Independence for a reason

I called one of our radio talk
shows just minutes before the earthquake on Tuesday the 15th of January to give
may views on the topic being discussed; namely the independence of the Cayman
Islands from the United Kingdom. 

The air waves had been buzzing with
pro-Independence callers and emails and I began by stating that although I had
always been perceived as a radical, I had never privately nor publicly advocated
independence from the United Kingdom. One caller who spoke after me remarked
that if something was not found in a book some people would never believe it. I
guess he was referring to me in particular and since he is an aspiring
political leader in these Islands I would like by way of this newspaper, to
give some of my views on the question of independence.

 Firstly, I am not saying that
their so called common sense is not important but well researched books are
also. Personal experiences are not always conclusive because our experiences
are subjective; therefore to govern our country our leaders will need education
and professional experiences that will provide them with as much objectivity as
possible. The objective reality of today’s Cayman is not that the poorer
classes of people are crying to be independent from the United Kingdom; nor was
it the working and poorer classes of citizens in other Caribbean countries that
demanded independence from Britain in the 1950s and 60s. Independence for these
countries was more a consequence of socio-economic and political competition
and conflict between the economic and socio-political elites of those societies
and their rulers. Politicians had to manipulate the grievances of the working
class and the poor members of their society (that are always the majority) to
obtain their desire of total political control of at least the political machinery
of their individual countries.  

Admittedly, the economic and
political consequences of independence do not have to be disastrous but if the
only reason for independence is the native political elite’s yarning to replace
their foreign counterparts, then the consequences never benefit the poor and
working classes. I could only support independence in any country if social
progress and human freedoms were being subverted by the colonizers and it could
be demonstrated that the leaders seeking independence were armed with an
ideology and political programme that would benefit all classes of citizens and
not just the already privileged. 

It appears that independence from
the United Kingdom is now being considered by many Caymanians as necessary or
inevitable; partly because Cayman is considered to be in economic competition
with the UK because of our Financial Services Industry’s interest and our
elites’ socio-political conflicts with expats and UK representatives. Of course
there is an essential role that religion or Christianity plays or will play in
this equation in that it is being used to highlight the moral or ideological
incompatibility and eventual conflict with the UK.

The socio-political, economic and
ideological conditions for a desire to become independent from the United
Kingdom are already present; one reason so many professional people are now
willing to speak openly about independence for the Cayman Islands. The question
of Human Rights (gay rights  and criminal rights) have resulted in
Caymanian churches taking the high moral ground setting the stage for
ideological differences, which can be fuelled to motivate the working and the
poor classes to support the political ambitions of cooperate Cayman and power
hungry politicians dying to use politics to join the economic elite.

The rhetoric of creating
socio-economic mobility and power for Caymanians is only part of the farce
being staged.

Self determination does not have to
mean political independence and should not, especially in today’s world where
interdependence is our reality. There are very few policies that are meaningful
for the improvement of the Caymanian people that our political government has
been prevented from implementing by the United Kingdom. I spent four years in
Cabinet working along with governors from the United Kingdom and I can
truthfully say that they were respectful and altruistic in every way.

Why then are our
minds focused like children on what we didn’t get, and not on what we have
achieved until this very moment. I am one Caymanian that believes he is British
because he is Caymanian just like someone from London is British because he
comes from London. Let our quest be for human and social justice, which will
only be obtained by empowering the poor and the working classes, not political independence
to shelter the greed of the super wealthy.