlighting our Heritage
- Department of Tourism
- Commonwealth Day
The Year in Pictures
News & Business
What a Difference a Year Makes to the CIGO London Team
Since July 2016, the CIGO London team has undergone many changes, from the appointment of Mr. Eric Bush, brand-new office accommodation and an enhanced political engagement strategy the Office has gone from strength to strength.
Established in 1982, the Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK has worked tirelessly to improve and strengthen the country’s position; politically, economically, and commercially within the United Kingdom and the European Union. As part of the development strategy, in early 2016 the Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson, appointed Mr. Eric Bush to the position of the Cayman Islands Representative to the United Kingdom and the European Union with immediate plans to develop and broaden the connection between the Cayman Islands and the UK and EU along with the following objectives:
- Promote the Cayman Islands within the UK and EU
- Create wider opportunities for Caymanian students
- Create opportunities and identify synergies within the UK civil service for the benefit of the Cayman Islands
Mr. Bush with Overseas Territories Minister James Duddridge
During the past 12 months, the Office has seen the reformation of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Cayman Islands, three different Ministers for the Overseas Territories (OTs) within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) a visit to Grand Cayman by the OTs Minister, as well as a visit by a three starred Michelin chef for a pop-up style restaurant experience, the launch of a Caymanian/UK heritage project and several successful visits by the Premier, Deputy Governor, Ministers and Senior Civil Servants. It has been a diverse and busy year to say the least!
As part of the development strategy, the Office recently re-located to a contemporary new location in the heart of Mayfair. The building is just a stones-throw away from the previous home and is shared with the Department of Tourism and the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands. Since moving into the Office in late 2016, Mr. Bush and the team have hosted many meetings, events and receptions geared towards achieving the stated goals of the Office.
The CIGO Team (L to R – Ms. Knights, Mr. Parchment, Mr. Miller and Mr. Bush) meet for a casual lunch to taste patties which will later be served at official office functions to add a more “local flavour” to our events
Mr. Bush also wants to remind everyone of the public offering for Cayman businesses and persons who wish to use the boardroom or other facilities in the Office whilst visiting the UK. There have been several individuals and businesses who have taken up this offer to host meetings or to facilitate recruitment interviews.
Behind Mr. Bush stands a solid and experienced team who are all aligned with the same objectives and goals, including:
- Mr. Charles Parchment, Deputy Representative
- Mr. Denison Miller, Assistant Representative
- Ms. Phillippa Knights, Administrative Secretary
The team are looking forward to what the next year has in store!
A Tribute to the “People’s Governor”
Born in 1920, former Governor of the Cayman Islands, Mr. Thomas Russell, grew up in Scotland where he went onto serve in the Scottish Black Watch and the Cameronians Battalion in the Parachute Regiment. During the year of 1944, Mr. Russell miraculously survived being shot and taken hostage, to be later discharged at the rank of Captain in 1946.
Mr Thomas Russell, CMG, CBE
Moving onto Colonial administration, he assumed parliamentary duties in the Solomon Islands where he was awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and subsequently awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
In 1974, Mr. Russell became Governor of the Cayman Islands, where he served for seven and a half years making him the longest-standing Governor in our history, for which he earned the Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George CMG in 1980.
Following his time as Governor to Cayman, he returned to the UK and established the Cayman Islands Government Office in the United Kingdom where he continued to serve as the Cayman Islands Representative to the UK until his retirement in 2000.
Mr. Russell passed away in his Scotland home at the age of 96 and is affectionately remembered as the “People’s Governor” in the Cayman Islands. To express a wealth of gratitude and pay respects on behalf of the Cayman Islands, Mr. Bush and Mr. Parchment attended the funeral and celebration of the life of Mr. Russell. Mr. Bush, as the Cayman Islands Representative gave the Government’s tribute and was honoured by being asked to deliver the eulogy.
Over 100 family and friends attended the service.
