A decade of news

 It’s hard to imagine that such a small place as the Cayman Islands could produce so much news in a ten-year period that the country’s first referendum and a new constitution wouldn’t even qualify as one of the top ten stories of the decade.  But that’s exactly how we see things.
   The decade of the 2000s represented a remarkable time for the Cayman Islands, some of it good and some of it not so good.
   Inside this issue of the Observer on Sunday, we have identified stories we feel represented the top 10 of the decade because of the lasting impacts they have had on people.  But we are quite aware that people could argue that other stories deserve to have been ranked higher.
   The 9/11 terrorism attacks didn’t make our list, even though the ramifications of that day were felt in the financial and tourism industries and by every person who has travelled by air since then.
   It was a decade in which Cayman faced anthrax scares, meat bans due to mad cow disease, and a variety of health scares from SARS, bird flu and H1N1 or swine flu. But none of those stories made our list either.
   Another story that could have made the top 10 was the rising cost of living here. A quick comparison of grocery store prices in the supermarket advertisements in 2000 compared to now will show just how much almost everything has gone up in price.
   The 2000s were also a decade when Cayman diversified even more when it comes to its population.  With businesses facing difficulties in recruiting labour from traditional places, employers looked at more than 100 different countries in the world to recruit.
   Another story that didn’t make the top 10 was the joyous Quincentennial Celebrations in 2003, which marked 500 years since Cayman’s discovery by Christopher Columbus.  
   Sadly, Cayman lost a number of its key nation builders during the decade through the deaths of such people as Sir Vassel Johnson, Warren Conolly, Thomas Jefferson, Dennis Foster, Craddock Ebanks, Jay Bodden, David Foster, Clarence Flowers Sr., Harry McCoy, Guy Banks, Joyce Hylton, Norberg Thompson, Bill Walker and others.
   The day before the decade ended, a smoking ban went into effect for all enclosed public places, something that will likely affect many lives – in the 2010s and beyond.
   For good or bad, the 2000s were anything but quiet on the news front and with the Freedom of Information Law coming into effect during the decade, the future promises to be just as newsworthy.