Don’t shoot the messenger

I would like to respond to Mr. T. Hopwood’s letter of Nov. 25 complaining about Canadians complaining (or moaning as he put it). What provoked his comments was a heartfelt letter from Ms. Leger, a visitor, giving her observations of the island home of her daughter.

The gist of this letter amounted to comments about feeling unappreciated and unwelcome here. This is a reality shared by many people on this island and I appreciate the fact that it was brought out into the open.

I understand that Mr. Hopwood, being from the U.K., would prefer that people take the ‘stiff upper lip’ approach to dealing with issues and finishes his letter by saying that ‘as long as Caymanians are being berated for being this, that or the other by fellow Caymanians or expats, do we really expect to see any improvements?’

My question to him is: if you never acknowledge there is a problem how can you expect a solution?

People from many countries helped to build the success of this nation. They also helped to rebuild it after the destruction left by Ivan. In spite of these facts you only have to read the letters to the editor or listen to talk radio shows to feel the resentment on this island towards expats.

I realize that these angry people do not represent all Caymanians but they are a noticeable and, I believe, a growing segment of this society.

I wonder why more citizens of a nation that proudly describes itself as Christian will not practice the values taught in Church on Sundays during the rest of the week. What happened to kindness towards strangers, tolerance and love thy neighbour? Are we not all brothers and sisters, regardless of where we were born?

There is however a powerful motivator for changing attitudes besides religious values. One of the largest sectors of this economy is tourism. There is much discussion of the ‘tourism product’ and the need to double tourism.

I must point out that the tourism product is not the same as the clothing or furniture product. It is based on human relations and experiences. If foreigners do not feel welcome here and are only seen as a source of income then tourism and the economy will both dwindle.

If this country is going to have a healthy and successful future then perhaps it is time to discuss problematic issues instead of berating the people who point them out.

Name withheld by request