Political Engagement Update from CIGO London
Since 1st July 2016, when Mr. Bush started in his role of Cayman Islands Representative to the UK and EU, the political landscape in the UK has been far from calm and stable. Just a week prior to this, the UK held a referendum that resulted in the decision to leave the European Union, now widely known as Brexit.
Dinner with Peers from the House of Lords
During the past 12 months, the UK has seen a new Prime Minster, a new Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a new Foreign Secretary, due to the referendum and subsequent government reshuffle. Within the same period, the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, called a snap election which resulted in a reduction in her party’s majority and a surge in popularity of the main opposition, the Labour Party. Within the FCO specifically, there has been three different Ministers responsible for the Overseas Territories, namely James Duddridge MP, Baroness Anelay and now Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.
Through this turmoil and uncertainty, the Cayman Islands Government Office successfully reformed the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Cayman Islands, under the chairmanship of Graham Brady MP, with 22 Members across both the House of Commons and House of Lords, joining the group. APPGs are cross-party groups that are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords. The Cayman Islands APPG is important to the work conducted by the CIGO team as it formalizes access to MPs and Peers and when necessary, supports CIGO on important topics, such as legislation, government policy or future initiatives.
Initial bilateral meetings were arranged with MPs and Peers to better gain an understanding of how the Cayman Islands were perceived within the UK’s Parliament generally and what was required to create and maintain positive relationships going forward. MPs and Peers such as Graham Brady MP and Lord Naseby, two longstanding supporters of the Cayman Islands, were particularly helpful in providing a true perspective. It was at this point where it became evident that Cayman’s absence from Westminster for an extended period was counterproductive and possibly harmful to Cayman in the long term.
Lunch with Members of Parliament
The absence saw non-profit organizations (NGOs), such as Oxfam and Christian Aid, Transparency International and others execute a campaign of rhetoric geared towards their anti-offshore financial centres agenda, where they were able to gain a strong foothold within the walls of Westminster. For many years the voices of these NGOs were the only ones being heard and used as reference points when discussing the Cayman Islands and other OTs with financial services.
Having accomplished the objective to re-establish the APPG, chaired by Graham Brady, MP (with significant support and assistance from Andrew Rosendell MP), the primary deliverable was the effective utilization of this body to undo misperceptions with regards to the Cayman Islands financial services and to change the narrative with the help of relevant and positive stories around the islands.
Earlier in 2017, lobbying efforts where enhanced by the Office in response to amendments proposed to the Criminal Finance Bill. The Criminal Finance Bill, now known as the Criminal Finance Act 2017, was proposed by the Minister of State for the Home Office, The Hon Ben Wallace, which sought to enhance the UKs efforts of combating terrorism financing as well as creating corporate offences relating to tax evasion. The Bill, nor the later Act looked to legislate directly for the Overseas Territories generally or the Cayman Islands specifically. However, amendments were proposed on two occasions by an opposition MP and a Peer in both Houses of Parliament.
Both amendments sought to force legislation on the Cayman Islands and other OTs with financial services, to establish public registers of beneficial ownership of companies by 2019, through an ‘Order In Council’.
Through coordinated efforts by Representatives from all affected Overseas Territory Offices, headed up by Mr. Bush as Chair of the UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) financial services sub-committee group, and in conjunction with the FCO and the Home Office, both amendments in the House of Commons and the House of Lords were defeated.
Since this time, Mr. Bush has increased the number of meetings with MPs and Peers with the objective of giving them content in the form of the real and true facts of the islands’ financial services. In his endeavours to shift the focus to other aspects of the Cayman-UK relationship, Mr. Bush’s discussions with MPs and Peers often emphasize the little-known heritage, cultural and lineage connections which are being further researched through the Office.
Another essential pillar in undoing the misperceptions of the Cayman Islands is creating networking environments. Mr. Bush embraces every opportunity for the office to host or facilitate formal meetings, events, and activities in the Palace of Westminster, where visiting CIG delegations can interact and network with key MPs and Peers in their own environment.
In addition to the formal surroundings at Westminster, another strategy is to create atmospheres where parliamentarians can enjoy a meal with the very highest level of the CIG. This enables a personal and communal environment for interaction and networking. The office utilizes every opportunity of the frequent and necessary visits of the CIG high level delegations to arrange and facilitate informal receptions, luncheons, and dinners.
