It was indeed surprising to read the comments attributed to Mr. Robert Hamaty, Honourary Jamaican Counsel, in response to the announcement in the 11 October Compass that visas will henceforth be required of Jamaicans entering the Cayman Islands.
Despite the plain and obvious fact that a number (although great minority) of Jamaican nationals are engaged in criminal activity in the Cayman Islands he has the intestinal fortitude to say ‘There is no evidence to support this. I do not think the increase in crime has anything to do with Jamaicans.’
That statement reads as a slap in the face.
Mr. Hamaty fled the rampant crime and corruption of his mother country to ultimately settle in these blessed and welcoming Islands.
He has become a Caymanian and a leading businessman. I understand entirely that given his honourary representation of the Jamaican community in Cayman, he must take pains to present ‘all matters Jamaican’ in the best light. I admire the fine work he has done in this regard. His recent statements, if correctly quoted, however do a disservice not only to himself and his fine record but to the wider Jamaican community.
He simply cannot mean what he says. If he does, is he prepared to also contend that numerous major criminal gangs in Cayman have taken to almost uniformly speaking heavy patois in the commission of armed robberies to throw off the authorities and that the boats arriving weekly on our under-patrolled shores loaded with ganja and weapons that go bang in the night with increasing frequency are originating, with their crews, from Barbados? Are we really taking him seriously? I suppose that the group of looters I ran into (and from) the evening after Ivan must have been Irish as demonstrated by their frequent pronouncements as to the ‘rahtid’ (henceforth assumed to be Gaelic exclamation) wet cardboard interfering with their ability to liberate Guiness by the case.
Mr. .Hamaty would perhaps be of better service to his constituents were he a little more straight-up with the fact that there is a very serious crime problem in Jamaican enclaves around the world, including in Cayman, and that a number of Jamaicans are active participants in that crime.
If he were he could lead and inspire the majority productive, industrious and law-abiding Jamaican community in Cayman to work together with Caymanians (who until recently have shared excellent relations with them), and weed out all the bad apples – be they Jamaican drug traffickers or Caymanian dealers. If so, both communities could continue to work together for the mutual benefit and relations could be restored to their former health.
I urge Mr. Hamaty and others in the community to be proactive in solving the problem, rather than denying that it exists. Mr. Hamaty could be encouraging the Jamaican community to contribute to the Rotary gun buy-back and support the DARE program. He could urge his constituents to report the drug users and peddlers to the Cayman authorities. He could lobby the Jamaican government to house Jamaican prisoners back home and help patrol the waters between our islands. He could even ask the relevant members of his constituency to respect Cayman’s laws, only work with a permit, and ride their bicycles on the left and with a light at night.
Only if Mr. Hamaty and other leading Jamaicans in this community truly take their heads out of the sand will there be some prospect for the next generation of Caymanians being raised with the help of Jamaicans. If not, part of my children’s inheritance will have to be spent on return tickets to the Philippines. That is sad, but the way it must be.
In case some Guiness-loving looter look me up, or my rum-cake supplies be jeopardized, I must remain,
Name withheld by request