I think our Chamber of Commerce has made a boo-boo.
In an effort to solve some of the many social problems our Islands are now facing they recommended, inter alia, the extension of visa requirements from countries considered high risk.
This is a recommendation that I support and no doubt our Government does as well, since it reported by the news media that it intends to extend this requirement to other countries, including Jamaica.
The Chamber then extends an invitation to the Jamaican Prime Minister to be a guest speaker at its 40th Anniversary dinner and he uses the forum to meddle in our internal affairs by subtly threatening reprisals by stating the ‘Jamaica reserves the right to effect such changes as are necessary to protect its borders and citizens affected by visa requirements elsewhere.’
He also raises the issue of discrimination against Jamaicans who have been granted legal entry into our islands.
I have enjoyed Jamaica’s hospitality having received most of my education in that country.
Many of my best and lifelong friends are Jamaican and I believe the same can be said of our Leader of Government Business.
However, I sincerely hope that Mr. Kurt Tibbetts and his Cabinet will not allow such threats from preventing them doing what is necessary to protect our borders and the way of life that Caymanians have been used to.
Jamaicans can hardly complain of discrimination in Cayman.
Many senior positions in Government have been and continue to be filled by Jamaicans and in the private sector there is an unending list of successful Jamaicans.
However, I do take a dim view of Jamaica’s prime minister trying to meddle in our affairs. We must do what is in the best interest of our citizens.
I believe the time is ripe for our Government to make strong representations to the US Government to establish a Consular Office in Cayman with authority to issue visas so that our citizens can obtain visas to that country locally rather than having to travel overseas to obtain them.
Mr. Patterson can then go ahead and impose any restrictions he may care to. Hopefully, the next time he comes here to meddle in our affairs he will need a visa to do so.
Arthur B. Hunter