Twenty-two thousand expatriate workers from 112 different countries! Wow! That surely must be more than half the ordinarily resident population-enough to make one pause and say, ‘Hmmm.’
Now, after you pause and say, ‘Hmmm,’ may I suggest that we Caymanians put a positive spin on this; consider we’re just returning favours. Thank God that there were countries that welcomed our parents and grands- and great-grands for as far back as our forebears needed to provide for their families more than these three rocks could offer. Thank God for Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Trinidad, Aruba, America and Cuba, and, to a lesser extent ‘mother England’ (which was after all, a long way off), and wherever else they were made welcome.
Come to think of it, made welcome or not, our fathers set foot on just about every place a man would wish to set foot (and a few places where one wouldn’t as well).
So, now we get to return the favour. Families back home in Jamaica, Canada, America, UK, Philippines and the other 107 countries are being blessed because these little insignificant dots in the Caribbean just happen to be so blessed by God as to offer employment to the whole world. I think that is just fantastic. And we can do it without subjecting these good folk to the kind of indignities that our fathers experienced; know what I mean? Like the segregated ferries, busses, bars, toilets etc. they experienced from a certain northern neighbour. Like the various derogatory names they were called in certain other countries, (some old seamen remember). But that was then; this is now. Welcome world. You gave us a break. Today we return the favour!
Oh, one more thing, may I invite our guests from 112 countries to get acquainted with things Caymanian while you are here. Taste some real Caymanian cooking. Any number of us would be glad to let you sample some real run down or turtle stew with a piece of cassava cake thrown in for good measure. And you won’t really find that cuisine in your favourite fancy restaurant. Please, don’t just hang with your own; get to know some native Caymanians as well. Visit a few churches besides those where everyone looks and talks like you. Sample a little of what it means to be truly Caymanian by mixing with us. Again, welcome world, make yourself at home.
Alson Ebanks, pastor