Ironwood commits to hiring locals


As published by the Cayman Compass

An artist's rendering of the planned Ironwood town center

The developers behind the planned Ironwood golf resort have committed to a target of hiring a workforce of mostly Caymanian employees as part of a duty concessions agreement with government.

The developer, which is still in the planning stages of the resort, has agreed to hire at least 60 percent Caymanians both during construction and operation of the $365 million facility, according to Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts.

The commitment also extends to labor on the 10-mile extension of the East-West Arterial Highway, if government and the developer can agree on a partnership deal over the road construction.

Ironwood announced last week that it was forging ahead with plans for the resort, which they say will include a town center, beach club and Arnold Palmer designed golf course. The announcement comes despite the inability of government and the developer to come to an agreement over the road at this stage.

The agreement signed Thursday involves a package of tax concessions worth around $22 million.

If Ironwood and government can agree on terms for a funding model for the road and get approval from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office within the next 12 months, those concessions will go into a ring-fenced fund to help pay for the highway extension. If not, they come back to Ironwood in the form of a tax rebate.

Mr. Tibbetts said Ironwood had committed to a goal of hiring at least 60 percent locals as part of the agreement.

“I don’t think for a moment that we will have any difficulty because, in all of our discussions, we have continually gotten the commitment of utilizing Caymanian labor wherever possible. But you formalize it to make sure that they don’t wake up one morning and forget,” he said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin said the Ironwood project and the Beach Bay hotel in Bodden Town would create new job opportunities.

“In keeping with this government’s firm commitment to the creation of employment opportunities for Caymanians, the agreement requires Ironwood, its contractors and sub-contractors to work with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre and the National Workforce Development Agency, and to endeavor to meet certain substantial hiring targets of Caymanians that we set in Cabinet,” he added.

“Ironwood will also be required to provide regular reports on its recruitment of Caymanians during the course of the development. In short, this government sees this deal as a win-win for the country and the people of these islands.”