At the Helm of Cayman's New Global Powerhouse The Cayman Islands Journal caught up with Joel Walton, the Chief Executive Officer (Designate) of the new Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands for an up close and personal interview of the man behind the activities.
How does it feel to be designated to head up the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands?
It's really a goal achieved, to be part of an organisation that combines key elements I find professionally seductive, that is progressive thinking and tradition wrapped up in one global package.
In my role as Deputy Financial Secretary which I undertook for over 11 years, shipping was one area of my responsibility. I developed a passion for it fuelled by my family's history of seafaring, all of whom have now retired and are living back on Cayman Brac. Shipping is a bright new spot in our economy that links our past, present and future. I am excited to help further it.
What is that excitement like?
It is a welcomed change, to have the support of both local and international bodies to continue the growth of the MACI and at the same time create a truly global organisation for the Cayman Islands. It is exciting to be constantly balancing local and global challenges in public sector and commercial environments simultaneously.
How does the MACI have a global scope?
We now have representation in Cayman, United Kingdom, Greece, Japan and Holland. Our services are all global as we have at anytime of the week members of our staff in world ports offering services to a wide range of vessels who are proud to fly the Cayman flag. It's always a thrill to see the words "George Town" on the stern of a large commercial vessel or one of the world's mega yachts. And unlike many offices, ships tend to be open for business around the clock. In addition, shipping was probably the world's first global industry and as such it is governed by a myriad of international conventions to which these islands are signatories via the United Kingdom and also by regional agreements and national legislation which creates a very dynamic environment filled with many challenges and thus many opportunities.
Is there a connection between your career and your personal dreams?
Always, it is the integration of those two that creates the motivation to achieve and do your job above expectation. It can also help you create the right type of culture within your organisation which in this new job has been a personal challenge as our staff of just over 40 includes over 15 nationalities and 7 different first languages.
Describe the MACI culture.
A "can do" attitude, let's get on with it. This is a true connection to the Caymanian seafarers of yesterday. They went into unknown territory and became the best at any task they took on. Some will tell me that I tend to romanticise about our seafaring past a bit too much but it is often through our past that we develop a fresh vision for the future. MACI is all about attracting your best talents from the international job market, giving them the resources and letting them get on with it. Strength through diversity is probably a quick way to sum that culture up. Not only are we building a team, we also like working with each other and it shows in everything we do. I like working here as much as anyone else.
How well does Cayman and global business fit together?
Very well, we have a great infrastructure to develop any area of commercial activity we want. We have the skills, legislative and socio-economic frameworks geared to creating the best integration of global product offerings. I test this everyday at the Registry; a day can start in Grand Cayman putting the finishing touches on a proposal and end with a presentation of that proposal at the office in Greece the next day.
When not at the helm, how do you keep smiling?
I am a father of 5, whose ages range from 5 months to 17 years so there is always something ongoing. I am a musician at heart so quite often I can be found with music in one form or the other, sometimes performing with our group After Dark. Not to mention my love for football and cricket but with football now I tend to watch my kids play and talk about the game rather than try to play, although I do keep a link to the game through the George Town Sports Club. The closest I get to cricket is watching the West Indies on TV. I also love the challenge of rose gardening and do collect exotic fruit, spices and nut trees.
What is your philosophy for life?
Treat others in the way that you would like to be treated, but don't feel entitled to be, and always stay focused on the human side of this life.
For further information contact: Corporate Communications