Whilst political conversations going forward will no doubt be geared towards Brexit discussions and negotiations; Mr. Bush and his team’s strategy is geared towards strengthening connections between the UK and Cayman with the aim of meeting those MPs who have returned to the office following the recent election.
Getting Key Influencers Around the Table
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has been a topic of much debate throughout the course of the year and one that has led to many questions and queries from key stakeholders, including the IFC – Forum.
The IFC-Forum is an industry group of leading professionals and specialists that gather knowledge across legal, financial, and professional services from global financial centres and CIGO has invested significant time in harnessing relations with key stakeholders such as these groups.
Mr. Jack Marriott, Maples & Calder London, partner and Chairman of the IFC Forum
Mr. Bush and Mr. Parchment attended a panel discussion in September of 2016 to discuss the impact of Brexit on the Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and the City of London. Leading figures of the IFC – Forum including Jack Marriott and in-house council, Richard Hay, discussed the topic at length, with key take-outs including:
Mark Boleat – Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, City of London Corporation. “We probably will still be in this position in 10 years’ time.”
Mark Field – MP for the Cities of London and Westminster. “The government’s constant demands for transparency on the part of the CDOTs will most likely ease and offshore financial centres will become increasingly more important.”
Colin Powell – Adviser of International Affairs within the Jersey Government. “The UK will most likely go for either no or extremely low corporate tax rates to force the EU’s hand.”
Professor Andrew Morris – Dean at the Texas A&M Law School. “I think it is integral that brochures be distributed on how Cayman became a world financial centre. Brochures should be placed statistically around the world detailing how investment is actually fuelled and funnelled.”
The consensus coming out of this discussion can be summed up in the above remarks. All agreed that whilst the road to Brexit will most likely be a very long one, the result and outcome of the ongoing negotiations has the potential to have either a positive or a negative effect on the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories (CDOTs). This depends largely on the amount of access one is allowed and amount of input one is able to insert, it was determined. What did become clear is that having a presence at the negotiation table will be vital to how Brexit will impact CDOTs. As a result, Mr. Bush was able to feed that message strongly into the CIG which then helped set it as an agenda item for the OT leaders in the 2016 JMC, which further lead to the creation of another Joint Ministerial Council Meeting specifically on Brexit which is to be held twice per year for the foreseeable future.
The result ensured OT leaders had a platform to collectively discuss issues that could impact their OTs with UK ministers who are directly involved in the Brexit negotiations. The second JMC-OT-EN took place in July 2017 and was successful by all accounts.
Introduction to the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA)
UKOTA is the association created to promote the interests British Overseas Territories (BOT) in the UK. Beginning in 1994, the group is representative of most BOT Governments, most of whom have permanent offices in London. UKOTA’s strategic objectives and priorities are as follows:
- Liaise with leading officials to establish and enhance good relationships with all HMG Ministries and Departments, relevant bodies of the European Union and the Commonwealth
- To provide a forum and platform for the exchange of ideas and discussions on relevant issues of common interest and particularly to facilitate the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) and Political Council processes
- Create greater awareness of BOTs and highlight the value of BOTs
- Establish a clear identity for the Association, BOT leaders and their people
- Create a voice for the Association on behalf of its members
- Build relationships amongst governments of the BOTs
- Work for the mutual benefit of the signatories
- Make recommendations to the Governments of the BOTs on appropriate courses of action where relevant
- Defend the collective interests of the Members and to represent these interests.
UKOTA following the Pre-JMC July 2017 at Church House, London
Full membership of the Association is open to the governments of any inhabited BOTs with a resident population. The following BOTs are full Members:- Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, Tristan Da Cunha and Turks & Caicos Islands.
