Caymanians are not aloof

I have submitted the letter below to the Net News and would be grateful if you would also publish it in your newspaper.

To the Net News editor:
Your editorial of 3 July has, in my view, much nonsense contained within. I will address a part.

When you state that: ‘Unfortunately, this tendency to remain aloof from the rest of the world has probably led to much of the polarisation that has grown up and continues to increase in Cayman society today’

I find myself wondering whether you and I live in the same Cayman Islands.

In the days before the world came to us, we built boats to travel to our neighbours. Caymanians went north to Cuba and the USA. We went west and south to Central and South America. And we went east to Jamaica and probably beyond. This does not sound like a tendency to remain aloof.

Our men sailed the world and become renowned as seamen – visiting every continent. Our forefathers welcomed tourists and financial business.

We put in place an environment to make it easy for foreign investors to do business. This does not sound like an aloof people.

Today Caymanians still travel to foreign lands – to Jamaica, to Trinidad, to Cuba, to North America, to Canada, to Europe, to Honduras and so on. This is not being aloof from the rest of the world.

We have welcomed some 100 nationalities here over the past several decades.

This is not aloofness.

But to suite your own agenda you decide to confuse immigration policy with aloofness – ignoring a hundred years of history of Caymanians seeking out the world and inviting the world to us.

Further, in your usual twist of the facts (a form of storytelling in which you have become quite good) you create your own reality.

Hence I also take issue when you say that: ‘Over the years, we think it is true to say that this country has been more than ready to take from the rest of the world, including badly needed bodies to service our various industries, but selfishly very reluctant to share.

Thus, foreigners are permitted to come and work for a limited time, but any attempt to allow them to share what we have by, for example, giving them security of tenure, is at most times vigorously resisted.’

The facts are, Mr Editor that countless numbers of Caymanians, including our seamen have worked in other countries and thus, using your logic, have certainly given to the rest of the world.

Some Caymanians were able to remain in foreign lands and many others were not. Many of the countries where Caymanians settled, including the USA, have in recent times tightened up their immigration policy.

In the Cayman Islands we have allowed many people to become Caymanian or obtain residency; but not everyone is able to remain. We are thus no different from other countries.

So Mr editor, your conclusions are wrong- and I believe that you know full well that you are wrong.

In my view it is you and the Net News that are regrettably fanning the flames of polarisation in these Islands.

The next time you feel a need to castigate Caymanians falsely, and in the process help create divisions in our society, I would ask that you heed your own advice, given in a 2001 editorial with regard to comments in your paper by Mr Barlow.

You said: ‘It is one thing to defend the right of free speech. However, it is clearly a different thing to use this right to stir up hate among the very people with whom you live and to use and abuse the warmth and care of your hosts, thereby robbing them of the traditions which encourage others to these shores in the first placeā€¦.

Perhaps what ought to be borne in mind by Mr. Barlow and other critics who believe that they have the right to besmirch and disrespect the people who made these island a safe, respected and economically sound place to live, is that no self-respecting person will continually accept such abuse.’

Good advice… now if you would only heed it yourself.
Roy Tatum

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