Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush outlined plans to see the Cayman Islands through the current financial crisis and beyond on Tuesday night.
Mr. Bush said the Cayman Islands must ‘protect our way of life’, which is why his government has resisted UK suggestions of direct taxation. Instead, the government is suggesting a plan that it believes can solve Cayman’s challenges without having to resort to such drastic means.
Central to the plans are efforts to attract foreign investment and foreign workers into the Cayman Islands. Mr. Bush said that protectionism will only stifle the economy and he called on Caymanians to be more accepting of non-Caymanians.
He said Cayman needed to go back to the non-divisive, harmonious environment that existed for decades as the nation became one of the most successful economic models in the world.
Given the high level of tension between Caymanians and expatriates these days – just read the various on-line forum postings and the email sent out by the Caymanians for Caymanians group – it was a courageous message delivered by Mr. Bush.
There is no disputing that the Cayman Islands cannot be successful unless Caymanians are able – and enabled – to share in the country’s economic success. In addition, because this is their only home, Caymanians can contribute certain aspects to the society that no one else can.
By the same token, there is no disputing that expatriate workers – from the labourers to the professionals – are also vital to the success of the Cayman Islands.
There are many who have already written off the Cayman Islands. The easiest way for those prophecies to come true is for the delicate threads of Cayman’s society to be torn apart by hatred of ‘the other’.
If Cayman is to survive the current challenges and rise to prosperity again, it will be through the collaborative and harmonious co-existence of Caymanians and expatriates, just as Mr. Bush said.