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Finance Minister Lauded

Finance Minister Hon. Marco Archer, JP

Cayman Islands Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Marco Archer, JP, has been named Finance Minister of the Year, Caribbean 2016 by GlobalMarkets. In a statement to the House, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP announced the Minister's accomplishment. (The full statement is attached below.)

GlobalMarkets is an international news organization that covers the work of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Bank. In so doing it also monitors and reports on the work of central banks and the financial performance of governments regionally and around the world.

The full article can be found at www.globalcapital.com/article/ztt7z6zc2f4w/finance-minister-of-the-year-caribbean-2016.

The Premier's full statement follows below.

Statement to the Legislative Assembly on Finance Minister of the Year Award

By Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, MLA

10 October, 2016

Madam Speaker,

I rise today to formally advise this Honourable House and the broader public that our own Minister of Finance the Hon. Marco Archer has been named Finance Minister of the Year, Caribbean 2016 by the news organization Global Markets. I wish to congratulate him and to recognise this accomplishment and to have it recorded in the Hansards of this Honourable House.

It is worth noting Madam Speaker that Global Markets is an international news organization that covers the work of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Bank. In so doing it also monitors and reports on the work of central banks and the financial performance of governments regionally and around the world.

I mention this Madam Speaker so that the country will appreciate that this recognition of Minister Archer as Caribbean Finance Minister of the year for 2016 is a significant event. It is significant for him, his family, and indeed for this Government and everyone in these Cayman Islands. Besides unashamed pride, the significance of this was noted by Global Markets when announcing the award.

Madam Speaker, if I may, I would like to read in part for posterity a portion of an article from Global Capital:

"When Marco Archer became finance minister in mid-2013 he had three years to comply with the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, which included meeting targets for cash reserves, net debt and debt service.

"The progress Cayman has made under Archer meant it easily complied by the deadline of June 30 this year. As a result, the Islands were granted so-called budgetary freedom, meaning they no longer have to send the budget to the United Kingdom for approval."

The article went on to note that:

"RBC's Caribbean economist, Marla Dukharan, says this achievement makes Archer the most impressive finance minister in the Caribbean. The cash reserve ratio is well above the 90-day coverage target, the Islands are heading toward zero borrowing, and growth has increased from 2 per cent to 2.4 per cent at the start of this year while expenditure and debt are down. It is a particularly significant achievement in the Caribbean."

You see Madam Speaker, the work done over these past three plus years by the Minister for Finance and his fellow Ministers and Councilors, to return confidence in Cayman, restore government finances, grow the economy, reduce taxes, and to focus on education and employment has borne fruit.

Because of the efforts of every member of this Government the country is today much better off financially, economically, and yes socially than we were three years ago.

Not everything is perfect Madam Speaker, for there is more to be done, but we are much better off.

This was well summed up by the Honourable Minister for Finance when he said to Global Capital that, and I quote - "There is a tremendous amount of national pride tied up in being able to manage our financial affairs effectively".

He added that "We understood that the best way to reduce debt was to grow the economy… taxing your way out of debt is not necessarily the best option; rather with economic growth comes increased revenues and an ability to pay down debt".

Madam Speaker with this award to the Minister for Finance, this Government, and the country, now has had two Ministers of Government who have been recognised regionally for remarkable success.

You may recall that the Deputy Premier, and Minister for Tourism, was named Caribbean Tourism Minister of the year for 2015 by the Caribbean Journal. At the time the Caribbean Journal noted the importance of the Deputy Premier's sound management and genuine concern for the visitor experience, coupled with his stewarding of strong tourism arrival numbers and launching of needed infrastructure initiatives such as the redevelopment of the country's airports and cruise and seaport. Tourism is a hugely important part of our economy and under the leadership of the Deputy Premier we have seen record growth in tourist arrivals.

And of course while these two ministers have been singled out for their achievements, they would be the first to recognise that they could not achieve what they have done without the support of and the work done by their colleagues on this side.

So Madam Speaker, I want to note that if we had not approached this term with a solid plan of restoring not only the country's dignity and finances, but also restoring business confidence and growing the economy, we would not be in the enviable position we are today: balancing a budget with no new borrowing, creating surpluses, helping to create jobs for our people and working hand in hand with the public sector to create meaningful legislation and cutting the cost of living for all by reducing taxes.

So in closing, kudos to Minister Archer and his team in the Ministry of Finance for their hard work and dedication. This award is well deserved and I know that I speak for all of his colleagues when I say that we are each very proud of Minister Archer - AKA the Financial Sherriff. And as Premier I am proud of each member of the Government. I am proud of the progress we have made over this term as we have advanced the recovery of Cayman and can now look forward to the promise of the future. So Congratulations again Minister Archer. I sincerely appreciate your contribution, foresight, dedication and hard work.

For further information contact: Bina Mani




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