The Political Council of UKOTA (above) is the highest body of the Association, consisting of the leaders or designated representatives of each member government. The Political Council sets the policies of the Association and approves any declarations coming out of regular meetings in London that requires its approval. The Chairmanship and Presidency is rotated annually by election at each AGM. The current Chairman of the Association is also of the President of the Political Council, which is the head of that member’s government or its representative. The Political Council is required to meet at least once a year.
Over the years, UKOTA has played a major role in improving the relationships between the UK and BOTs. It has been integral in refining and improving the JMC which has opened doors and created many opportunities in Whitehall for the leaders of BOTs. In addition, it has opened travel borders to Schengen States for most BOT citizens and has also helped students from BOTs gain access to ‘UK home fees’, that significantly reduces costs of studying in the UK.
Ukota Political Activity 2016/17
In early July 2016 shortly after taking office as the new Cayman Islands Government Representative, Mr. Bush took part in his first meeting of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) in London. Later in the month the UKOTA Political Council met in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for the annual Pre-JMC meeting to discuss their expected outcomes of the (JMC) plenaries to be held in London in November 2016. The Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin was head of the delegation representing the Cayman Islands in the TCI. Discussions this year for the first time specifically revolved around the British Overseas Territories’ (BOTs) relationship with the UK and EU following Brexit. Thus, Mr Bush’s first responsibility in this area was to advise the CI delegation of relevant updates coming out of the London meeting. Following the London meeting in July 2016, The CI delegation traveled to London to attend the further meetings in February 2017 in London, and again to attend the next Pre-JMC in July 2017. At these meetings the individual interests of each of the BOTs were addressed particularly in the relation to Brexit.
For more information see www.ukota.org
The Theme of Change Continues… FCO-OTD
The Overseas Territories Directorate (OTD) is within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and is the body responsible for the administration (within constitutional arrangements) and oversight of the 14 Overseas Territories of the United Kingdom.
Like most other aspects in the UK, there has been a lot of change within OTD. During the last 12 months, the OTD has had three Ministers responsible for its policy and political direction, two Directors and now an acting Director as well as the formation of a new team specifically to engage OTs in relation to the Brexit negotiations.
In July 2017, when David Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister, Theresa May emerged victorious as the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party and Prime Minister. As is customary, there was a reshuffle of Ministers, one of which was the replacement of James Duddridge MP with Baroness Anelay of St Johns. In May 2017, the UK held a snap general election, which again resulted in a change in Minister for the OTs, from Baroness Anelay with now serving Minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.
Also during the year, a new Director of OTD was appointed, Mr. John Kittmer, replacing Dr. Peter Hayes, who served in this leading role for over 3 years.
Mr. Kittmer moved into the position of Director after serving as the British Ambassador to Greece since January 2013. Mr. Kittmer has a broad range of experience across the government having worked previously in the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Cabinet Office, the Department for Education & Employment (DfEE), as well as previous roles at the Foreign Office (FCO). However, in June 2017, Mr. Kittmer left the position to take a career break to finish his doctorate. The position of Director is now filled by the acting Director, Mr. Ben Merrick, who holds the substantive role as Deputy Director for OTD.
In addition to the changes at Ministerial and Director level, the OTD has also seen the appointment of a new Head of Brexit and International Engagement who is actively recruiting to create a team solely focused on Brexit and the OTs. In addition to the technical support for the OTs in the context of Brexit, the UK agreed to host twice-a-year joint ministerial council meetings specifically on Brexit where OT leaders and Brexit Ministers discuss the affects and opportunities during the negotiation process.
An Introduction to OCTA
The Cayman Islands is a part of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) which was created in 2002. OCTA provides a forum for Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) to develop effective working relationships with the European Commission and within the European Union. Furthermore, OCTA supports the collective interests of its members in several areas of the EU-OCT Association arrangements. These include but are not limited to economic and trade co-operation; trade development; climate change and environmental issues; human and social development; cultural and social, and regional co-operation and integration.
Mr. Bush signs EU/OCTA Political Declaration on behalf of The Cayman Islands with The Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman
The association is managed by the Executive Committee (ExCo) which executes all the activities of OCTA. The ExCo maintains the daily contact and working relationship with OCTA members, EU institutions and other relevant partners to benefit the Association. The ExCo consists of eight members including one President, who are all representatives of the OCTs.
