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Shetty Project Explained

Apart from duty concessions on medical supplies and equipment, Government will also offer discounted immigration fees and will make the necessary legislative changes to accommodate the Cayman Narayana Health University, Minister of Health the Hon. Mark Scotland revealed.

Government signed an agreement with Dr. Shetty on 7 April, in which it promised to support the development of a large scale medical tourism facility, medical school, and assisted-living senior's residence.

"As the agreement generated a great deal public interest, Cabinet has decided to release it at this time in the spirit of transparency," Minister Scotland said.

According to the agreement, while Government is not investing in the venture, it pledged to facilitate the project through various initiatives, including import duty waivers for medical equipment and supplies, streamlined application processes, considering upgrades to the airport, as well as other infrastructure improvements.

In return, the developers undertook to train Caymanians and offer discounted services to Health Services Authority patients. They will also start discussions with the Education Ministry to establish a medical faculty in the Islands.

"Several other countries have approached Dr. Shetty and offered him a variety of different incentive packages to encourage him to build this project in their country - varying from a 50-year tax-free zone to actually constructing some buildings for him. As is common practice in many jurisdictions, the Cayman Islands Government has offered some incentives to the developer to tip the balance in our favour.

"We believe very strongly that the potential benefits to Cayman of this project are so significant, and will benefit such a broad spectrum of our population, that it was important to do what we could to secure the project here. While the value of the concessions and the support we offer are considerable, I believe that the advantages of the proposed project are equally significant," Minister Scotland said.

The Minister noted that Government will save millions annually through taking advantage of the tertiary care offered by the Narayana hospital.

Other benefits include the possibility of reduced insurance premiums for everyone in Cayman as the overall cost of tertiary care decreases, increased tourism arrivals and a diversified economy, he noted.

"Medical tourism is a growing industry, and we already have all the attributes necessary for success - an established tourism product, our geographical location for easy access by American visitors, political stability, and a reputation as a safe destination in the Caribbean. Not to act on it would be a missed opportunity," Minister Scotland stated.

The Cayman Narayana project will be constructed in phases at an estimated cost of US$2 billion. It will take approximately ten years to complete.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver