Growing crime in Cayman heartbreaking

I was reading the Caymanian Compass just now, having just felt a bit of homesickness for a place that I lived in for almost six years, and am so shocked to read about the crimes taking place there.

It’s almost unbelievable to be honest. I can’t recognise the innocent and peaceful Cayman that took me in back in 1995 and gave me warmth and friendship and a sense of safety back then.

I just spent the better part of an hour reading through the archives and can’t believe what’s been happening there. AK-47s and M-16s in Cayman, and people getting shot while at the hospital? Unbelievable. It’s like a gangland situation down there, where people are warring over drug turfs.

I read on with a sense of despair as I realised the numerous Jamaican connections re-occurring throughout the reports.

Everyone knows the inevitable equation – poverty will usually result in crime. I left home at 20 with the realisation that unless politics back in Jamaica would change and allow for more equitable distributions of opportunities then things would only get worse. Ten years later, I’m more right than I was then as a naive 20-year-old. What’s heartbreaking though is to think that my peaceful little Cayman would get dragged into the mire associated with a drug based (influenced) economy.

The main challenges now for the Cayman authorities I believe must be to ensure that development is aggressively pursued. They must do all to ensure that more Caymanians are given the opportunities to higher education and training, and that Caymanians must feel that they too can share in the spoils of wealth, not just reserved to overpaid expatriates not willing to integrate into Caymanian society.

A strong local pool of talented and highly trained/qualified people will leave no room for drug dealers looking for a good market to peddle ganja or cocaine.

I am proud of my Jamaican culture and the resourcefulness and brilliance of Jamaican – you can see them doing well in the highest professions everywhere in the world (I’ve even found some here in Shanghai). But I’m deeply embarrassed to know that the other side of that deep and profound Jamaican strength can be found a capacity in some people to do unconscionable acts which bring shame on all Jamaicans.

My island paradise that I dream to return to may not even exist anymore in these four years since I’ve been gone. I hope and pray that Cayman has the strength of character as a community to fight the perpetrators and stand up to all elements of criminality regardless of nationality.

I can only apologise and empathise because my heart is breaking over here.

Ian Hemming

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