Open your heart to all

Although much as we’d like to, none of us can turn back the hands of time.

I am referring to the ongoing controversy of the rollover policy. I understand completely the concerns many people have expressed to preserve local culture, but I’m not so sure if it can be done with legislation.

Where I come from, in British Columbia, a few years back native-born Canadians became a minority in Vancouver.

In numbers they had been surpassed by people who had emigrated from South-East Asia. Many were afraid that the culture, which had accompanied the influx would take over.

Admittedly, Canada is made up of a wide variety of cultures, but in this instance a relatively small area suddenly found itself overwhelmed with people who had moved there from a different part of the world.

But the fears were unfounded.

The only real evidence I perceived were more stores catering to people from China and Japan. And better restaurants! Other than that I noticed no other difference.

Unfortunately for some, Vancouver was not the Vancouver of the early 1900s. Or even the 1980s. Nor will it ever be again.

Here on Cayman may be a slightly different situation and I will try to stay aware of that. But the fact is, it’s very hard to come here and not fall in love with this island.

As many people find out, both tourists and people on work permits. There are many reasons for this but in my experience it overwhelmingly has to do with the most marvelous mixture of people I have ever encountered. I like going to the store and hearing people speaking in Spanish or hearing fellow co-workers argue religion in Patois. Or listening to a lovely South American girl speak English with a Brazilian accent. And learning what life is like in Peru or Pakistan from someone I give a lift to.

While I’ve been here I’ve met people from Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, France, and Italy. And I’m still trying to figure out how to tell someone with an Australian accent apart from someone who’s from England or New Zealand! Take a look around you. Why are all these people here? Why not some other place? It isn’t just because of the lack of taxation because that’s too simplistic a view; although unfortunately it seems to be a common one.

Many are here for the same reason I am. They simply fell in love with the place and wanted to call it home. Where else can you go and find so many people from so many different cultures living in relative harmony? There is tolerance in Cayman and when you’ve experienced other cultures, you know that is a precious gift.

Aside from that not a day goes by when I don’t see some article in the paper of a financial or business organization donating money and energy to a Girl’s Football League or a child needing special care or a young person wanting to go to college.

Beach clean-ups become parties, and a way for people to meet. There is a spirit here, which I think we can all feel. I visited another Caribbean country last fall and although it was a lovely place to visit I didn’t feel welcome. And I was very glad to step off the plane when I returned. It’s a feeling that can’t be described when you’re home again.

More and more often here I see beautiful young children walking with parents from different cultures. One may be Caymanian, one may be from England, or Jamaica, or Canada, or Japan. These are truly wonderful things and we shouldn’t take them for granted. My friends, it can’t be stopped. Love knows no borders. And it’s color-blind.

To allow someone to arrive here in order to work, and sometimes invite them, and then when they have made friends, perhaps fallen in love, and made this their home, to tell them that they have to leave doesn’t seem like a very good solution.

I don’t know what the solution is. But for the life of me I don’t know what the problem is either.

If you open your heart you’ll see that each person you meet and each person who comes into your life has something to offer and enriches it. You will never find a better place to do it than Cayman.

A. Creasey