The OCTs make up a group of countries and territories which, despite many differences between them (in terms of relative wealth, geographical characteristics, physical isolation, and internal political organization), still have a lot in common (insular micro-economies, a rich biodiversity etc). In addition, OCTs face a variety of natural disaster issues, economic and social problems in the pursuit of sustainable development.
Mr. Bush with Mr. Mike Eman and Former Minister of of Finance in Curacao, Mr. Jose M.N Jardim PhD
In terms of relative wealth, the revenue per capita is very diverse, ranging between €4,000 and €60,000 per capita. Half of the OCTs have an income per capita of less than €13,000 per inhabitant. In view of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the social situation in the majority of the OCTs is not one of absolute poverty as internationally defined. There is, however, a heavy dependence on financial assistance either from the related EU Member State and/or from the EU mainly through the European Development Fund (EDF).
Mr. Bush and Mr. Parchment participate in the EU/OCTA Annual Forum held in Aruba, hosted by The European Commission.
Mr. Bush and Mr. Parchment with Mr. Denis Salord of the European Commission
On a Mission with CIGO’s London’s Trade Initiative
During his short time in office, Mr. Bush has made significant and important changes to certain operations with a key focus on business development.
From the outset, Mr. Bush has made it clear that fostering and enhancing trade partnerships between the UK and Cayman Islands based brands is integral to the success of this office objective.
As part of this programme, a new trade initiative was launched in 2017 which sees ‘Best of British’ brands foster stronger connections with their counterparts in the Cayman Islands to create synergies and mutually beneficial opportunities where possible. The objective for year one is a minimum of three partnerships and the formation of a trade mission trip to Cayman.
Mr. Robert Walton MBE, President of the British Restaurant Association, Mrs. Elizabeth Rudd, Deputy Chairman of Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd. with Mr. Bush
Bush visited the factory earlier this year, a visit which has opened many doors, the full details of which will be announced in due course.
On the other end of the business development spectrum, Mr. Bush is keen to widen the focus on encouraging Cayman based companies to develop an out-word look. Therefore, in addition to the relationships developed with the brewery company in Cayman, the CIGO also welcomed Marcus Simmonds and Monique Hamaty-Simmonds of the Tortuga Rum Company, to the office. Mr. Bush and Mr. Parchment explored and discussed ways and means of entering the UK market and strategies to make this happen and how the London office could assist.
The location and layout of the new office provides the perfect facility for visiting business people. Additionally the staff are willing and able to assist with business development. Mr. Bush and staff are therefore always taking measures to inform the business community of this facility.
“We want to thank Mr. Bush, as well as his professional and courteous staff for their outstanding hospitality while we were in London and for their offer to continue to facilitate our meetings in the future. The venue is very comfortable and is a better choice than renting an office, or driving long distances to visit suppliers who, given the choice, would jump at the chance to meet in beautiful Central London”
Monique Hamaty Simmonds,
Tortuga Rum Company.
Keeping Students and Friends connected with CCUK
Cayman Connection UK (CCUK) is an organisation for Caymanians, or those affiliated with the Cayman Islands, who are now working, studying, or living in the United Kingdom. Launched in August 2014, CCUK was created in 2003 following the establishment of the Friends of Cayman, founded by the then Cayman Islands Representative, Jennifer Dilbert MBE.
CCUK is an organisation supported by the Cayman Islands Government Office (CIGO), the Department of Tourism (CIDOT), private sector sponsors and the Friends of Cayman. The group also acts as a platform for Caymanian students in the UK to network with fellow students and professionals, benefit from advice and resources from the Government Office and stay connected to home. CCUK provides students with networking opportunities by hosting receptions in the UK throughout the year, and an annual Summer Reception in Grand Cayman. In addition to networking, being a part of CCUK enables students to participate in various activities held by organisations affiliated with Cayman and Europe, and stimulates student and private sector engagement through training, mentoring, internships, and job opportunities. Through CCUK, the Cayman Islands Diaspora can also extend the unique nature of the people and culture of the Cayman Islands to friends in the UK and it is the aim of CCUK to bring together a dynamically growing group who are spreading positive views on the Cayman Islands throughout Europe.
