We’re all just visitors

During my last visit, I over heard a disturbing conversation.

‘They are ruining our beloved islands! All these people from other lands coming here wanting to stay, saying they want to be like us and earn a living here but they are just using up our resources, diluting or removing our customs and all the things we hold dear.’

Yes the other voice said, ‘Thank goodness their stay is limited to a number of years.’

The first responded ‘That is true but they are just replaced with others just like them who keep the cycle going, our paradise is starting to resemble the land from which they came from and not our own…It’s getting very difficult to find others like us…everywhere you go the transplants are there! Nothing looks or feels the same anymore; it’s very disheartening. I wish I could go back to a time when this was a simpler place and we were the majority, not a minority.’

At this point I turned to speak my mind on the topic at hand to find no one was anywhere to be seen!

The beach was empty except for myself and two turtles side by side labouring their way back to the surf.

As little as 15 years ago I can remember visiting the paradise of Grand Cayman, not just a beautiful island that seemed to be proud and respectful of what God has graced them with, but a fantastic immersion in a land and culture different from the hustle, bustle and greed of the states.

When I visit now I feel like I am not entering a country but a corporation that is bent on gaining the most revenue from all its resources with out respecting them: its most beautiful landscape square footage now covered in resorts that are an imitation of what people want to make you think is this island’s lifestyle and charm, as well as a company that employs people from all over the world who are treated like disposable goods.

A ‘Perform your duties, spend your money, then get out of here’ mentality is prevalent.

I hate to say it but, the raping of the country and culture is self-induced.

Pride has been replaced with greed and arrogance of trying to be the stomping grounds fit only for the rich and famous. Don’t let stamping my passport at the airport be like entering at the front gate of Disney World soon to be complete with its own ‘Discovery Cove type lagoon’ where you can swim with the dolphins but not see any in their natural habitat!!

Thank goodness there is still Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which posses the culture and way of life, a one-ness with the land and sea, that Grand Cayman itself has diluted! Please don’t repeat your sins there.

Caymanians, ex-pats and those of us who can only dream about the opportunity to not just assimilate into the Caymanian life style and culture but embrace it: Remember those beloved islands do not belong to any of us, we are all visitors.

They must be respected and enjoyed by all with the least impact on the processes and culture that have made them the paradise they are.

Maybe employment should be granted to only residents of the islands, and residency should not be dependent on birth place, personal wealth or affiliation with an employer but by dependant on the spirit and commitment to preserve the culture, lifestyle, and the environment and grow the prosperity of the islands and the people through respecting it and sharing it with others with out destroying what makes it so desirable; a commitment that I fear the country is trading, exploiting itself, for the sake

Take only what you need from her and give back 10-fold in return through preservation and nurturing and it will take care of you while ensuring its wonders will be available for future generations to experience and prosper from as well.

Jim Mihalica – Seminole, Florida, USA

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