Segregation alive in Cayman

I would like to thank you for allowing me space in your newspaper to express my feelings.

I have never written a letter to the editor before but as a true patriot of my country, I feel that it’s time for me to speak up and stop letting things slip by or just keep looking the other way.

One of the characteristics of this Island that made it so attractive to foreigners is the fact that we accept anyone with open arms and all races are treated equally no matter the colour or creed.

How many places in this world can you see interracial marriages and events where there are all classes and races without any major problems?

Even the great America, land of milk and honey, has its share of segregation to this day.

I will never forget going to Miami where I stayed with an African America friend and told them that I was going to a Bryan Adams concert the next day.

They were appalled that I was going to such a concert, because their people just didn’t support white American music, but we all know Bryan Adams is Canadian, therefore we see the problem there is colour, not character. Those are issues we seldom see here on our paradise Island, but more and more it’s raising its ugly head and a lot of the problems arising come from the people we have welcomed with open arms and not the indigenous Caymanian.

I could speak at lengths about the things that get under my skin, but today I look at one particular group of people that now make up a large part of our community, and no it’s not the Jamaican, but rather the Filipino community.

I have been watching with great interest over the past year or so, and realize that they have their own society within our society, which is the very thing that Cayman is so not about. Cayman has always been about everyone getting along, and blending, in fact a nice little melting pot. Now we have the Filipinos with their don’t-mix mentality.

For example in December the Filipinos held a song competition, and everyone knows I love song competitions, but when I made the call to enter the competition, I was told by the Filipino organizer, that the competition was open only to Filipinos.

Isn’t it segregation to ban a Caymanian from participating in a function taking place in Cayman?

So today, my Caymanian people let me say that the same things that so many people are running away from in their own country and coming to ours are the same things we see surfacing now. Have you all noticed too that there’s also an all Filipino basketball league that only Filipinos can enter?

Therefore if I want to take my son over to one of the basketball courts that were provided by the government of these islands, and it’s around the time of one of their basketball games I would not be allowed on the court. That is segregation, blatant unadulterated segregation.

I would like to ask the powers that allow them to have control of the basketball courts, how can you allow them to use the courts, but no one is allowed to enter their competition? Come on we need to think the process through, and not take on every salesman’s pitch because it’s non Caymanian.

If it appears like I am angry in this letter, yes I am angry, very angry.

Please don’t feel that I am against having other cultures here on the island, I am not, but we have lived in harmony for such a long time and what we are seeing here is just the start of the fragmentation of our harmonious culture.

To make matters worse these same people who are living in their close-knit society, feel obligated to be included in things Caymanian yet not allow Caymanians to take part in theirs.

Look we just had a group of Filipinos in our Batabano parade, and we have a Filipino rock band called Aysha.

I wonder if these guys even have a work permit to play and make money here doing music.

However, that’s not the issue here now.

I have a question to the Filipino community; would it be OK if we put on the application form to the Pirates Week song competition “No Filipinos Allowed” or would you feel you’re being pushed into a corner? Would that then be segregation? Should we tell you that you cannot enter the Batabano competition would you feel that you are being pushed aside like the American Indians?

These days, most of the time I feel like a Native American Indian myself. As many Jamaicans as we have on this Islands, I have never heard of a competition or a function that only Jamaicans are allowed.

Cayman hosts every International Independence Day from Jamaica to Ireland, but I have never seen one person say that only that nation is allowed.

I know many of you reading this may be saying, what is his problem, boy go write some songs and be quiet, but am asking you all to look at the bigger picture, and remember we lived through the times when the country had nothing no electricity and running water.

Times were hard but we have made it a wonderful place for our children to grow up and if we continue to allow people to come from outside and dictate to us, and segregate us in our own home land, then pretty soon we will have nothing proud to leave behind for our future generations.

Brent Mclean

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