Cayman Students at Annual Student Reception
The fourth year for CCUK has seen some great developments and new connections for the network, including three new Friends of Cayman mentors for students, a closer connection to the Scholarship Secretariat in Cayman, ties with Cayman Enterprise
City and a connection with the Scholarship Directory to further promote the benefits of CCUK to the wider audience of this bi-annual publication. Students have been invited to numerous occasions and events this year including an élite Nth Degree private members networking evening with the Cayman Islands Government, a Friends of Cayman networking evening, and a social Cayman Pub Quiz in central London. These events are varied in style and give the student members the opportunity to meet high level private sector contacts, and provide a social environment to get together and talk about home.
This year CCUK were pleased work closely with the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) by playing a key role in the organisation of an UKOTA student conference. This years conference was entitled “OTs Connected: from a shared Maritime history to a post Brexit future”. the Conference, held at the National Maritime Museum explored similarities and shared challenges faced by the BOTs. The event gave students the opportunity to meet students from other Overseas Territories and learn more about these islands and their shared relationship with the UK. Three Cayman students were on the working group to help organise the event, and the event flyer was produced by Cayman Graphic Design student Candace Charles.
CCUK this year also made closer ties with the Cayman media with connections at the Cayman Compass and the Cayman Reporter. CCUK invites media to all events and is pleased to have ties with a UK based journalist for the Cayman Reporter who can report first-hand about CCUK activity. CCUK communications have primarily been of a positive nature, however sadly this year Britain has been subject to two terrorist attacks which required some more serious communications. CCUK has since developed a strategy to reach out to all members in times of need and are pleased to now be working on a more formal strategy with the Cayman Islands Government Office so that there is standard practice in place for communications with the Cayman Diaspora in the event of a crisis.
Both the UK and Cayman elections have proved to be fascinating topics of interest, and CCUK kept members up to date with activity around both elections, and encouraged students to get involved in the conversation, to vote and to keep up to date with current politics.
CCUK is pleased to be publishing their second Annual Review this year, which will highlight activity for the year, so be sure to get your hands on a copy. For more information, news and events updates see the CCUK website: www.caymanconnection.org.
The House of Commons toasts The Cayman Islands… A Promise Kept.
The Cayman Islands Brewery, is owned in part by UK-based, Mr. Steve Webster who first came to Cayman over a decade ago. Mr. Webster is also a very active member of the Friends of Cayman core group here in the UK.
When Mr. Webster and Mr. Bush first met in the UK, the idea of the Cayman Islands branded beer being served in Parliament was briefly discussed. It was casually shrugged off as something that would be nice for the brand, but not probable due to Cayman’s current reputation within Westminster.
The thought of facilitating this was of course to not only highlight one of Cayman’s premier products, but also to illustrate to parliamentarians that Cayman has more to offer than just financial services.
Premier and Mr Webster celebrate the event
Through active engagement within parliament and as part of our stated goals of promoting the Cayman Islands in the UK, during a visit by the Premier and delegation, various brews from the Cayman Islands Brewery were served at the Strangers’ Bar in Westminster Palace. The Strangers’ Bar is open to MPs and officers of Parliament, their guests, and members of parliamentary staff.
This single event offered UK Parliamentarians a different view of the Cayman Islands and its people. It showed that Cayman has industries outside of the Financial Services and opened the doors for other conversations, which included heritage and Cayman’s tourism offerings.
Culinary Cayman Inspires Michelin Chef
One of the central pillars of Mr. Bush’s objectives for CIGO London is to promote the Cayman Islands as a culinary leader within the Caribbean and share the wealth of talent and credentials of locals, whilst also bringing new expertise to the islands.
One part of the strategy in achieving this, is by making the connection between Cayman’s high-end culinary environment and the UK’s premium gastronomy atmosphere. Who better than to kick this off than Clare Smyth MBE, the three Michelin starred Chef.
