Joining the Cayman team were Orrett Connor, host of Radio Cayman’s For the Record talk show, and Inspector Andre Tahal of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, who travelled to Monaco at their own expense to participate in the 87-mile charity ride from St. Tropez in France to Monaco.
The course, which winds through towns and mountains, took some seven hours to complete. Contending with narrow winding roads, traffic and pedestrians and not knowing the route made the trek challenging. It was made even more difficult by weather conditions, with temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 23 mile-an-hour winds. The Premier was happy to have fellow Caymanian cyclists with him for mutual support and camaraderie over the course of the ride. The Cayman Islands was ably represented in the charity ride with all four successfully completing the course.
In addition to the four Caymanians, more than 100 riders participated, including several professional bicyclists, former athletes and business people; most of whom participate every year.
Prince Albert of Monaco invited the Premier to participate in the event when they met last year. The Prince, unfortunately, was unable to ride as he recently underwent surgery. The Prince did, however, attend the finish at Monaco’s Hercules, where all the riders arrived. The Cayman delegation completed the challenging ride in good form. This was the first time that a team from the Caribbean participated in the charity ride
At the finish, Prince Albert and Premier McLaughlin had a moment for a chat where the Prince was introduced to the Cayman delegation. Later that evening at the awards reception the organisers, as well as the Prince, acknowledged the participation by the Premier and the Caymanian team. The highlight of the evening for the Cayman delegation was when Orrett Connor was awarded the ‘silver pedal’ for being the oldest cyclist to enter and finish the course.
Premier McLaughlin noted that the ride was difficult but rewarding. Not only did a cycling platform allow for building new relationships with high net worth individuals and business people across a diverse range of backgrounds in a key market segment for the Cayman Islands; it also gave both him and Chief Officer Bush an opportunity to firm up relationships with individuals they met last year – Prince Albert amongst them.
On Monday night the Premier and the Cayman delegation were joined by Mr. Joel Walton, CEO of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI) to host a reception for yacht managers and yacht designers.
MACI operates one of the best regulated shipping registries in the world, accounting for about 50 per cent of the super yacht registration market, which are yachts of 30m (90 ft.) and larger. Within the ultra-large segment of the super yacht industry, which are yachts with a length of 80m (262 ft.) and larger, the Cayman Islands has over 80 per cent of the market share; making Cayman, by far, the dominating flag state.
“Whilst the Cayman Islands is a dominant player in this market segment there are many competitors looking for every opportunity to take our place,” said the Premier, who is Minister responsible for International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs. “In a market where relationships are key, it is important to not only show a presence but to do so consistently and whenever possible at the highest levels of Government. The new Ministry intends to not only strengthen our relationships and market share in this competitive market but to increase it.”
Eric Bush, Chief Officer of the MITIAMA said of the organisation of the event “This symbolises a partnership between the Cayman Islands Government and Monaco as world leaders in the financial services industry, and provides an opportunity for us not only to engage with with key stakeholders, but also to support causes with a synergy to the Cayman Islands and also enables us to learn from each other and explore best practices and enhancements for the Cayman Islands on the world stage.”