I am a Caymanian!
Although I do not look like one and sometimes don’t talk like one, I am a Caymanian!
I was born here to Caymanian parents.
I went to Caymanian schools.
I spent my childhood waiting for the next mango season to start.
I served my country in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
I was here when Ivan hit the island. We rescued people from their houses during the middle of a hurricane.
I finally left my home to experience the world.
I joined the US Army and got married.
I still hold my Caymanian heritage and upbringing close to my heart.
Currently, I am back home to see family, friends and show my foreign spouse where I am from.
To my dismay, in the two years I have been gone; this island has lost many things; self respect, I think, is one of them.
I took my wife to see the Turtle Farm and learn a little about MY culture.
I was told by the lady working the desk that it is US$60 per person to enter and have the Turtle Farm experience.
I asked the lady what the local rate was.
She asked, ‘Do you live here?’ I replied, ‘I am a Caymanian. I am back home visiting my family.’
The lady then informed me I was no longer a Caymanian and not entitled to a local discount because I do not live here anymore.
You can imagine the outrage that had just been laid across my being.
I told her I would be happy to show her my Caymanian passport. She replied with, ‘I am sorry that does not make you a Caymanian anymore’. ‘Its 60 dollars for the wet experience and 50 for the dry’ she said.
Out of total disgust I replied with, ‘I am sorry, I am not going to spend US$120 to show my wife something I should be entitled to. I don’t mind paying a fee, or making a donation. But, that is absurd.’
I left embarrassed, insulted and disgusted.
Embarrassed, that that encounter will be how my wife gauges her opinion of the islands and my people.
Insulted, that I was told by a lady at the Turtle Farm admission desk that I was not a Caymanian.
And I am disgusted, that instead of being informative and pleasurable to someone keen to learn and experience my country sold out to make a quick buck.
I say again, ‘I AM A CAYMANIAN’.
I hope that this letter touches someone so something about this way our island has become, will be dealt with.
Christopher Rice – Bodden Town