Mr. Robert Walton, President of the UK Restaurants Association, and founder of the Nth Degree, (an exclusive Private Dining Club based in London and Dubai) and Mr. Bush were the driving forces of the concept. Chef Clare, the UK’s most acclaimed female chef and the only british chef to retain three Michelin stars was joined by Seafire’s chefs Massimo DeFrancesca, Remy Lefebvre and Thomas Zimmerman as she hosted a series of pop-up culinary experiences at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and Camana Bay allowing visitors and residents to enjoy top class cuisine.
Part of Chef Clare’s trip also saw her join forces with Abacus’ head chef, Will O’Hara, for a farm-to-table feast at the annual Slow Food Day Harvest Dinner at Camana Bay, working with local farmers and chefs to create a uniquely Caymanian Fare – including Cayman Brac goat and locally smoked fish.
As part of the designed programme, Chef Clare hosted a junior chef programme for the Caymanian youth that saw inspiring young chefs cooking pot to pot and knife to knife with one of the world’s best chefs.
Throughout Chef Clare’s trip, she took great inspiration by the high level of food, drink and homegrown produce found on the island. As the UK’s most acclaimed female chef, Clare is in the process of opening her highly anticipated restaurant in Notting Hill, London this summer embracing her recent travels with modern fine dining. It is believed that her time spent in the Cayman Islands will inspire some new items on her menu but only time will tell…
Highlighting our Heritage
The Cayman Islands were known to be first settled by a Cornishman in the 17th Century and not long after his arrival to the UK, Mr. Bush began the lengthy task of uncovering further information of this rich heritage.
Part of his work saw Mr. Bush take time to visit the county of Cornwall to forge ties with key stakeholders including the Cornwall Council and local MP, Mr. Scott Mann. Initial searches showed that a sailor, by the name of Bodden, or Bawden, is said to have left Cornwall to join with Oliver Cromwell’s marines to fight in the Anglo-Spanish War, which took place between 1654 and 1660. The sailor never returned but according to the islands’ folklore, in 1658 he was the first settler of the uninhabited archipelago that would later become the Cayman Islands. Bodden’s grandson, Isaac, was recorded as the islands’ first official resident in 1700 and the name remains prominent more than 300 years later.
From aspects of the Cayman language to boat-building and fishing, it seems that Caymanians have been carrying on living like Cornishmen (and women) but in the middle of the Caribbean. Julie Seyler of Cornwall Council’s culture team said, “we understand that there are still elements of the Cornish culture which can still be found in the Cayman Islands, yet most Cornish people have no idea of the connection they have with the islands.”
The two-day visit, which kicked off the project was widely covered in all aspects of the UK media, from BBC television and radio, ITV, social media, and national newspapers with the likes of The Times and The Daily Telegraph. The stories were all positive and showed a true desire of wanting to know more about the family connections between Caymanians and the UK.
Mr. Bush and the London Office team along with outside assistance will embark on a major research programme to investigate the extent of heritage links between the people of the UK and the Cayman Islands. A primary aim of this project is to make the lineage and ancestry connections and map a chronology of the historical and cultural links with the UK. Finally having an accurate picture of these links will enhance the bonds that tie the two peoples as the UK extricates itself from the EU, ensuring that links remain positive, whilst hopefully uncovering ties between other Commonwealth countries.
A Year Through the Eyes of our Tourism Team
The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) in the UK is currently made up of a team of five staff members. The team are all professional and dynamic marketers and specialists who support the CIDOT global mission and the Cayman Islands Tourism brand.
CIDOT is responsible for developing business to business (B2B) opportunities primarily in the UK & Ireland (due to direct airlift with British Airways) as well as in the ‘Secondary markets’ of Continental Europe whilst always researching opportunities for the rest of the world, outside of North America and LATAM which are geographical areas handled by other CIDOT offices.
