Entitlement culture criticised

The sense of entitlement that some Caymanians hold has come under fire from one of the country’s young leaders.

‘Many of us find it easier to blame someone else for our shortcomings and do not take full responsibility for our success,’ said Admiral Administration Managing Director Canover Watson.

He was speaking at the second annual gala dinner hosted by the Cayman Islands Society for Professional Accountants celebrating graduates of the University College of the Cayman Islands and the International College of the Cayman Islands who had obtained certification as accountants.

In his speech, Mr. Watson said it made him angry to hear comments that Caymanians had a sense of entitlement and were not willing to work hard, ‘not because of what is said, but because often it is true.’

Referring to the effects globalisation has on international competition, he stated that it is no longer enough to strive to be the best in Cayman. Given that many jobs, such as those in fund administration, could be done anywhere in the world, it would come down to the question of where the best talent could be found.

‘You are working now on a global stage and you have to work as hard as the guy in India,’ he said.

The former recipient of the Young Caymanian Leadership Award encouraged the graduates to believe that they can be the best at what they do on an international level.

‘You must take the responsibility for your own success,’ he said.

‘See what the world has to offer. Expose yourself to different perspectives.’

He advised that simple everyday life choices make the difference for success.

Governor Stuart Jack, who attended the event together with his wife, echoed Mr. Watson’s criticism of an ‘entitlement culture’ in his blog, saying that it was ‘an excellent and forthright speech.’

The governor conceded that if ‘a Caymanian and a foreigner compete for a job and both are equally good, preference should go to the Caymanian’.

‘But here as in most of the rest of the world people have to earn their job and earn their promotion, not expect it by right.

‘That is particularly important in a service-based economy like the Cayman Islands where success depends on having the best people,’ he said.

‘I am sure most employees and even more so employers understand that. But not it seems all.’

Mr. Watson’s speech stood in contrast to the opening remarks made by the Minister for Education and Labour Rolston Anglin, who announced a new initiative between the government and CISPA, which has the objective of easing the transition for Caymanian degree holders into professional careers.

Mr. Anglin said he wanted accounting firms to take an active interest in future graduates. This would also help those firms to plan for the future.

In his introduction, CISPA President Frazer Lindsay cited Mr. Anglin, who is a certified public accountant, as an example that an accounting qualification can lead to a career in many fields. Mr Lindsay highlighted the importance of CISPA’s ties with institutions for tertiary education in Cayman as well as the new initiative with the government.

Mr. Anglin confirmed that he owed a lot of gratitude to the accountancy profession, saying that it was the ‘greatest profession’, which prepared graduates well for the challenges of their professional lives.

He also emphasised the importance of mentoring and encouraged the graduates to ask in order to benefit from the knowledge of their colleagues.