With regards to sales and marketing, CIDOT’s primary focus is on promoting luxury Cayman Islands holidays to affluent couples and families, whilst also targeting niche interests including scuba diving, wildlife/nature, and the romance market (destination weddings and honeymoons). Our main channels of promotion are fully integrated through print and digital advertising, PR, and social media, which our regional website and programme of e-newsletters also support.
In terms of print advertising, CIDOT supports media that is mainly read by the affluent target audience and where the quality of images are integral to the appeal of the destination. CIDOT recently produced two stunning videos, currently being showcased via Facebook but which will also form the basis of a TV advertising campaign during winter 2017/18.
As part of the CIDOT PR strategy, CIDOT have recently hosted a number of well-connected media producing high-end coverage both online and in print. Examples include the Metro, John Lewis Edition magazine and National Geographic Traveller UK. Broadcast also plays a part in the PR strategy which has resulted in the Cayman Islands being featured in an episode of CBBC’s Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature and on a competition for Good Morning Britain, CIDOT’s Europe Visit Cayman Islands Facebook page and CaymanLuxe website aid the conversion of interest, as do regular monthly newsletters which are received by nearly 70,000 opt-in subscribers.
John Lewis Edition magazine, Spring 2017
CIDOT also appears at a number of well-known events with a purpose-built exhibition stand. This plays an important role in extending the awareness of the Cayman Islands and provides face-to-face interaction. Shows we are exhibiting at this year include the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the UK Game Fair and Countryfile Live.
From a business to business perspective, CIDOT are active in widening the distribution of package travel sales for the destination and implement a sales strategy to increase supportive tour operator brands whilst also training travel agents to better sell our islands.
You may be surprised to see non-tourism brands promoting the Cayman Islands. We reach out to likeminded brands with similar audiences offering a Cayman Islands holiday incentive for them to achieve their own sales targets. These include Sunglass Hut (July 2017), David Clulow Opticians, Heidi Klein swimwear and Leica optical equipment and cameras.
The work of CIDOT also drives demand for the British Airways Boeing 777 service from London Heathrow as well as sales of Cayman Airways tickets via transit hubs in the USA and Caribbean.
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, London Team
Ceremonial Support on Commonwealth Day
As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands enjoy certain observer status within various bodies of the Commonwealth.
UKOTA Representatives at Commonwealth Day
The Commonwealth is an association of 52 sovereign nations that support each other to work towards international goals. With a population of two billion, the Commonwealth represents more than 30% of the world’s population and sees itself as a family of peoples, with a common heritage in language, culture, law, education, and democratic traditions.
The Commonwealth of Nations also known as simply the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation that are mostly former territories or colonies of the British Empire.
The main decision-making forum of the organisation is the biennial summit of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where Commonwealth Heads of Government, including Prime Ministers and Presidents, assemble for several days to discuss matters of mutual interests. Only official members are invited to attend CHOGM.
Cayman Student Ann Alecia Moore receiving CPA Certificate
As the Cayman Islands and other UK-OTs have chosen to remain part of the United Kingdom they are not members of the Commonwealth. However, the OTs are invited to many events and meetings hosted by the Commonwealth. These include meetings or events by the the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and also the the Commonwealth Games. Representatives of the UKOTs are invited to attend most of the Royal family ceremonial and diplomatic events.
As part of the work by the UK Government and CIGO there is a large amount of emphasis placed on strengthening the links between the Commonwealth and the UK Overseas Territories and as such, CIGO recognizes the importance of the Cayman Islands having a presence in all major ceremonial and diplomatic events.
Having only been in his role for four months at the time, it was important for Mr. Bush to attend the Commonwealth Foundation’s 32nd Annual Commonwealth Induction Program for Diplomats. Attendance at such programme is the key to understanding the relevance, impact, and future of the Commonwealth.
Another memorable day took place in March of 2017 where Mr. Bush, accompanied by two Caymanian students (Henry Hill and Ann Alecia Moore), attended the 2017 Commonwealth Day. The celebrations were hosted by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the renowned Westminster Abbey. The day itself is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth and sees all the members unite – this year marking 40 years since the day became a global celebration.